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Anyone Sanitizes their LECA for reuse with a Pressure Cooker
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  #1  
Old 03-17-2019, 06:15 PM
emmajs243 emmajs243 is offline
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Anyone Sanitizes their LECA for reuse with a Pressure Cooker
Default Anyone Sanitizes their LECA for reuse with a Pressure Cooker

Hey guys! The title basically sums it up! Anyone successfully and confidentially use their pressure cooker to sanitize their LECA for reuse?? Are you pretty confident at reusing even LECA from sick plants with this method? What time and settings/psi do you use (settings if on a new version)??

Also, do you put the leca inside of something to Pressure cook it?? If this is a silly question I apologize! I have just been given my first, brand new pressure cooker and am working through the owners manual but It's my repotting weekend and I would love to get some LECA sanitized and google is just delivering the answers and details I need!
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2019, 07:35 AM
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Anyone Sanitizes their LECA for reuse with a Pressure Cooker
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I avoid reusing LECA.

Mineral residues are far more concerning than pathogens, and your pressure cooker isn't going to do much aboutnthat.

If I do feel the need to reused LECA, I merely add bleach or Physan to the soak water.
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Old 03-18-2019, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Ray View Post
I avoid reusing LECA.

Mineral residues are far more concerning than pathogens, and your pressure cooker isn't going to do much aboutnthat.

If I do feel the need to reused LECA, I merely add bleach or Physan to the soak water.
A soak in vinegar or even a mild muriatic acid solution would seem more appropriate, with proper precautions of course.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:52 AM
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Boil it. Leave them to cool and soak in water. If you are concerned about mineral deposits, change the water to soft water / RO water a couple of times until the TDS readings are to your liking. Salts will always tend to dissolve.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:55 AM
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WaterWitchin WaterWitchin is offline
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I avoid reusing LECA....
Really Ray? That surprises me. I reuse it all the time unless it's been in use for a prolonged time and starts to look "yucky" to the eye. Guess I always presumed you did the same.

I dump a bunch into a huge net pot I have, used for growing water plants, and hose the heck outta it. Then soak overnight in a five gallon bucket with vinegar, rinse and resoak overnight, then let it sit out in sun until dry, then throw back into a container for eventual use. Have never had an issue.

Never would I dream of pressure cooking LECA. I'd come closer to putting it in a mesh bag and running it through a dishwasher. Not that I've done that, but have before with aquarium rock and wood to remove/kill algae buildup.

I still remember the day at my aunt's house when she and my mom were pressure cooking chickens. They got busy chatting and BOOM! Chicken on the ceiling and EVERYWHERE! It was a very impressive sight, and I've never had the desire since to experiment with one.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:12 AM
emmajs243 emmajs243 is offline
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Thanks guys! I too would avoid reusing LECA for pretty well used LECA but this was only used for a very short time until I messed up and killed my seedling. So like maybe 2 months? I just am not positive if it was 100% me who killed the plant or if it got some sort of infection combined with me....that's why I was debating reusing it just because it has no minerals built up as of this point and still looks like brand new....minus maybe one or two balls right in front of the holes...they have a teeny tiny white mineral spot just starting.

Idk. I feel like the vinegar is a great idea. I use vinegar all the time to remove mineral deposits elsewhere! I had no idea it was fine for this though!
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:50 PM
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Really Ray? That surprises me. I reuse it all the time unless it's been in use for a prolonged time and starts to look "yucky" to the eye. Guess I always presumed you did the same.
The stuff isn't that expensive, and it can sometimes be more of a hassle the clean it properly than to just replace it.

I DO, however, sometimes reuse it for tropical houseplants, as they are less sensitive to mineral build-up than orchids are.

Unfortunately, the build-up within LECA pellets isn't necessarily as easy to extract as Sillykeiki seems to think. Certainly the salts adhering to the surface and shallowly inside the pellets will come out easily, but some of the deposits are not salts, and the stuff that has deposited deep within the pellets will take a lot more time to come out, and that can happen while it's in the pot.
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:51 PM
emmajs243 emmajs243 is offline
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Ya i would worry about the salts with its porous structure ....I totally hadn't thought twice about the salts and mineral buildup....I solely was thinking pathogens were all i had to worry about elimating.

Honestly I do agree with you Ray on the fact that it is cheap so what's the big deal buying a big bag as needed? The only reason I was even considering it was because they are the small LECA balls which I haven't been able to find hardly ANYWHERE. Only the large ones...but then I saw on your website that you recommend the larger LECA balls to provide enough space for roots to grow through...if I remember correctly. So I was going to try my set up again with only large LECA balls.

Originally, I had trouble with the dry line and I was a really bad scientist and made three big changes that could solve this problem all at the exact same time so I have no idea which one or combination of ones eliminated my dry line. I just know it was gone after adding a humidifier, making a deeper a reservoir and doing a layer of small LECA for about a 1/2" at the very top....I know, looking back, definitely wasn't my best moment but I need to back track to figure it out probably anyways!
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:56 PM
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Originally, I had trouble with the dry line and I was a really bad scientist and made three big changes that could solve this problem all at the exact same time so I have no idea which one or combination of ones eliminated my dry line. I just know it was gone after adding a humidifier, making a deeper a reservoir and doing a layer of small LECA for about a 1/2" at the very top....I know, looking back, definitely wasn't my best moment but I need to back track to figure it out probably anyways!
The wicking rate up from the bottom is a constant, depending upon the particular brand of LECA.

There will always be a gradient in moisture content - with the pellets in the reservoir being saturated, getting less so as you move up in the column.

If the evaporation rate from the top exceeds the wicking rate, there will be a so-called "dry line" above which the surface moisture has been completely removed, but there is still some moisture inside the pellet.

If you shorten the column above the reservoir, the wicking may be able to keep up better with the evaporation. Only increasing the depth of the reservoir does not - a 6" column of LECA with a 1" reservoir is identical to a 7" column with a 2" one.

Certainly increasing the RH slows the evaporation rate, again, allowing the wicking to keep up more easily.
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emmajs243 View Post
Ya i would worry about the salts with its porous structure ....I totally hadn't thought twice about the salts and mineral buildup....I solely was thinking pathogens were all i had to worry about elimating.

Honestly I do agree with you Ray on the fact that it is cheap so what's the big deal buying a big bag as needed? The only reason I was even considering it was because they are the small LECA balls which I haven't been able to find hardly ANYWHERE. Only the large ones...but then I saw on your website that you recommend the larger LECA balls to provide enough space for roots to grow through...if I remember correctly. So I was going to try my set up again with only large LECA balls.

Originally, I had trouble with the dry line and I was a really bad scientist and made three big changes that could solve this problem all at the exact same time so I have no idea which one or combination of ones eliminated my dry line. I just know it was gone after adding a humidifier, making a deeper a reservoir and doing a layer of small LECA for about a 1/2" at the very top....I know, looking back, definitely wasn't my best moment but I need to back track to figure it out probably anyways!
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