Category Archive: Fertilisers

Gardenworld now sells Zoo Gro.

By James Wall.

After a recent trip to the Melbourne Zoo, I was fortunate enough to see the  ”Hotrot” composting system that has has been installed there. It is an enclosed system that emits very little smell. It composts in about ten days. First the waste material is shredded, and then put into this enclosed composting tunnel that has a massive auger like shaft with tines attached pushes the compost from one end to the other. The shaft moves about five minutes every hour.

massive shaft

Hot air is added, and excess waters, odour and heat are released as vapour, and discharged through an exhaust, into a bio-filter. This means no leachates or run-off are produced, ensuring higher nurient value of the end product.  After the process is complete, yes, out comes some lovely garden compost and any potential weed seeds eradicated. 

Exhaust vapour is run through this box of mulch to minimise smell.

This process has really helped the zoo process its waste and lessen the smell which can cause local issues in other open composting processes. The staff at the zoo also seemed to be proud to be part of the process. The manures composted are only from herbivores (non-meat eaters) and unfortunately doesn’t include elephant poo as it contains a high sand content, due to the way an elephant eats. This coarse sand would cause damage to the components of the composter so it is composted in the traditional way and fortunately doesn’t smell too bad. Straw, herbivore’s poo,  food scraps and prunings from the zoo are included. Up to 2.4 tonnes a day.

A big pile of elephant poo !

At this point, the compost is sent to our potting mix and compost supplier Grow Better. They then bag it under the name Zoo Gro and sell it to local nurseries like ourselves. It is completely organic and is an ideal, nutritious compost for all garden beds. Best of all, a royalty from every bag sold goes back to the Melbourne Zoo.

We also sell a wonderful compost from Grow Better called Black Gold. It has been loved by our customers for many years. After seeing the process at the
Melbourne Zoo and talking to some of our fellow local nurseries around Melbourne, we are proud to also be able to offer Zoo Gro. On sale now in 30 litre bags.

 

New release Black Marvel rose food.

waterways friendlyThere is now a new option for rose fertiliser in Victoria. Richgro in conjunction with Gardenworld have just made available Black Marvel Premium Rose Food.

This product has been available for a number of years in Western Australia. It is renowned for having a low phosphorus content, making it safer for waterways. High levels of water soluble phosphorus can contribute to algal blooms in our waterways, rivers and water reservoirs. This product was designed with consideration for this environmental issue.

This fertiliser is specially formulated for roses. It is carefully balanced and contains all the essential nutrients plus trace elements required for the optimum growth and health. It is very high in iron which will promote deep green leaves, strong roots and healthy plant growth. It is also very high in potash which ensures lots of colourful, healthy blooms. There is also a good balance of trace elements for rose growth and general health.

All round it seems like a professionally formulated mix with a good balance between nitrogen and potassium. You will need an air tight container to put it in as it 

Black Marvel 2.5 kg pack

2.5 kg and 5kg bags available

comes in a non-sealable bag and there is no measuring spoon so will have to weigh the first 30 grams just to calculate how much to give each rose. Judging buy this formulation though, it will be worth it, as a measured dose should minimise your chance of any surplus fertiliser being washed away. Sometimes this can be more beneficial for the environment than organic fertiliser that can sometimes be more easily be over used, causing more pollution after heavy rainfall than a measured dose of a professionally formulated recommended doseage. Of course soil types and other variables can also affect how much of the fertiliser a plant will use up.

The product is also well priced when you consider how small a dosage you need for each rose. It compares favourably with other rose foods on the market.

analysis

Richgro recommends to apply after pruning and once a month until the start of Winter. We believe you should also look at your leaf colour to determine if the plant needs a feed. It is easy to see a rich , lush green well fed rose compared to a harder looking, veiny or yellowy rose leaf.

The proof is in the pudding and I guess we will soon have plenty of feedback on just how good the Black Marvel Premium Rose Food proves to be for Victorian rose growers.

Application: 

Established Roses: apply 30 grams per plant.

New Roses including bare root roses: apply 10 grams per plant.

Miniature roses and roses in pots:  use half quoted rates.

Also available online for Melbourne delivery – click here.

Black Marvel Premium Rose Food

Hydroponics Made Easy – the Autopot System.

New Book Release: Hydroponics Made Easy, by Jim Fah.

By James Wall.

Jim Fah is a legend here at Gardenworld. He is the inventor of a very special system called Autopot. This system has a smart valve that ensures singular plants in their individual containers dictate when they get their supply of water according to their needs.

Jim has spent well over 20 years developing and improving his system. The system is being used commercially around the world, including Malaysia where they grow these bright yellow melons (Kuning Jati) in no growing media at all. Each crop takes 65 days and they are producing 2.5 tonnes of fruit a week.


Another project included a wall of plants along the Flemington Racecourse horse track. At one stage more than 1000 Purple Craze petunias were being watered from one pump. My experiences with planting our spreading petunias around here at Gardenworld has been a maintenance free system that ensures months of spectacular blooms. It is something we are famous for over summer, and because the flowers don’t get wet by this system, they last for many months longer than an overhead watering system.

Jim has also had to contend with copy cats, including a trusted former distributor who has even copied the Autopot name. Sure there are patents and potential legal avenues, but this can come at a great cost. Jim is focussing on developing the technology further, so the copy cats will never be up with the latest design.

It is with pleasure that I have just received a copy of Jim’s latest book. It is called Hydroponics Made Easy. It is actually the 3rd edition of his original book, but the 2nd edition came out over ten years ago, and a lot a developments have been made since then. As well as providing plenty of information about the Autopot System, you will also learn a lot about Hydroponics in general. There is also an interesting chapter on starting plants from seeds and cuttings.

The colourful book is 111 pages and is on sale for just $15 at both the nursery and the Hydroponics shop here at Gardenworld. It is also available online from gardenshop.com.au with a $6.95 freight charge Australia wide.

What I like about this book is that you get an honest appraisal from the author of his own system as well as a wealth of information of tried and true fertiliser requirements of various crops. Following the instructions of this book, both backyard growers and commercial producers should have bumper crops of quality fruit and vegetables.

 

My family is making a worm farm – 1000 new pets !

There is something about making a worm farm. First thoughts are that it will be complicated and messy. Think about though, your pet dog makes more mess and you don’t have to take your worms for a walk.

The thing I enjoy about it is that my kids are enjoying the worm farm and are immensely proud to show it to their friends. It has created a safe, computer game free activity that father and children can participate in and enjoy together. The worm farm is $75 and the worms are $50. So for $125 which is a little more than the lastest video game for your gaming console, you will get the kids out of the house, and into the backyard.

Here’s how we did it:

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