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Bactivate

    37 responses

BJ starts with ...
I recently saw an advertisement for Bactivate it is apparently good soil bacterial mixed in with coal dust and you can sprinkle it on the garden to improve the soil etc. Im keen to improve some of the soil (and I use the term soil loosely) around my house, but where there are existing trees the process is going to be very slow. Their web-site is: http://bioasis.com.au/
Does anyone know if Bactivate is a gimmick, or a legitimate option? Is the slow and steady practice of adding compost and mulch every year the best way to go or would use of these little buggies greatly speed up the process (not that Id stop adding the compost and mulch - I'd just rather I had good soil in two years instead of 10!)
My soil / sand is typical of WA and quite poor. After a few years of composting Ive only recently found a few worms so a short cut is very attractive (provided it actually works).
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BJ11
WA
25th May 2010 9:42am
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Steven says...
Hi Bj how are you.

Last year i bought a product i cant remember what it was called but it was similar. it was mycorrhizal fungi (fungi that grows on the roots of trees) and claimed to do the same sort of things, boot plant health, strength etc, to be honest i didnt really see any difference in the health of my pot plants after giving them some and one coffee tree actually died after i treated it with this stuff (not sure if it was because of what i gave it though).

Their research and claims that its boosts health of soil etc is based on if the bacteria (or in my case fungi) wasnt there at all and you gave them this stuff this is how much it will help your plants (and im sure they have photos on their website to show you that). which is completely true. but in reality if your composting etc then the fungi/bacteria that you need will already be there and the bactivate i doubt will make much of a difference.

If there arent many worms in your compost then its probably because they are finding it hard to get to it. you can buy worms from people to boost that. bunnings sells them but they are very poor quality and half dead when you get them. your local nursery should be able to help you with finding them. A worm farm will also help as you get really good fertilizer for your garden as well as compost tea which is thriving with bacteria plus you get an endless supply of it.

Also the bacteria probably wont help much if you have sandy soil because there isnt much to break down there. it might be a good idea to buy a few meters of aged compost and mix it into your garden that will defiantly boost things up.

I might be wrong but in my opinion i think those formulas are only useful on really depleted soils were its too expensive to use compost etc.

Regards

Steven
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Steven
Eastern Suburbs
25th May 2010 10:39am
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BJ says...
Thanks Steven,

I think you articulated my concerns exactly!

If adding the goop was going to speed things up then I would be willing to spend the money, but from what you say I am better off adding some aged compost and poo (something I am planning to do at the end of winter). I do have worms in the compost bin, but they just don't seem to move into the garden ... hopefully soon the conditions will be suitable for them.

I'm a bit distrusting of 'miracle cures' that sound a bit too easy or good to be true. (It would be nice though wouldn't it ... sprinkle something onto the ground and come back a few months later to rich loamy soil!!)
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BJ11
WA
25th May 2010 11:00am
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John I says...
Hi BJ and Steven, just thought I'd add my 2 cents worth...
Firstly if it aint broke don't fix it (basically what Steven has said).
Secondly, if it is broke... in my case I had an issue this year with root knot nematodes destroying my tomatoes. I have a small yard that doesn't produce a lot of compost, so I think I might benefit from something like bactivate to boost the soil microbes, but more compost would be the long term solution.
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JohnI
Melbourne
25th May 2010 12:45pm
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Original Post was last edited: 25th May 2010 12:54pm
Steven says...
Hey everyone.

I know I have thought the same thing many times. Actually there is one thing thats being heavily researched these day (especially in australia because of our depleted soils). Terra preta claims to greatly improve depleted soils. the ancient south americans used to use it (i cant remember which one) and its really easy to make its basically charcoal thats make to be very porous. there is plenty of info about it on google or youtube :)

It probably would be good for sick soil, i always tell people to have yoghurt if they have a sick stomach and its the same principle. Although personally i would only use those as a last resort though.

Regards

Steven
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Steven
Eastern Suburbs
25th May 2010 2:09pm
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virginny says...
Always request articles from peer reviewed journals . No articles ,no buy.
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25th May 2010 4:57pm
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Pete says...
Hi Steven,

I've used Bactivate to great effect on the grass at my house. I moved into a new property in Dec 09 and the grass was patchy to say the least. I applied Bactivate and put Seasol over the top to stimulate the bacteria. Within 3 months all of the holes/gaps were gone and the grass is extremely lush and soft.

