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Moisture retention gel

BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,607
An odd time of year to be thinking about this, but are there any trials to show moisture retention gel actually works? It seems obvious that it ought to be beneficial but I recently read, and I don’t know it’s true, that moist gel placed on a kitchen towel doesn’t leave a damp patch. If that’s the case, how do plant roots take up the moisture? And even if it is not true, have experiments been conducted to assess the gel’s efficacy?
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  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,602
    I think it's been pretty much debunked as useless. 
    As you say, it absorbs moisture, but  I've read, doesn't realease it in a way which is beneficial to plants.
    Devon.
  • Hello I used it in the summer I don't think I really got a good idea of results as this summer was very hot, but I would say it helps but not to much.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,583
    It's the same stuff that's in nappies and takes forever to break down.  I haven't used it for years and find my pots - and baskets when I still had those - do just as well if not better without it.  Far better to get the right compost mix and a mulch combined with a good, regular watering system, even if that's only you and a watering can.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,234
    The only useful way I have used it was as a slug/snail repellent around young shoots, which to be honest worked quite well. 🙂
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,602
    Call me a cynic, but I reckon in a few years time, folk will be asking the same of micorrhizal crystals.
    Devon.
  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,052
    I don't understand mycorrhizal fungi. How did we manage without powdering roots in the past? I don't like that GW (Monty) pushes it. However, I always add water gel in my hanging baskets. I believe that touch of moisture has saved many a basket of mine.
    SW Scotland
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,893
    It’s just just made from some plastic stuff that won’t biodegrade, more plastics to end up in the ocean. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,052
    I admire that you have nothing plastic around you Lyn. I find it hard to avoid, but I do try.
    SW Scotland
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,583
    If you own a fridge, microwave, car, power tools, hairdryer, vaccuum cleaner, anything powered by electricity - insulation and switches - etc it is not possible to be entirely without plastic but we can certainly all try and eliminate the use of unnecessary plastics, single use and non-biodegradables.




    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,234
    I'd agree with Obelixx - it's almost impossible to be without it, but we can all play a part in not using it if we can possibly manage, and reusing any that we have.
    It's manufacturers that need to start the ball rolling, by not packing things in multiple plastic bags for instance, and by getting together and using plastics that can be easily recycled, instead of the endless different types in existence. 
    I don't do the usual  type of hanging baskets, purplerain, but I have some which are permanently planted, and I line them with the empty bags from compost. They have scraps of landscape fabric on the outside to disguise them. The plastic can be reused so maybe that would be beneficial for your hanging baskets too. It helps retain moisture, and along with some soil from the garden, rather than just compost, the whole thing stays moist more easily.  :)
    I've never used the myco fungi powder either. If it ain't broke and all that. I expect it's like any other industry though - someone, somewhere, comes up with an idea, and that gets marketed and promoted as the latest 'must have' thing. The great unwashed falls for it in large numbers, so the product makes lots of money. Fast forward 6 months, and there's another 'must have'. And so on, ad infinitum.
    Or am I cynical?  :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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