How does Soil Solver turn sand into soil?
The most fertile soils contain a mix of textures - plenty of minerals, clays, silts, sand, organic matter and humus. This provides a moist and friendly environment for soil organisms to live in along with the nutrients they need to grow and multiply. All we have in our Perth gardens is silica sand. If you buy a 'soil mix' you are getting compost with more sand and will still not have any clay or silts. Soil Solver Clay Plus provides the missing clays and silts, and Compost Plus provides the macro nutrients (NPK) and a high humus content. These join together to create moist peds of soil, slowing down the flow of water and keeping it damp longer. This encourages micro organisms, beneficial bacteria and fungi to flourish - and plants can grow many times larger as a result of the extended moisture time and the increased fertility of the soil.
Is there an independent fact sheet?
Yes, you can read the West Australian Dept of Agriculture advice for home gardeners on their web site. Click here
How do I use it?
Mix 7.5 to 15kgs per sqm depending on the result you want. Click to watch this movie of Darren Seinor showing how to mix it in new beds. In my garden, it is dug into one spade deep and the growth is amazing. For existing beds, pour 5 kgs per sqm over the surface of the bed, water, and mix with a hand held hoe. Alternate between watering and mixing. Add another 3 to 5kgs and repeat the mixing. There is no independent scientific evidence that you can use less than of any other type of clay to get the same results. The turf trials at UWA have not shown that any other clay is better than kaolin clay as a soil amendment, or that lower amounts are a permanent cure for water repellency.
Can I plant in it straight away?
Yes you can. Every area is different, and you may need to provide some short term food for the plants while the soil organisms establish themselves in a newly converted area, particularly if it was an area that was low in organic matter or was barren dry ground. Liquid fish nutrients work really well as a boost at the start. If leafy vegetables are going to be grown, then add 10 litres or more of fully mature compost for every 10 kgs of clay product, and add some nitrogen rich blood and bone when first preparing the ground.
Can I use plain bentonite clay instead?
You do not get the same great result. It is an extra 'sticky' type of clay and creates water barriers, which is why it is used as a 'dam liner' by farmers. Clay is only a temporary relief for water repellency unless you add about 7.5 kgs per sqm, which can be difficult to work with in the soil because of Bentonite's sticky qualities. It does not contain all the minerals and trace elements that Soil Solver products contain, and that plants need. Soil Solver clays are more effective at permanently overcoming water repellency, particularly when combined with silts, and they create a more stable soil. Have a look at Trevor Cochrane's garden click here to see a video of the results of using different clay types in his garden.
Do you recommend adding Zeolite to your garden?
No, you get a better result without it. Current turf trials at UWA are not showing any real advantage of adding Zeolite to soil, and it seems to be the least effective of the amendments in the trials for increasing water volume or plant available water. Zeolite is commonly used to filter and remove chemicals because they take them in and may not readily release them again, which is not useful for soil as you want the fertilisers to be released to plants. Not all Zeolites are the same. The local WA Zeolite does not add any small particled texture to the soil, and they can interfere with the capillary action of the water flow that fine clays and silts create. Cations and water held by Zeolite and Bentonite are not readily released to plants, and it can take a lot of fertiliser to 'charge' them with that the plants will never get to use. ( read more in the science page for links to further reading)
Do I need to add it every year?
No. Unlike other clay products that contain bentonite, it is a permanent cure for water repellency. Once you have added the minimum recommended amounts of Soil Solver Clay Plus you have changed the sand into soil permanently. You can add the optimum amount before planting, or gradually mix it into an existing lawn or garden. Your garden will be transformed into a fertile and easy care garden, and many people have success with growing vegetables for the first time ever! Have a look at the Photo Album to see the great results people are getting in their gardens. Water repellency should not return, but if you overwhelm the soil with a lot of organic matter and the symptoms return you can quickly cure it by just scratching the surface a little with a hand held hoe.
Can I use Soil Solver for lawns?
Yes, it is a very important area to slow down the rate water moves through the soil profile and will make the difference between a lawn that thrives and one that barely survives. Now that we can only use sprinklers twice a week, and our climate is getting hotter and drier we really have to rethink our soil preparation for lawns to keep them healthy. Healthy lawns also need just as many trace elements and minerals as the rest of the garden, and by adding Soil Solver as well as compost you will have a lawn that will establish easily, and be a richer and deeper colour as a result of the increased fertility of the soil. It will only need small amounts of compost in the future as food for the soil microbes and the plants. You and the environment will be rewarded long term with an organic and healthy lawn, that uses less water and does not leach as many nutrients.
How should I prepare soil for a new lawn?
Lawns need more consideration as growing vegetables when you prepare the soil, you only have one opportunity to prepare it properly! Add at least 10kg to 15kg Soil Solver per sqm, and 5 litres of Compost Plus per sqm to the existing or new sand, water it in very well and mix in well using a rotary hoe, alternate between the watering and mixing several times before levelling and laying your lawn. Add another 5 litres per sqm of compost plus to the surface of the lawn. The clays and silts will maximise the time your lawn retains water and nutrients, creating a fertile and stable environment for the roots.
