The idea behind this trial is to test a range of soils, some commercial blends, others made by me. The trial will take place inside a greenhouse. Each soil is made up in duplicate giving a total of 14 containers.
Soil # 1 is BioGro Premium Wicking Mix, developed with BioFilta, the manufacturers of Foodcube. It contains a starter fertiliser, controlled release fertiliser and a wetting agent.
Soil #2 is Veggie Soil from Mulch N More, a landscape supplier based just outside of Murray Bridge. It contains ~45% compost.
Soil #3 is Veggie and Garden Soil from Jeffries.
Soil #4 is a blend of my own making. It contains 4:1:1 Jeffries Veggie and Garden Soil:Coir:Compost plus the following extras;
- CulChar, a soon to be released organic fertiliser from Jeffries added at a rate of 100g/m2. CulChar is an organic certified, carbon-rich fertiliser with added BioChar.
- Seamungus, a seaweed/fish/manure blend from Neutrog and is a soil conditioner added at the rate of 100g/m2.
- Blood and Bone, added at the rate of 50g/m2.
Soil #5 is a blend of my own making. It contains 4:1:1 Jeffries Veggie and Garden Soil:Coir:Compost plus the following extras;
- Rooster Booster, a chicken manure based fertiliser from Neutrog added at the rate of 150g/m2.
- Seamungus, 100g/m2.
- Blood and Bone, 50g/m2.
Soil #6 is a blend of 1:1 sandy loam:compost, supplied by Woodside Landscape Supplies.
Soil #7 is a blend of 1:2 sandy loam:compost, supplied by Woodside Landscape Supplies.
The planters used in this trial are the WaterUps® Square Planter. Each planter holds ~36L of soil. 2L of perlite was added to the legs of the WaterUps® wicking cell in the planter. ~15L of water was added to fill up the reservoir.
Each planter has the same planting design, 7 vegies all starting off from seed.
Plant #1 – Romansesco is in the brassica family and is similar to cauliflower but with a more nutty flavour. Interestingly, when viewed from above, the florets form a logarithmic spiral known as a fractal. This will be thinned out to a single plant.
Plant #2 – Pak Choi is also in the brassica family but is grown for its leaves and crunchy stems. Used commonly in Asian cuisine, it’s fast growing. This will be thinned to a single plant.
Plant #3 – Freckled Lettuce is an attractive, loose leaf variety of lettuce with red speckles on green leaves. This will be thinned to a single plant.
Plant #4 – Coriander, will be thinned to 3cm between plants.
Plant #5 – Basil, will be thinned to 3cm between plants.
Plant #6 – Spring onion, will be thinned to 3cm between plants
Plant #7 – Radish ‘Cherry Belle’ – these will be thinned to 4cm between plants.
The planters will be watered daily from above by hand until seeds have germinated. Once plants have a set of true leaves, top watering will cease.