I'm led to believe that Bactivate is not mycorrhizal fungi but beneficial bacteria from the Baccilus genus. My biggest concern is that a lot of the products around today can't tell you what 'good bacteria' are actually in their product. At least the guy that sold me Bactivate could tell me what Iwas putting in my garden and what they did.

I would recommend

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Pete5
Melbourne
30th July 2010 10:06am
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Steven says...
Hi Peter how are you.

Its great that it helped you. Im not saying it wont work or is complete rubbish, im just saying that you could achieve the same result or better with much cheaper alternatives eg compost, worm juice, compost tea etc. which im most cases would also probably be easier to do.

im 99% of cases all the bacteria you need are already in the soil as with the fungi you just need to cultivate them or encourage them to grow.

But thats not so say dont use products like bactivate or they are a waste of time

Regards

Steven
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Steven
Eastern Melbourne
30th July 2010 12:12pm
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Charles cant spell says...
BJ has you mulched the whole area with 10cm of street tree prunings?
This is the single best cheapest way to get worms and bacteria. It is their food, feed the bacteria, the bacteria feed the worms the mulch keeps it all moist, in 6 months you have 5cm of broken down black active compost.

Worms need protection (cover) and constant moisture. Our soil offers neither.

If you want to speed up having better soil you could spend $500 and get 5m3 of Vegetable Bed Concentrate from Green Life Soils. You can blend this 50/50 with your crappy sand to make a good viable soil medium. So you would end up with 10m3 of good soil. Vegebed 30cm deep so that 30m2 (or 5mx6m) of "topsoil"
They make a decent product unlike soils aint soil etc etc.

I have had dealing with them so there's a vested/knowledgable interest I shall declare and they support Permaculture so good on them.
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Charlesstillcantspell1
Perth Innaloo
30th July 2010 2:30pm
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Original Post was last edited: 30th July 2010 2:32pm
BJ says...
Hi Charles,
To be honest I wasn't confident with the bactivate being 'value for money' so I've been sticking with my home-made compost (lawn clippings and shredded paper mostly) and digging through the mulch that I had put on the soil about 12 months ago.
I'm really lucky, the mulch has broken down a lot and I'm probably ready to put in another layer at the end of winter. It is great to see the soil slowly change from water-repellent nutrient deficient pale grey to something that is a bit darker and squidgy and maybe, just maybe, able to sustain life! I just wish I'd put the effort into improving it BEFORE I put the plants in!
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BJ11
WA
30th July 2010 4:01pm
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Steven says...
If you want to but compost to mix into your soil to increase the amount of humus its a good idea to get aged compost as this is already well broken down and you wont loose your compost as it decomposed to water and CO2.

Also it might be a good idea to look into tera preta i tried it once and it seems to work well, plus its easy to make at home and very cheap.

Regards

Steven
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Steven
Eastern Melbourne
30th July 2010 4:22pm
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Jimmy says...
how about sand remedy? it looks good.
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Jimmy
Perth
4th August 2010 5:31pm
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Brad says...
Isn't Sand Remedy just rock minerals and some spongy material (fosilized coral?)? I remember looking at it when I did my vegie beds and it was expensive for the volume and i found something else. But maybe I had it wrong.

Agree with Charles regarding green life soils. Since I bought some vegie mixes from other suppliers and was disappointed, I've been discussing this with everyone that had any experience with suppliers and these are the only ones consistently regarded as producing a long lasting high quality mix. I have no association with them, but if I ever buy in again, it'll be from them. Every other supplier ever discussed needs you to add compost / composted manure etc to make it into good mix. For this reason I bought an over-sized (for my small block anyway) composter off ebay for $100 and generate my own - straw and manure can be obtained cheaply to get it going. I'll be moving around the time the first batch might be ready, so that's a dilemma - use it where it was intended or bag and take compost???

