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So much useful advice, many thanks to you all.
If anyone is in the Thames water area, they are giving away 2 packets of the crystals to each customer free
Thanks for that, I have just filled in the form online how else would I have found out?????
Living in the south of England and receiving a fair amount of sun (usually) I've found that using water retaining crystals has made a huge , meaning that I water a lot less than before.Most of my plants are in containers.
I prepare the compost by filling one of the large trugs( that seem to be everywhere these days) up to three quarter level with compost, mix in the crystals as stated on the packet then add lots of water, leave overnight to be absorbed. The next day I give it all a good stir round, add slow release fertiliser pellets, another good stir and then start potting up containers and baskets. Thinking ahead makes this an easy task, makes for plenty of compost on hand and avoids the overspill/ gel globule problem