SF60 – Supercharge your soil

Like something out of a science fiction movie SF60 so exciting and interesting. SF60 is a new product from Soilfixer which boasts to improve your soil to the best it can possibly be.

 

Made from a few elements, the main ingredient Biochar is proven in the growing world to have huge benefits to your soil including its ability to hold onto nutrients, water and nutrients.

 

Rather than a feed, SF60 is a soil improver formula that exploits these abilities and brings them in an easy application package to provide you with all of the benefits Biochar can give.

 

Benefits:

 

Taken as an extract of Soil Fixer website, SF60 offers some of the following benefits

 

  • It keeps hold of water for a long time – excellent water retention
  • It re-absorbs water very quickly after drying – excellent re-wetting ability
  • Macro nutrient (NKP) supply – has both fast and slow release nutrients
  • Micro nutrients (Ca, Mg, etc) – contains micros nutrients in plant available forms
  • Improved nutrient supply to roots – builds and supports bacterial/fungal roots associations that increase nutrient supply to roots (eg mycorrhizal fungi, AMF)
  • Reduces nutrient leaching – colloidal humus has high CEC reducing leachate losses on irrigation
  • Improves soil aggregation leading to improved tilth and aeration (essential oxygen flow to roots and microbes).
  • Results are long lasting – colloidal humus and biochar typically survive in soil for over 100 years (note nutrients transferred and removed via crop need replenishing)
  • Positive environmental impact: colloidal humus and biochar both sequest carbon and help offset carbon dioxide and hence reduce impact of green-house gases

 

So What Exactly is Biochar?

 

The official terminology is – charcoal produced from plant matter and stored in the soil as a means of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

 

With that in mind it is possible that you can also make your own biochar. The quality & the way in which it’s prepared can vary massively between companies and individuals. This allows every recipe to be unique.

 

SoilFixer have used one type of biochar & their own powders along with their unique hot composting process to create SF60.

 

The initial impression is really quite good.

 

As you can see from the above image the Biochar is very consistent in size and seems to be of good quality.

 

How Do I prepare it for use?

 

You don’t.  SF60 is ready to use out of the box.

 

Is it a feed?

 

No. Although it does contain compost, trace minerals and elements, these are in slow release forms. This product has been designed as a long term amendment rather than a feed.

 

How much do I need to use?

 

Inserted into the planting hole, Target 10% by volume (10 parts soil to 1 part SF60)

 

Best results 20% (5:1), minimum suggested application 5% (20:1)

 

The biochar and colloidal humus in the SF60 product remains in soil year after year. You can top-up and build towards 20% target by adding a bit more each year.

 

So with this in mind SoilFixer has asked me to trial this product along with the compost humidifier to see in a real world application how SF60 can improve your crops.

 

The Test

 

Back in October I was provided with SoilFixers compost humification agent and given the challenge of creating my own supercharged compost. You can read a full review HERE

 

I was then asked to trial growing the same plant in 4 different mixes to highlight any effect the products may have.

 

The sequence is as follows:

 

1 Control Soil (Garden Soil)

2 Normal Compost + Control Soil

3 Control Soil + Improved Compost

4 Control Soil plus #SF60

So the containers I will be using for this test will be 30 litres and all situated next to each other in the same area of the garden.

The area chosen receives 10 hours of sunlight throughout the day. Watering will be the same amount once per week.

The plant in question is Pumpkin Small Sugar provided by Seedparade.

This wasn’t initially first choice for me but I had the opportunity to do two things. Test my own compost and also grow something I have never have before but always wanted to try.

What are my expectations/ Goals?

For me being Organic & sustainable I am always looking for ways I can increase the effectiveness of what I do along with minimal impact on my surrounding environment.

My main goal this year is to see if Biochar really does have a positive effect on both the growth and taste of my crops.

Let’s be honest, as well as a good hobby the real reason we grow our own is for the taste.

I am also very interested in seeing what effect if any, that the compost provides after a full season of growing. Will it still be rich? Will it still perform?

Follow my journey on Plot44Organics for all up to date live results and progress.

If you are interested in giving these products a go for your own needs you can buy it from HERE or if you have any further questions the FAQ can be found https://www.soilfixer.co.uk/Super-soil-improver-SF60-Detailed-FAQ

Composting is the way of life

9th December 2016

Update: use code HBCHA50 on checkout for 50% off limited time only

Soil_Fixer

So it’s that time of year again. The plot is coming to a dreary end & winter is setting in fast.

