Planting & Fertilising
A: Rocks are a conglomerate of minerals, which are naturally occurring inorganic solids. These minerals are not water soluble.
Microbes are the microscopic living organisms existing in the soil, made up primarily of bacteria and fungi.
The mineral elements are solubilised and made plant available by soil microbes.
A: We’re not adding, we are replacing. For example, one bag of Garden Mate works as a clay breaker and soil conditioner, pH stabiliser, wetting agent, and contains all essential trace elements.
You can effectively replace gypsum, lime and dolomite, wetting agents and water-soluble trace elements. That’s five products in one.
A: Most products advertised as Rock Mineral Fertiliser have Urea added which, in high doses, can create a toxic zone in the soil for microbes. They also incorporate nitrates and sulphates which are actually detrimental to long-term soil health. Other products can contain blood & bone or manures which may carry pathogens.
Earthlife products do not contain urea, manures or blood & bone . Our base products are contaminant free.
Earthlife products utilise unique technology allowing maximum microbe stability and availability to help improve soils and deliver available nutrients quicker and more efficiently compared to other rock mineral products.
A: Gypsum does not technically break clay and it does not work on non-dispersive soils. It is used to help remediate dispersive salt laden soils by the action of the calcium in the gypsum displacing the sodium in the soil, which is impacting the soil structure. Plus soils that are high in gypsum content are considered to be the most restrictive to plant life due to it’s negative action on beneficial soil fungi.
If you are continually digging gypsum in to soils that aren’t affected by sodium then you are doing more clay breaking than the gypsum is.
Garden Mate will help remediate all soils and effectively break up any compacted soils when applied according to directions. Our products will do more for soil improvement in 12 months than 5 years worth of gypsum.
A: Only Break Down needs to be mixed with water.
Most garden products, like gypsum, lime, chemical fertilisers etc, need to be solubilised to work, and with many being salt based actually make watering less effective. Our rock mineral products only need some moisture to activate the biology that is included with the products. This biology then goes to work restoring the natural cycles in your soil, and can help to drought-proof your gardens, minimising your water usage too.
A: The combination of the attractive properties of some minerals, plus the action of the microbes releasing organic acids and enzymes breaking down decaying organic matter, coupled with soil fungi shedding organic glomalin, all work together to adhere and “bind” soil particles together to form aggregates.
We recommend Garden Delight for sand as it has the highest concentration of microbes and organic acids.
A: The best start you can do for any plant is to mix Garden Mate premium soil conditioner and clay breaker into the bottom of the hole when planting. This will break up the subsoil compaction allowing the roots to grow deep into the soil rather than just stay at the surface.
Then a couple more handfuls around the surface of the soil once planted, to ensure good water penetration.
A couple of good soaks and the plants will establish quicker and then be less reliant on us to care for them
A: Garden Mate is ideal for putting in the hole when planting bare-root roses or trees. It will not burn like manures and chemical fertilisers can. It will ensure ideal drainage but just as importantly will also stimulate fresh strong roots to grow rapidly, helping establish the plant in your garden before the hot weather comes in Summer.
A: While Garden Mate, Garden Delight and Veggie Mate can be used as stand-alone products, sometimes things need a little boost. That is where a little chemical fertiliser can be of use, as a supplement. Lawn Blend, Fruit Blend and Flower Blend all contain some N.P.K. fertiliser to help stimulate some processes in the plants growth.
A: High applications of nitrogen have two issues.
1. It will give a quick green but also weakens the grass leaving it drought tender, prone to both hot and cold extremes, as well as a tasty treat for lawn army worms.
2. The grass will only take up about 20-30% of the fertiliser, with most of the the product, and your money, washing away out to sea.
While Lawn Blend may only have 4% nitrogen it also contains microbes that can source nitrogen from the atmosphere and organic matter. A healthier grass will process the available nitrogen more efficiently.
A: If you haven’t applied Earthlife products before it is best to pull back the mulch for the first application, as this will break up any hydrophobic crusting under the mulch. If the garden area is too big then just make sure it is watered in well. Repeat applications can then just be thrown over and watered in.
A: We do not. Through the application of broad-spectrum minerals and subsequent microbial associations the plants you grow can start to develop the necessary processes required to defend themselves from insect and fungal attack.
A: Excess nitrogen, from improperly composted manures and high nitrogen fertilisers, are the main reason. Cells are stretched and weakened releasing the simple sugars meant for photosynthesis, which are readily consumed by insects.
Our products contain plant-available Calcium and Silica, combined with low nitrogen, which helps cell walls strengthen and mature, allowing the plant to use the simple sugars more efficiently for photosynthesis and the subsequent production of complex sugars and proteins that insects are unable to digest.
A: Lawn Pests are attracted to free nitrates and simple sugars. Applications of high nitrogen are ideal for attracting these insects. As the grass only takes around 20% of the nitrogen added, the other 80%, along with weakened and stretched cell walls, are supplying the insects with a smorgasbord of food and energy to grow.
Lawn Blend is low in nitrogen but high in Calcium and Silica which enhances the cell structure and locks up the simple sugars, depriving the insects of an easy meal.