To keep agreeing with Charles (pay me later): If you can leave a big pile of street mulch (cf mulchnet) on your verge for 6 months and then use it, you'll have all the bacteria and worms etc in no time, plus an environment they can survive in.
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Brad2
Como, Perth
4th August 2010 8:45pm
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BJ says...
For anyone interested the "Green Life Soils" web site is: http://www.greenlifesoil.com.au/

Thanks for the information gents - I've a simular 'size' issue to Brad (i.e. my block is about 500m2 and most of that is under house/garage/driveway so I'm quite limited in what I can achieve outside of a compost bin - also massive - for simular reasons to Brad).
The quality mulch seems like a good spring option for me. Last year I got a cheap load of soil from Soils-aint-soils and it turned out to be horrid stuff. I think I'd rather spend a few dollars extra and actually help my trees!

Oh ... and I've found kitty-litter (the cheap 'clay only' sort without any fancy added smell etc) is quite handy. I started throwing it in the compost (post-fertilised by the anti-mouse brigade) and it really seems to work.
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BJ11
WA
4th August 2010 9:35pm
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Brad says...
I've used about 2 bags of coles kitty litter - anything with bentonite will do. Also available from rural suppliers. I'm not sure how useful it is, but it can't hurt
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Brad2
Como, Perth
5th August 2010 1:54am
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Original Post was last edited: 5th August 2010 1:55am
Julie says...
BJ, just came across this. Interesting use for Bactivate.

http://www.organicbreakthrough.com.au/page/developments_and_news.html
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Julie
Roleystone WA
11th August 2010 8:44pm
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brad says...
I'm not dismissing it but
1) doesn't look like an unbiased source / website
2) if i read between the lines in one of the vegie studies it says "we stopped fertilizer burning the roots, but look how much effect the bactivate had"

Its a bit like Pete in a post above - would the grass have improved any less with just Seasol? you really need peer reviewed study of this kind of product.
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Brad2
como, perth
12th August 2010 11:13am
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amanda says...
It might be cheaper to make your own microbe brew by making compost tea?:

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2002082739009975.html

There's lots of stuff on the Net if u google 'compost tea recipes' etc..

PS - to make your Bactivate go further - you could add a little to the tea - the bacteria will grow n divide - so u would be 'growing your own' bactivate and reducing the cost even further...
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
12th August 2010 12:58pm
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Original Post was last edited: 15th August 2010 11:21am
Jodie says...
I met a man selling this stuff yesterday and he seemed pretty passionate about his product, as I'm sure a lot of salesmen are, although he'd had a career change from electrical engineer and decided on this company, which I guess is neither here nor there but thought I'd mention it. Anyway, I did come across this http://farmguide.realviewtechnologies.com/default.aspx?iid=24943&startpage=page0000048 which does say that it has recently been endorsed by Landcare. I don't know how much of this is researched by NSW Farmers Associotion, or if it was more of an advertising feature, although it's usually mentioned if it's an ad. From what this guy told me you'll pay around $80 for about a 20kg bag which he said will cover a fairly good expanse of land. He did say that a $30 tub (unsure of size)would be ample for my garden. Our house is on a 1200m block. Anyway, just thought I'd share the info I've come across in researching the product myself.
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Jodie2
Parkes
1st September 2010 4:33pm
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Brad says...
I've started reading Peter Bennett's Organic Gardening book after someone here (speedy?) mentioned it in the composting thread. He raves about EOKOMIT bacterial culture and its purchasable from his website.

http://peterbennettorganics.com.au/store/product_category_2.htm

It might be of interest to those on this thread and I'd be interested in any experience with this product. The (old) book suggests that this product does have peer reviewed evidence supporting it (from overseas).
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Brad2
Como, Perth
1st September 2010 6:41pm
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ABear says...
Just a quick note regarding worms in perth: One of the requirements for happy worms is stable temperatures. Worms don't like it too wet, too dry, too hot or too cold. SO if it soggy underground they'll move up (why you see them suiciding on footpaths after rain often in Melbourne)and if it is too hot they'll move underground, and if the heat persists, they will move on. If you put worms in a garden bed make sure you mulch it well, not only providing food for worms so they hang around, but cooler sub surface temperatures.
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abear
 
10th January 2011 3:18pm
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Ranny says...
BJ,

I've used Bactivate before laying turf.
Applying it to existing really bad turf.
Hibiscus plants growing in complete sand (don't recommend was just an experiment!)

In all cases it greatly beyond belief improved the plants ability to use what was around it and stimulate really good growth.

