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Just saw this on the BBC news : a practice I have been doing for years. Am I now wasting my time ? Your thoughts please !!
I use gravel - from my driveway (don't mention to hubbie!). Ensures drainage.
Im not sure you can test it with 40 pots anyhow. Isn't the idea of crocks to reduce the chance that it might block - rather than expect an improvement in every pot with crocks compared to without. I wouldn't be surprised though if sometimes crocks solve the problem and sometimes they cause it.
..I no longer use crocks...however, for containers remaining outside all winter, I do put them on pot feet...
I use them if I have them if not it is commando style or as they are. Does it help I have no idea, will I still do it? If there are any broken pots probably although have used all sorts from foam to gravel. They also said we are better off using sand in the bottom to hold excess water and feed it back as the pot dries out? Surely you then need to crock the pot to hold the sand in, it would wash out.
If it works for you do it your way, experts in everything have been so wrong so many times I no longer trust any of them, says he who had a fried breakfast every day of his long life, I should have gone long ago according to experts, "err" where are they now???
how about the saving on compost needed/used? if you have a deepish container, but what you are planting has shallow roots that wont extend all the way down - its a way of filling up the space? personally i dont tend to bother but thats primarily because i never actually have any crocks to use!
From The Guardian of all places.
The theory Water drains more quickly through coarse materials, so a layer of gravel or pot fragments in the bottom of containers lets excess water drain freely.The evidence Research by soil scientists shows that water doesn't flow freely from fine-textured materials into coarser ones. Water moves into coarser materials, such as gravel or crocks, only once the soil above is saturated, so a sudden change from a fine to a coarse texture causes water to collect in the soil above, rather than drain away. This can be bad news for roots. Pot feet help to improve drainage and prevent waterlogging, especially in containers sitting on a hard, flat surface.The verdict False: a drainage layer in the bottom of pots reduces the volume of soil available to plant roots. Don't add gravel or crocks, but ensure pots have drainage holes.
personally i use polystyrene ,and in big outdoor pots they are much lighter and also a little help with insulation in the winter,works for me.
My 90 year old dad says 'yeah, yeah, seen em come seen em go'
They will change it next year.
I always thought my baskets and tubs were very good, think what i could acheive without crocks,
I've just started to use polystyrene (as noted by Alan4711) from packed goods and am breaking it up as 'crocks'. definitely makes pots much lighter to move around and will observe if useful.
So! Mike is going to stick his neck out. I note there are several comments on this subject. I hold my hands up. No. I haven't read half of the replies. So might this oldie boast a bit. Subject: crocks in pots. Definition. Prior to filling a pot with compost and of course a plant, the draiage hole. With clay pots, a single hole existed, easy to crock-over. Plasic pots are different. Usually a ring of base holes. So! what's the problem. Well. We are ghere dealing with a cotainerised plant, a mini garden etc. To plant a subject in a bucket, for instance. With all the TLC in time the watering is going to take it's toll. For potted/containerised plants. Drainage is a must. A longtime favourite is the broken pots or better known crocks. These are placed over the drainage hole. This allows drainage plus it prevents the compost from being washed out. Also it provides an escape route for roots. Sadly, it doesn't prevent enemies from entering from below. Slugs especially will gain entry to a pot, nia the drain hole. I have used several methods. Perforated zinc is by far the best. A small piece of the latter placed over the internal base of the pot, or just over the hole. This serves the purpose. I believe that alternatives are now marketed, such as nylon guarze and the like. Whatever. You must ensure drainage is available.
I don't bother with plastic pots but with the large pots planted up with bedding plants, I use crocks. Either broken clay pots or the broken up polystyrene trays that my bedding plants are bought in.
Jillofalltrades, I hope you don't regret using polystyrene when you have to pick the bits out of the compost heap at some time in the future. Drives me mad!
I use crocks for all my pots, plastic or not, because it stops the soil dribbling out when I water. And obviously for drainage and to make large pots lighter....
Sorry I hadn't finished...accidentally pressed return!
I'm not sure that 40 plants constitutes a scientific study, it's a rather small control group and there seem to be lot of variables. But when I buy plants from a big nursery they don't seem to have crocks in and they grow perfectly well, so maybe there is something to it. I think I'll carry on for now and then see what happens when I run out of crocks.....(it has been known to happen).
I put crocks in my pots, because I always have. I don't think I could stop just like putting crosses on brussel sprouts before you cook them always done it lol