Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) - A perfect sweet soil for agriculture
A soil that is suitable for all kinds of crops can be broadly described as one which has a good amount of porosity to permit proper aeration, good water retention property to hold enough moisture for plant growth, has proper Ph which is in the region of 6.5 to 7.5 and which has all the nutrients necessary for plant growth like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur and micronutrients like copper, zinc, iron, manganese, silicon, molybdenum, cobalt, nickel, etc. in sufficient quantities.
The soil structure in many landscapes, especially those adjoining new construction in the city, is not conducive to support plant life. Amending the soil with an application of Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) can help it become well-draining aerated fertile soil that is able to support all types of plant life due to the aggregate having the capacity to withhold up to 20% water with in itself. The growing medium helps create green scapes in areas that were once barren and sterile so that everything from trees, grass, flowers, and food crops can be grown. The greenery also helps reduce air pollution and air temperature while providing a beautiful place for humans and wildlife to co-exist.
Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) dramatically changes the structure of any soil it’s added too. The 100% intert Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) clay product is blended with other growing mediums, such as soil, compost and peat, to improve drainage, retention of water, provide insulation for roots during cold and hot weathers and to increase oxygen levels within the soil. The product is also eco-friendly and helps filter harmful constituents from the soil.
Generally, agriculture is done by two methods:
Conventional method: Where natural soil is been used.
Modern method: Where ECA® (Expanded clay aggregate) is used either with soil or individually. Modern method in agriculture also includes:
Hydroponics / Hydro Culture
Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) is used as a direct replacement for soil, mainly in hydroculture and hydroponic systems.
- Hydroponic cultivation with Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) is what is called a closed system.
- Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) has a neutral Ph, and is not compactable and is reusable, making the product highly recommended and good for the environment.
- Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA®) allows the system to be stable in form and structure while allowing excess liquid to be absorbed.
- Another great advantage of ECA® expanded clay in this system is that it is very light and easy to manage.
Hydroponics: Expanded or Expandable Clay Aggregate (ECA®) is a commonly used hydroponic grow medium. It is a lightweight aggregate that is heated in a kiln oven to a temperature of 2,910 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius). Once the aggregate is heated, it releases gases, which create small bubbles that make a honeycomb-like structure inside of the aggregate. The movement of the kiln makes the aggregate form into a round shape. The round shapes of expandable clay vary in size. Expandable clay has become a popular growing medium in hydroponics and aquaponics because it secures roots and retains water. The clay has a neutral pH, which also makes mold and fungus less likely to grow.
Benefits of Expanded Clay Aggregates for Hydroponics and Aquaponics:
- These porous Expanded Clay Aggregates absorb moisture and allow for fantastic drainage of water from the roots of the plant.
- Not only do they absorb moisture, but they’ll also absorb any nutrient solution you choose to add.
- The pores in the aggregates, the space between them, and their superior drainage function keep air circulating so roots get plenty of oxygen.
- They can last a long time. Just wash and reuse as many times as you need. You don’t have to worry about losing nutrients through numerous washes because there aren’t any to begin with. If they lose their usefulness, you can add them to the soil of your outdoor gardens to increase aeration and organic content.
- They’re pH neutral and rather inhospitable to bugs.
- You can crush them to increase water retention for use in the germination stage of growing. ( We also supply crushed Expanded Clay Aggregates)
- They’re inexpensive since they are cheap to make and can save you money reusing them over years.
Expanded clay is also sometimes called Hydroton, clay pebbles, light expanded clay aggregate (LECA), or simple clay. It resembles brown pebbles. This grow medium can be rinsed and reused, making it a popular, economical choice. It's often paired with net pots or mesh pots, which holds the medium neatly in the system.
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