Friends have used it in their tomato and potato garden and they said that it has practically eliminated nematode and any other soil issues.

It's available in WA from a number of retail garden centres like Dawsons & Wandilla and im sure if you got in touch with the WA distributor he would give you some to try.

From what I know there is 2 types of Bactivate one with a humate and 3 bacteria and the disease one that has 5 bacteria.

Regards a very happy user!
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Ranny
Perth
24th July 2011 1:57pm
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ABear says...
Microbial activity in WA 'soils'

Hi BJ, i was super green from the eastern states and it was one huge garden wakeup to come here in one of the dryest summers on record.Nothing would grow in the vegie box and I knew it was the biology, or lack of, of the 'dirt' mix. What I've learnt- herbaceous soils will naturally have more bacteria and trees more fungi. Your soil will settle itself over time. The key is to keep it moist! all soil life needs ample water. My aim was to make it retain more moisture and in doing so to also increase and diversify the biological profile and add more available nutrient. I dug in heaps of lucerne, coir fibre ( a bit woody, good for moisture retention and to attract fungi) rock dust for minerals and worms like it, manure and a bit of lime. Then I grew a green crop of clover (for nitrogen fixing bacteria and mustard greens, dug in after 2 foot high, (Clover attracts nitrogen fixing bacteria also puts the nitrogen back int soil when dug back in, and mustard greens treated this way have excellent anti nematode activity. I made weed teas, added manure, seaweed, and worm juice. I kept everything well aerated along the way to encourage bacterial activity. The green weed/ worm juice tea will be a hotbed of microbial activity, and also full of nutrients. I fed it in green manure stage to kick start the soil, and then also to the first food crops because the soil was still establishing. the Plants thrive on it. I put down a good layer of mulch to encourage worms to stay, it keeps the ground cooler and provides food for them. Watering was done with leaky hose ( i think they call it weeping hose) under the mulch. two years and every crop I can see improving. the first ones we put in- in bought "vegie mix" came up with multiple deficiencies. Now all are booming. Oh yes, also in desperation, I bought some potters clay and mixed it up into a sunny mix then in my weed tea. Clay has a very high CEC and is a natural part of a good soil ( don't use the bauxite red clay soils from darling scarpe) . Anyway much of the above was free- and built a foundation of both good physical as well as chemical structure. It cost less than $100- about $15 coir, $6 rock dust, $12 lucerne, $10 manure, $15 lime, free seaweed and weeds, and also $20 on lucerne and mustard seeds (many many of!). Good luck
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abear
 
26th July 2011 4:07pm
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Original Post was last edited: 26th July 2011 5:45pm
ringelstrumpf says...
My five cents: bactivate and a fungal product are two really different kinds of things. Stammets the fungal guru did some trials and interplanted fungi with veggies and had a great result, but you would probably need a PhD degree to follow his directions.
If you produce heaps of compost and take the whole compost of your suburb, then you would improve your soil but only to the extend what's in there. Australian soil have mineral deficiencies and these need to be added (not that I did that so far but I should). The minerals your veggies need, you need as well.
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ringelstrumpf
Mountains
26th July 2011 5:44pm
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ABear says...
hi ringelstrump
Absolutely. A soil mineral deficiency will only perpetuate itself in the same garden recycled back onto itself. I hope to diversify what goes into the garden for this reason, eg if you ate lentils from a part of the world that hag Mg in the soils and then self manure your Australian Mg def soils, things might look up slightly. I do add trace minerals to mine. It takes different parts of the world, under diff climate conditions 8 months- 20 years to put down 1" of topsoil. hopefully we get some of that volcanic ash settling on our gardens!
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abear
 
26th July 2011 6:09pm
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Steven says...
Hi Everyone.

In my opinion there is no real need to use products such as this. Its the equivalent to taking pro-biotic tables rather than yoghurt.

