SNAP Hydroponics

Hydroponic Gardening & Commercial Farming made easy.

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Reusing Hydroton and Vermiculite

Hydroponic mediums can be reused a few times before discarding and there are a few very easy steps to clean them before using them again.

Before we get to the dirty part, here is a little background on what happens to these mediums when used. When plants grow on these mediums, their roots will try to cover as much space as they can occupy around these mediums to absorb as much water and nutrients they need. Whenever you harvest your vegetables and these roots die, bacteria and other pathogens will immediately try to decompose these dead roots . These decomposing bacterias have been present in your system from the start and they only feed on decaying or dead matter.

So what we will do is start off by collecting these hydroton or vermiculite to a tray. I use a food tray that I buy at the department store to collect them and as soon as you got rid of most of the roots, let them dry out in the sun for a day to get the smaller roots off the mediums so you can easily sift them out by hand or with a strainer.

The next part of the process is to sterilize them. There are two methods that I use but I will focus on only one that’s probably more easier and convenient. One of which is boiling them in water, draining them and letting them dry out under the sun.

Another way to do it is to soak them in a bleach solution overnight. I use a 5 gallon bucket and fill it up 3/4 of water and add 1/2 cup of any laundry bleach (unscented is better). Using a short plastic pvc pipe, I stir the solution until I feel it’s mixed fairly well. I then dump the hydroton or vermiculite in the solution and stir it again a couple of times. I let it sit there for an hour or two.

Using a strainer with small enough holes for either the hydroton or vermiculite not to pass through, I scoop or dump the solution and let the strainer do all the work. Once that’s done, you will need a hose to rinse off the excess bleach solution off the hydroponic mediums and drain them well. I would let them sit on the tray again to dry out and once that’s done, these vermiculite or hydroton can be reused again or stored back to the storage bin. Easy and convenient way of cleaning and reusing hydroton and vermiculite.

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