Growing with Expanded Clay Pebbles
Expanded Clay Pebbles are made of clay, an organic and sustainable material, shaped into balls, and then fired in an oven at about 650 degrees celsius. The little balls then puff up into air filled pebbles. The clay pebbles are marble sized balls of clay, and they are a very unique growing media. Growers love them because they have a good balance between air and moisture, they are sustainable, and easy to use.
These hydro clay balls (e.g. hydroton, leca) are a favourite in many hydroponic systems. They are non-restrictive, meaning that they absorb very little nutrient solution. This makes figuring out irrigation strategies a lot easier! It’s almost impossible to over-saturate a plant when it’s growing in clay balls because the spherical shape of the balls ensures that there are always air gaps available to the roots. The porous expanded clay pebbles have the unique ability to soak up water, and then to release it quickly. So while they hold moisture, at the same time they hold lots of air. And that keeps the roots oxygenated. And because it can quickly drain, it’s the perfect choice for ebb and flow and drain to waste. Even though growers enjoy the fact that that this grow media is inert (chemically inactive), pH neutral and does not contain any nutrient value, It is still recommended to rinse the pebbles with clean water before you use them to remove any dust or particles first.
Growers using clay balls in top feed dripper systems tend to adopt a constant drip cycle during daylight and vegetative growth, and a 15 mins on / 15 mins off cycle during daytime flowering and fruiting.
One of the great benefits of using the pebbles is that they can be reused over and over again. To clean them, either boil them in water, or clean them with a light bleach solution, rinsing thoroughly after.
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