Few Questions from Ty

Hey Affnan, Great work with blog very informative. I setup 6 grow bed made from 55 gallon drums cut in half vertical. I plan on taking some pictures and submitting on how its layout is once I get everything up and running since winter is officially over.   My question to you however is I want to try and grow some rooting vegetables and I read that this is best in a tight grow media. I've read that a pure vermiculite,  and perlite would be a good mix for this.  I just wanted to get your input on this.

One more question, which I can't seem to find any information online. What are your thoughts are a growing medium that is 100% carbon (activated charcoal)? Seems like it would work nicely due to the high surface area and bacteria able to colonize more efficiently 

Thanks for your time.


Hello Ty..

You sure have some interesting question there...

On vermiculite and perlite to be honest with you I never have these materials here. looks like both of these product have large surface area and light. If they don't crumble into tiny pieces then its not a problem to use.

I never tried these materials it would be difficult for me to make accurate recommendation, perlite is volcanic rock hope it do not remain floating otherwise it will be difficult in using it for growbed. This also applicable to vermiculite.

Generally only two things to consider when choosing growbed materials, 1 its must not remain floating, 2 it must not breakdown into tiny pieces then it may cause water clogging in the growbed.

On activated charcoal, we use it here for growing Orchids in pots. These are wood base charcoal  and they didn't give any problem to plants. In Aquaponics since its immersed in water half of the time, it may absorb the ammonia from the fish tank. Whether this will have any effect on plant growth again I can't confirm, if you are willing to try then it would be a good knowledge for everyone doing Aquaponics.

Hope this help.



  1. Also I don't know about the charcoal question but regarding the first part, We have found Vermiculite is fine. We use it for seeds/seedlings and then on into our floats. Pearlite on the other hand is a floater and less suitable.
    Ozzie Miller

  2. Thanks Bruce for your comments, I have not use Vermiculite or Pearlite it will be difficult for me to make proper recommendation.


  3. I've been thinking about trying the charcoal myself. If you use 'new' activated charcoal it's going to capture and hang onto most all the nutrients in the water until it's saturated itself.

    For my testing, I am probably going to just put some in a plastic pot that I put into the grow bed so I can do a side-by-side comparison.

  4. @Mike, that will be a good way of testing it, using smaller container within the growbed.