If you want to improve the biodiversity in you soil personally i believe the best and most effective way is to just use good compose youve made throughout the year. It contains all the bacteria/fungi you need, its cheap, re-uses household waste and adds nutrients and minerals to the soil.
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Steven
Eastern Melbourne
26th July 2011 6:52pm
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ringelstrumpf says...
I never saw thes minerals to buy. I think I should put some into the soil.
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ringelstrumpf
Mountains
26th July 2011 10:56pm
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BiologicalAgronomist says...
Hey Guys, I have read forum with interest and appreciate the difficulties of scale, sourcing base material for smale scale (home garden) and enough for many thousands of acres. Doing this to a budget..... Now the essentials for getting worm activity is a regular food souce (not feast nor famine) and maintenance of adequate moisture, not too much because not much good or living in your soil will tolerate water logged soils. Good food sources include cow, sheep or pig manure, aged horse manure, shredded paper, Lucerne, Oaten, Pea, meadow hays or straw, kelps and seaweeds, fish hydrolysate.
Worms could be introduced then expect maybe 4-6months for 1 life cycle. Worms will come to a happy and suitable environment but may take a few years for numbers to build up.
With patience and a little thought and effort, you can achieve much of the above for free. If your patience is short, the above may cost you a few dollars.
Good Luck
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BiologicalAgronomist
Horsham
1st January 2012 1:19pm
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snottiegobble says...
I have not found anything to beat pure unadulterated horse manure. It seems to cool real quick & when you keep a heap covered in the garden the worms come to it by themselves in a short space of time! It has to be pure, no antibiotics so racing stables are out.
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snottiegobble
Bunbury/Busso (smackin the middle)
1st January 2012 8:53pm
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Mike says...
Healthy soils ideal for plants should have good structure and particle composition,high carbon/organic matter and a diverse assemblage of biota.The colloids,humus generally and living fauna/flora help deliver and retain the nutrients for plants.If P,K,Mg,s,Ca and many micronutrients are missing as they often are in our weathered old soils the soil fungi/flora/fauna can't whip it from thin air.If organic matter is put on or in the soil the soil biota inevitably 'shows up'.I reckon the more and varied orgainic matter added the better.Fertilisers,especially the inorganic and even rock dust provide very short term nutrients/minerals.
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Cairns
1st January 2012 11:37pm
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Anthony says...
Hi I am a biological / sustainable advisor, one of our distributor cliants uses Bactivate and has had amaizing results with it ....cuting to the chase, it works.
Pictures - Click to enlarge

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Anthony8
Astralia
8th December 2012 8:27pm
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John Mc says...
I sea speling izn't a pre-rekwisit to beaing a bioplogical/sustainable advisor.
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JohnMc1
 
9th December 2012 6:59am
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MaryT says...
It's called creative advertising, John Mc. :) This is my logo LOL
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MaryT
Sydney
9th December 2012 7:09am
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Linton says...
Looking for Geohumus!

Geohumus is supposed to make the plants grow like crazy and produce higher yields but I can't find any place selling it in Australia. I don't think it's permitted for import somehow.

http://www.sunlightsupply.com/p-11889-geohumus-additive-for-h2o-retention-release.aspx


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Linton
Springvale, Vic
10th December 2012 8:31pm
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Charlton says...
Geohumus, if you found out exactly what is in it, you could find something similar here. Research the company that makes it, the MSDS should list whats in it, probably in more detail than the label.
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Charlton
egypt
15th December 2012 8:47am
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MikeT says...
I work with the product every day. You will hear much more about it in the coming months. Amazing products from Bactigro Australia. Mike
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MikeT
Melbourne
10th May 2013 1:23pm
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gardenererer says...
Agree with Steven in Melbourne . There are armies of white coated 'scientists' who are merely salesmen flogging factor X ---sourced from the jungles of Borneo and yours for $49.99 a kilo. When faced with a claim I ask for a reference and it ought not be from the Department of Agriculture and Podiatry , Balikpapan, Sumatra.
Try composting garden waste and grass clippings from contractors . It's free and it is amazing the numbers of worms that come from nowhere and lodge in the compost.
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gardenererer
mt viv
10th May 2013 1:38pm
#UserID: 7920
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Jason says...
I don't know if you guys do the same but I always throw some of the dirt mould and bacteria from around my healthy established trees under the much of something of the same species. Like if I'm planting a young avocado, I'll start the culture under the mulch from one of my mature healthy avocado trees. Seems to work quite well. For a young Macadamia I'll use leaves and dirt from under a healthy Macadamia etc. I can usual fix a "stalled" young tree by doing that
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Jason
Portland
10th May 2013 2:22pm
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Original Post was last edited: 10th May 2013 2:22pm

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