It isn’t all doom and gloom mind. Although a little cold this is the perfect time to start the compost off.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the team at Soil Fixer to test out a new product of theirs, the Compost Humification Agent

So a little background into the product. The product is advertised as follows on their website.

Compost Humification Agent (also known as a Compost Activator)

This patent pending NEW product is unlike any existing compost activator (accelerator or inoculation agent). Developed by Tony Callaghan (inventor of HOTBIN composting system) following years of work on compost and how to make more of the really good stuff that improves plant growth. 

 

So what are the benefits?

  • boosted plant growth
  • smoother and stickier compost with more of the vital colloidal humus
  • making a positive, long-term improvement in your soil. Colloidal humus and  biochar  are long lasting and even small amounts have profound impacts on soil fertility
  • You will be making a ground breaking contribution to the environment. Colloidal humus and biochar are stable forms of organic carbon known to survive in soils for hundreds of years. You will be sequestrating carbon and offsetting the impact of global warming gases like carbon dioxide

Cool. So at this point I got rather intrigued. I’ve heard of biochar before but never had the chance to use it.

So who is it aimed at?

  • All composters who want to improve the quality (performance) of their compost
  • Home composters using traditional garden (green waste) ‘cold’ composting in darlex and pallet frame boxes
  • Industrial composting sites using windrows or IVC system

So in a nutshell, anyone willing to give it a go. Sounds like my kind of challenge 🙂

Lets take a little look.

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Looks really good quality. All fine pieces of similar size.

How to use

100g (one mugful or a handful) per each 5Kg (approx. 7-9 litres, ie a large caddy/bucket) of waste added. Sprinkle the product on to your compost waste each time you add new waste to your compost heap / bin. It promotes and boosts the formation of the highly beneficial ‘colloidal humus’ from typical levels of 1-5% to 10-40%.

So that’s the overview.

So why the test?:

Simple. To see if the benefits can be gained.

I have been asked to do a 4 stage test. It will be tested as follows:

  1. Normal Soil
  2. Shop Compost
  3. My Compost +  Normal Soil
  4. My Compost + Normal Soil + SPF60*

*will be revealed soon 😉

All pots will be the same as will the location & water regime and amounts.

Plants will be from the same batch of seed planted at the same time & covered with the same protection.

They will then be monitored for growth rates and yields.

The process has already begun. This year will mark the first year I will be making my own compost. Materials used will be all except potatoes, meat & any acidic plants. I use grated newspaper & cardboard in between the layers to help get a good balance.

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This will now be built up over the next few weeks and used in May ready for the trials.

06/01/17

So sorry, a little quiet at the moment.

Over the past few weeks not much is happening,  I continue to add small amounts of organic matter to the pile but due to low temps its all a bit slowwww 😉

I do however have an idea of the way in which in going to test it. More details to follow.

So quick update in the compost today. Im currently half way fill the bin and so far so good. Plenty of kitchen waste And biochar and looks great. Plenty of microbal activity and no foul smells.

A bit more heat and that will be perfect.

Hipefully the weather picks up on time this year and were in business.

16/02/2017

So update is needed. The compost itself seems to be rotting down nicely. About 2 weeks ago i mixed in a bag of chicken manure mixed with shredded paper and this has been left to breakdown.

At this rate im hoping its going to be ready for use in april!

With that in mind its time to turn my attention to what i will be using to see what difference the biochar makes.

So drumroll please….

My test plants for this year are pumpkins


Variety is small sugar.

Be interesting to see as this is my first time growing them.

Setup will be 3 containers as previously mentioned.

Update 4/3/17

So were knocking at the start of the growing season and my biochar infused compost is coming along nicely.


We’ve had a lot of rain lately so the heap has got a bit wet. I have now changed to lid to allow the humidity and heat to build back up.

So thats the compost done. I will be using it in 6 weeks time so hopefully it would have dried out will be ready for use 😉 

Next up will be stage 2 of the test where I will set up a test to see how my biochar infused compost compares to good quality manufactured compost, more affordable compost and soil.

Finally Thank you to soilfixer for letting me trial their products.