In previous blog entries, I have talked a bit about my cigar addiction. Yes, it is most definitely an addiction. How else can I explain that I have over 2,000 cigars and only smoke about 5 a week? Through trades and purchases, I have a wonderful selection that can require many minutes to select the right cigar for the right occassion. At my current rate of consumption, I have enough for over 7 years.
Anyways, as usual, I went off topic. The issue is that here in Colorado, we have extremely low humidity. Cigars are supposed to be stored at between 65-70% relative humidity. So, I am constantly looking for just the right humidity source for my humidor.
Last week, I started doing research and found that cationic polyacrylamide powder is often used by landscaping professionals to provide a water store for plants. These little crystals absorb huge amounts of water and will give it off to the atmosphere and plants over time. This works wonderfully for plants that need a continuous source of water but can’t be watered all the time. I did some more research and found that these crystals will then break down over time to the water that they store plus carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
OK, why not try to put these little water storing crystals to work in my humidor? I bought a pound of these little crystals for about $12 including shipping. According to the documentation, six teaspoons (an ounce) will absorb up to a gallon of water. I opened the package and spooned out two tablespoons. I just didn’t believe they could absorb so much water. I put them in a large ashtray that I have that holds 10 oz of water (it is shaped like a really huge pipe) and put the two tableshoons in it. I added water and walked away. I came back 30 minutes later to an ashtray full of these little inflated crystals and a very large gob (look it up, it is a technical measure) of crystals that spilled all over the table. I waited two more hours and found even more crystals all over the table. I, as a geek, immediately thought that I was facing a new "tribble" like phenom. They just wouldn’t stop growing. I scooped them up and put them in a very large styrofoam cup (think: geek coffee source) and continued to add water. I really wanted to see how much they could grow. Well, they didn’t disappoint me at all. I ended up putting a large amount of these little water dudes into my outdoor planters where they could hang out until spring and then help my flowers.
I put the rest into my humidor. After a few hours, I saw the humidity kick up and it leveled off to a perfect 68%. After all night last night and all day today, it has maintained that 68% just like I wanted.
I figure, based on that pound of crystals that I bought, I have enough crystals to humidify the cigars in the entire state of Colorado. Anyone want some? www.watergelcrystals.com is a good source. Be careful, the picture of the crystals here is very deceptive. Notice how small the crystals are on the left and how big they are on the right. The ones on the right can grow even bigger. If you added water to all of the ones on the left, you would end up with a kitchen full of the ones on the right.