Soil improvement

Get down and dirty growing your food...
Mojojo
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Perth and Donnybrook, WA

Soil improvement

Postby Mojojo » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:15 pm

A few things I've learned the last few weeks in the quest to improve our water repellant, sandy soils... organically.
On this occasion it was for prep for planting our lawn. While lawn may seem a watering luxury esp for WA, it is going to be part of the green zone for anti-bushfire measures around our house, and according to the turf people, once established it will barely need watering even in summer... I live in earnest to see this as I don't believe it.

Zeolite: is a rock dust or rock crumble. In a nutshell it's mineral that absorbs, holds and releases the nutrients in the soil rather than have them leach away. So it increases the efficiency of fertilisers.
I've found it in WA at the woodvale fish and lily farm,$16 for 10kgs, and gardeners direct (who are an online store and deliver). We spread 1 kg per 5 square metres for our lawn planting.
If you google it you will also notice it gets used for human (and animal) consumption as it helps detoxification. And in pond filters among many other uses!

Spongolite: is made from pulverised fossilised sea sponges. Improves water retention - acting as a sponge in the soil. Its also permanent and does not needs reapplication like the wettasoils etc do. We spread 3 parts spongolite to one part zeolite.

Shades of green fertiliser (stocktech): An organic fertiliser that includes a bit of zeolite as well as humates.

We had graded off the weeds and pathetic 'topsoil' that we have, and after a shower of rain, there were definite puddles on top of the sand, scrape it back and bone dry 1mm down... After deep ripping, plowing in all of the above plus approximately 30mm deep only of soil conditioner, then whackering it all in to level down, another shower and the water repellancy is banished, hurrah, thouroughly soaking in.

The lady at the fish and lily farm was very suprised anyone had heard of using zeolite and spongolite in their gardens, but she said she swears by it and had used it throughout the shop's gardens and her own.

I wait in earnest to see how it goes! I'll be adding all of the above to my garden beds next time I turn them over.
~ Jo
_________________
Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

minnie
Posts: 2700
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:23 am
Location: Alice, West of Casino, NSW
Contact:

Re: Soil improvement

Postby minnie » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:05 am

Hi Jo,

We used zeolite for filtering town water for our tropical fish. During drought (some years back) they really hammered the chlorine in the town water and our rain water tank ran out, the fish would have been poisoned with the town water so we rain town water into the rain water tank through zeolite, worked really well.

Hadn't thought for the garden though...
:D
Vicki

Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby Shadowgirlau » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:32 pm

Hello Jo,
Just read your post and was very excited to read this information about the zeolite and spongolite stuff.Shall likewise be very interested to hear all about the outcome. When I go back to my Mothers place later next week I shall hope to find some time to make a trip up to Perth so I can acquire some of this for myself to try here. Would you please point me in the right direction for their address.


Kathleen
Last edited by Shadowgirlau on Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

Mojojo
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Perth and Donnybrook, WA

Re: Soil improvement

Postby Mojojo » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:41 am

The woodvale fish and lily farm for the zeolite and spongolite, is on Woodvale Drive, just off Wanneroo Road,
http://www.woodvalefishandlilyfarm.com.au/index.html
Although if you have other pond and pump places down your way maybe they will stock it?

The Shades of Green is apparently stocked by many City Farmers and Better Pets and Gardens shops,
Actually I think I recall it being stocked by someone in Albany...
Stocktech suppliers list - and read all about it on their website:
http://www.stocktech.com.au/suppliers.aspx

We tried four or five of the listed suppliers before we found one that actually had it, and silly me did not call ahead. Better Pets and Gardens in Bunbury said they would get it in for us with about a weeks notice, which is good to know. Its not cheap either at $60-$70 for a 25kg bag, but a little goes a long way. (like two teaspoons for a 10 litre pot)
~ Jo
_________________
Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby Shadowgirlau » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:09 pm

Thank you Jo I shall do a search for a closer stockist if possible for while I may get up to Perth i am not sure I will get up that far.

Cheers
Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

kexkez
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 4:34 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby kexkez » Fri May 06, 2011 8:35 pm

HI Also IN Donnybrook. Found this forum when searching for the words Bunbury, zeolite and spongolite. Has anyone had any luck finding a supplier down here? I have got 2 bags of both ordered through better pets and gardens bunbury but they now tell me( after 3 weeks and me calling) that they are having problems getting it in through their supplier. I bought my last lot through the woodvale fish farm people last year. So anyone know of somewhere else to get it locally?
Kez

Mojojo
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Perth and Donnybrook, WA

Re: Soil improvement

Postby Mojojo » Fri May 06, 2011 10:26 pm

Hi Kexkez,

There is a place that does it in Bunbury - but in BULK, ie 1 tonne bags, they were going to get back to me with an actual price for bagged stuff, but did not.
The price the guy told me just off the top of his head was way more expensive than woodvale - even if you included fuel and the time it takes to get there!

I wonder if its worth asking the Donnybrook farm service if they can get it? We will be looking to bet a big batch in a couple of months, it might be worthwhile.

The capel turf farm also used to stock it apparently but don't anymore.

If you do find anyone tho, let us know!
~ Jo
_________________
Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

kexkez
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 4:34 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby kexkez » Sat May 07, 2011 7:51 am

Hmm one tonne bag is a bit much. I wondered if there are any aquaponics or hydrophonics places in bunbury or busso. Zeolite is often used for that. Anyone know?


I tried CMP in town but they weren't interested just wanted to sell me what items they have. FArm services do have bentonite clay so they might get the other in if you could point them to a supplier. I'm having trouble discovering where the wholesalers are so I can find out who they supply to down this way.

kexkez
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 4:34 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby kexkez » Sat May 28, 2011 6:24 pm

Bunbury pool and spa mart have zeolite in 15kg bags. They only had 4 bags this morning though and I've bought 2. they were $23 something each. so a couple of dollars more than perth prices.

zeolite gets used in some pool filters and in hydrophonics and aquaponic setups. So that gives a few more leads to try to buy it.

The other thing that is good to use is bentonite clay. yes I know. we have clay but this is different. They sell it at the farm store in town as a stock feed supplement. or is you want smaller buy it as black and gold kitty litter . :) pure bentonite clay.

kexkez
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 4:34 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby kexkez » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:40 am

When I was in Perth last week I picked up a 100L bag of perlite for $40. The local hardware store wanted just over $60 for the exact same bag. You can buy it off ebay delivered for around $44. Perlite can be handy if you can't get spongolite. It's great for heavy clay soils. Add zeolite, perlite and some soil improver or compost and dig into the clay to turn it into a freer draining soil.

Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby Shadowgirlau » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:50 pm

Thanks for the extra info, when I go to Harvey next time I will call in at Bunbury for a bag or two of this.

Am in the process of building a small hydroponic unit for growing lettuce this summer so will also buy some perlite while am at at it.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

kexkez
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 4:34 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby kexkez » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:51 am

I'd ring the pool place first to make sure they have the zeolite. Hate you to get there and find they haven't any in stock. The guy did tell me if I called first he could always get it in for me without a problem.

Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Soil improvement

Postby Shadowgirlau » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:43 pm

Yes I will call when i plan on going over that way if for no other reason that it is quite a way to go.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon


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