Water Absorbing Crystals from Diapers for Garden

When thinking about amending your garden, think of a water absorbing crystal as a little water filled packet or reservoir. It should sit near, or touch the plant roots. There, it holds its store of water, to be gradually released, as needed, into the soil where it can be taken up by the plant roots.


Last year, I purchased crystals from two separate companies. Each bag, with the cost of shipping included, was about $30.00. If you garden on a small scale, each bag could very well last for a few years. A little of this stuff goes a long way.

My first purchase was from a company which stated the size of the crystals. The crystals were indeed the size advertised. However, when fully hydrated, the crystals were much too large for their intended purpose. These crystals should be mixed into that soil which surrounds the plant roots. They should stay there. The larger crystals tended to migrate to the soil surface, defeating their purpose.

My second purchase was from a company which did not state the size of its crystals. These crystals, when hydrated, turned into a thick, slippery slime, making them useless as a soil amendment.

I have found the crystals in disposable diapers to be ideal for use as a soil amendment. They absorb water readily, rather than taking hours. Best of all, they are of a small, uniform size which helps them stay in place near plant roots. However, I find their use, costly. Only diapers purchased for soil amending should be used.

I read a post here in ThriftyFun suggesting the use of 'the "cleanish" ones', indicating the diapers had been previously soiled by the baby (or adult). For reasons of personal safety, please, never use a diaper which has been soiled with fecal matter, no matter how slightly.

As for diapers soiled with urine only, human urine contains about 9% urea. Urea is a main constituent of many commercial fertilizers. Does that make the use of urine soiled diapers as a soil amendment, safe? NO! Along with urea, human urine contains about 1000 other chemical compounds. Some of these other compounds are organic, meaning they are, or have been, alive.

May I suggest to you that if you home garden on a fairly large scale, find a commercial source for your water absorbing crystal needs. If you garden only 'lightly', and find a need for water absorbing crystals to be used in a few containers, then by all means, consider purchasing a pack or two of disposable diapers and use them for that purpose, only.


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January 20, 20190 found this helpful

Crystals is a beautiful name, but what is used inside diapers is in fact sodium polyacrylate. In Europe, since 1985 it is forbidden to use sodium polyacrylate in tampons. it is also known as an irritant for the skin, the eyes, and the respiratory tract and for being the cause of: redness, itching, and pain of the skin and the eyes; being the cause of coughing, shortness of breath, inflammation, etc. Get more information on the net about this product you really do not want to put in the soil of your garden. Whatever product you put in the soil, by the roots of plants will come back in your food and even if you use it only for your flowers, rain water will carry it far enough for it to be re-introduced in the water circuit, i.e.


the water you drink. There is already enough chemicals, in your garden, in the rain water and in the water you drink without putting more into the soil specially as there are others ways to water your plants. By the way the sodium polyacrylate is not alone in the diappers, it hides there in the nice company of : dioxine, benzol, tributylétain and others chemicals including many cancerogen.

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