styrofoam peanuts
Fri, 11 Feb 2005 10:09:00 PST
Hi Gang,

I've started with the styrofoam peanuts--I guess I'll know in a year or two 
how they work.  But, I hedged my bet a bit--I'm just going to try them with 
agaves that enjoy big pots and which are easy growers.  Some of these agaves 
could grow upside down in a wet ditch and do well--they defy the rules if they get 
enough heat in summer.  If things work out I'll try the peanuts with more 
tolerant bulbs.  

I wanted to replace the black lava rock (scoria)  with peanuts because it is 
one of the more expensive components of my soil mixes.  A lot of plants seem 
to do so well with it, and I have always supposed they do well because the 
scoria provides air spaces in the soil.  I don't know if they have such air spaces 
in habitat--but the effect is helpful here.  I suppose (just guessing) that 
the air pockets prevent anerobiosis during rainy periods.  

But, the styrofoam peanuts do not behave when I mix them with other soil 
components (coarse sand, perlite, humus, etc.)  Someone on this list warned that 
the peanuts want to fly away.  The agave mix is 2 parts scoria, 2 parts 
perlite, 2 parts coarse sand and 1 part humus.  Due to mixing and physical properties 
of the components I found it easier to keep 1 part scoria and 1 part 
perlite--replacing them with an equal volume of peanuts.  Then, because the darn 
peanuts wanted to fly away to the ends of the earth, I had to top dress the big 
pots (5-gallon or 10-gallon, etc.) with a layer of lava rock (maybe heydite would 
work or just pea gravel--but pea gravel is toxic for my lawn mower).  

So, I replaced about 30% of the lava rock with peanuts, and about 50% of the 
perlite (by volume).  Given that the peanuts are free for me, I did realize 
savings, but not as much as I thought.  I'll experiment for a while and 
appreciate all of the information that has been provided by others.  


Conroe Joe
about 65 F, partly sunny, no rain today

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