Making a fantastic container growth medium
One of our long-term goals is to use our knowledge of compost, biochar, soil and colloidal humus to create a fantastic container mix for hanging baskets and vegetable raised beds.
But this isn’t easy! Ask those who have been trying to redevelop the John Innes 1,2,3 compost range since the decisions was taken to phase out peat.
Container growing has one big challenge over ground soil; water retention.
Containers lose water faster than ground soils. They can dry out quickly to the point where compost becomes near impossible to rewet (water just runs straight through).
However, if you stuff the compost with water holding materials, the mix can become water-logged. This leads to poor root growth, disease and decay.
I recently met Mark Ridsdill-Smith, from Vertical Veg, who has been container growing vegetables b in his town house in Newcastle for many years.
After chatting we agreed to give a SoilFixer ‘Container Growth Mix’ a go.
We supplied two 60 litre bags of our mix in early May. Mark has planted up one container with seedlings (including some fennel) which have all taken well.
The second box contains French bean seeds that have all germinated fine (which they don't always do).
So all is growing well and is as good as the Sylvagrow® (his default mix).
What was in the SoilFixer mix?
Colloidal humus, compost, biochar, micronized mineral powder. All of these came from organic, sustainable natural resources.
After more testing, we will consider how to commercialise the recipe. This might mean giving the recipe to everyone and focusing on supplying the ingredients so you can formulate the mix. Alternatively, it may be that the better option is for us to make and sell the mix.
You may wish to review the impact of our soils additives on top soil, where we achieved up to 150% increase in crop growth over the control top soil (ie x2.5 times the weight).