9th December 2016
Update: use code HBCHA50 on checkout for 50% off limited time only
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.
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:
- Normal Soil
- Shop Compost
- My Compost + Normal Soil
- 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.
This will now be built up over the next few weeks and used in May ready for the trials.
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.
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.
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.