Lawns are one of the biggest contributors to fertiliser run-off and polllution in our waterways. Nitrogen and phostrogen easily run off or leach away from a sandy soil. Clays and silts cure water repellency and hold onto water and nutrients. The health of the root zone is a primary determinant of the quality and vigour of the grass that grows on the surface.
Can I use it to renovate a lawn?
Yes, adding Soil Solver and Compost Plus has great results.
Top dressing lawns annually with 1 to 3 litres per sqm of Compost Plus adds nutrients, trace elements and boosts the numbers and diversity of beneficial microbes.
To renovate a lawn:
Make plenty of aerating holes, and de-thatch if necessary. Spread Soil Solver at a low rate of 1 kg per sqm and water in well, repeat this until the soil shows it is holding water, aiming to add about 8 to 10kgs per sqm eventually. Spread Compost Plus at about 1 to 5 litres per sqm as plant food for the lawn. Water thoroughly. Repeat the addition of Compost Plus two or three times a year.
Make a mix of 10% Soil Solver, 30% Compost Plus with 60% fine sand and spread over your lawn 1 to 2cm deep, and level. The lawn will grow through and be reinvigorated.
You can mix soil solver into your garden bed all at once, or gradually by incorporating it into your planting hole, and watering it in well.
I have already added lots of compost, do I really need Soil Solver as well?
Yes, trials have shown that soil holds much more water and is more fertile with clay and silts as well as compost. They are both essential elements of a good soil for our drying climate, saves water, saves fertiliser and saves our rivers. The best results come from Soil Solver and Compost Plus mixed with the sand in your garden.
I have spent a fortune on improvements for my sandy garden which do not work, why is this any better?
Soil Solver makes gardening easier and turns anyone into a good gardener, because it balances the soil for you making a perfect easy care garden. Perths sandy gardens can be very frustrating, they do not hold onto the expensive composts and nutrients that we add and unless you change the guts of the soil then it will only be a temporary solution. Adding Soil Solver Clay Plus at 10 to 15kgs per sqm will very quickly turn a sand bowl into a fertile garden, which just needs food and water. Your plants will thrive, and it will quickly turn you into a greenfingers. The more you add the closer it comes to the best loam soil, and if you get worried about adding too much just remember that a true loam soil is 1/3rd clay, 1/3rd silt and 1/3 sand!
Do I need to add anything else as well as Soil Solver?
You can get terrific results by just mixing Clay Plus into your garden beds. We recommend that you also add Compost Plus for beneficial microbes and fungi, as well as a source of macro nutrients such as nitrogen. Organic matter feeds micro-organisms, earthworms and fungi which are important for healthy soil and plants. Finish with a thick mulch of your choice.
Herbs, vegetables and fruit take up the essential nutrients and trace elements in Soil solver which are essential for our health and well being.
How does it stop water repellency?
The breakdown of organic matter produces waxy substances that coat sand particles, making sand water repellent. The tiny clay and silt particles in Soil Solver coat the grains of sand and cover up the wax, and hold onto water. The extended time that the soil stays damp helps the micro organisms multiply and they gradually break down the built up waxes. read more....
Can I use cat litter instead?
Cat litter is sodium (salt) bentonite clay which has a natural tendency to puff and swell when wet, and shrink again when dry. It is commonly called a 'cracking clay' because the surface becomes covered with large cracks as the clays shrinks when it dries. It also creates a mineral imbalance in your garden because of the sodium. A small percentage will not hurt, and you could drive out the sodium by adding lime and flushing through with lots of water. You would still need to add silts, rock minerals and trace elements to form a healthy balanced soil, and this would end up costing you more than Soil Solver's pre mixed blend.
What is the recommended rate of Soil Solver?
Soil Scientists recommend between 5% to 15% clays and silts, and the higher rates bring the greatest fertility in the garden. This is roughly 10 to 20 kgs per sqm. The smaller the individual grains of sand you have, the more clays and silts it will take to overcome water repellency. Just spread Soil Solver on the surface of an established garden and mix it in. You can do this a few times, starting with 5kgs per sqm and then again with more later. It is very important to mix it thoroughly into the soil, and if it is not absorbing water then it is an indication that you need to do more mixing. The soil will go on improving for years to come as the clay and silts hold onto increasing amounts of humus which are capable of holding onto even more water and nutrients in the soil. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.
When is the best time to add Soil Solver?
The best time to add Soil Solver to your garden is today, the sooner you do it the sooner you can enjoy all the benefits in your garden. In established gardens just spread it around the plants a few kilos at a time, water it in well and mix it into the top 10cms, being careful of plants with roots near the surface. Repeat this until you are happy with how it takes in and holds onto water. It is sensible to add Soil Solver while there is the chance of rain to water it in well and get the bio organisms kick started into life.
By adding Soil Solver, you will achieve a nutrient rich loamy soil that will grow healthy plants, be worm friendly and will soon be the envy of your neighbours. Just remember, the best time to make your garden water wise is RIGHT NOW. Saves water, help save the environment.
Order now using our web shop or telephone Gavin to arrange a prompt delivery service 0428 352 026