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Rocks in pots a load of crock

Pots, pots, pots. Gardeners are potty about pots, be they terracotta, plastic, self-watering or not.

That’s how my latest feature on the ABC website starts, part of its regular series on gardening science.

The feature then discusses the science behind whether you need to line your pots with gravel, stones or old broken china – known as crocking – to help them drain.

Once, this practice was common and many people still do it today. I’m sure I can remember reading all about crocking in old gardening books or watching my parents do it.

But crocking has some unexpected consequences. I won’t spoil the fun here, nor run through the physics of water movement through different media, as copyright restrictions prevent me from reproducing the feature on my blog for a while.

Instead, just click through to the piece itself – Rocks in pots? What a crock! – for the details.

I certainly learned a lot while researching the piece, a task that was made considerably easier by a review of the evidence from Associate Professor Linda Chalker-Scott, an urban horticulturist at Washington State University.

Former CSIRO soil scientist Kevin Handreck also has his say on crocking, with an interesting twist for anyone interested in a 1960s or 70s gardening revival.

I’d love to hear if you’re convinced.

If you liked this, you might like:
Egg myth cracked open
Do gardenias need Epsom salts?
Grow, you f*cking plant, grow

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. But is it not perhaps more about keeping the dirt in than letting the water out? Which is really stopping the water taking dirt with it when it goes; for which a broken transition across the dirt/crock divide is a plus… who doesn’t fear their pots drying out far more than them waterlogging. Maybe, especially going back to a more terracotta time, crocking did its best work slowing drainage?

    September 25, 2014
  2. I love a good myth busting

    August 10, 2016

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