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Hello Landies. Yes, I recommend to add decent layer of some soft gravel, it makes special layer between soil and water, where roots can grow at start and has access to the water and air. While soil is in this case a fertilizer. Same way it's done in case of self watering pods from Lechuza.
p.s.: the orange granules are made from glass. I've purchased them in decoration shop as they did not have the soft gravel that time.