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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:23 pm

Gelatin in my soil?

Hello, everyone. I'm new here. I joined because I checked on the seeds I planted in my raised garden bed today, and I saw something weird.

Last week on Saturday we planted a bunch of heirloom seeds: sugar snap peas, lettuce, turnips, radishes, and carrots. I have been watering the raised bed myself all week until yesterday, because it started raining. It has rained today as well. When I went to go check on the raised bed, I noticed a bunch of little clumps of what looks like and feels like gelatin. The clumps are clear, but kind of muddy from the top soil. It looks they burbled up from out of it. We used a mixture of topsoil and potting mix to fill the beds, and I have never come across this before. Does anyone know what it could be and if it is normal?

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1030
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:12 pm
Location: central Ohio

Re: Gelatin in my soil?

It's a water retaining polymer that was in the potting mix. Yes, it's normal. It's more common and noticeable in moisture retaining mixes.

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Gelatin in my soil?

It's why I don't use the "moisture control" potting mix. Many, if not most, plants need to dry out a little between waterings, but the moisture control stuff stays wet all the time. Soaks up water into the gelatin and then releases it later if the soil starts to dry at all. Keeps everything too wet, too much of the time. Besides I think the gelatin stuff is nasty....
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Gelatin in my soil?

Yes the gelatin will create a coat of slime, block out the air and kill everything. I does not happen with normal watering. Usually it happens when the soil is very wet from rain. I think the only place those polymers are useful are in deserts and in greenhouses where water is controlled. It is better to only buy the regular potting soil and it costs less too.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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