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Let me start this by saying that I know I tend to overthink everything...lol, but are you able to have worms in pea gravel media?...just thinking the stones might be too heavy and close together for a worm colony??....

 

I haven't set up my system yet (I am moving soon) but I am struggling trying to find the right media, hydroton is just too expensive. 

I haven't been able to find much information (pros & cons) on Grow Stones in an AP system but I like the idea especially since it's made from recycled glass but it may not be cost effective either.

Ideally, I would like to find a media I can buy in bulk (not by the expensive bagful) so I am looking at pea gravel as a possibility.  I have seen on the boards here that ph can be a problem with pea gravel though and don't really want to fight with the ph any more than I have to.

Any information or recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated! 

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Hi Michelle,

I've been using Pea Gravel(river rock) a quartz stone approx. 1/4" diameter, for almost 3 years in beds that have worms in them and have never had a clogging issue to date. The only big issue is its weight.

The worms regulate their size and remain small in pea gravel. You can also use the smaller types of red worms here.

Thanks Harold, that's good to know  :)

 

You can see what expanded shale costs in your area.

Well, then I tend to over think everything as well, because I've always wondered that about worms and pea gravel :) Hydroton (or its brand name equivalents) is really nice to work with, but it is expensive. You could always find a "filler", put a cheaper media in the bottom half of your grow bed and just do the top 4 or 5 inches with the hydroton. It's kinda fun to be able to run your hands through your media without getting any scratches.

Nice to see I am not the only one Alex  :)
 
Alex Veidel said:

Well, then I tend to over think everything as well, because I've always wondered that about worms and pea gravel Hydroton (or its brand name equivalents) is really nice to work with, but it is expensive. You could always find a "filler", put a cheaper media in the bottom half of your grow bed and just do the top 4 or 5 inches with the hydroton. It's kinda fun to be able to run your hands through your media without getting any scratches.

Michelle,

I like to use 3/4" granite on the bottom 6" and 1/2" granite on the top 6".

after your system matures and begins to "go acidic"... the pH drops to around 6, then you want to add some 1/2" river rock(not pea gravel, its too small) to the tone of 30% of your media volume. this will keep your pH buffered at around 7.

..i have not had to adjust pH in over two years.

 

Thanks Rob,

 

I will look into that, sounds good not having to fuss with the pH  :)
 
Rob Nash said:

Michelle,

I like to use 3/4" granite on the bottom 6" and 1/2" granite on the top 6".

after your system matures and begins to "go acidic"... the pH drops to around 6, then you want to add some 1/2" river rock(not pea gravel, its too small) to the tone of 30% of your media volume. this will keep your pH buffered at around 7.

..i have not had to adjust pH in over two years.

 

I am currently using red lava rock and so far it's been working out for me.  I'm using red lava rock because it's cheap, porous, and lightweight.  For the top layer, I'm using river rock as it is softer on the hands.

HI Rob, 

I know I asked you before, but I cant find the post. Where do you get your 1/2 river rock?

Thanks,

Bryan

Rob Nash said:

Michelle,

I like to use 3/4" granite on the bottom 6" and 1/2" granite on the top 6".

after your system matures and begins to "go acidic"... the pH drops to around 6, then you want to add some 1/2" river rock(not pea gravel, its too small) to the tone of 30% of your media volume. this will keep your pH buffered at around 7.

..i have not had to adjust pH in over two years.

 

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