How to use Grolite® for Home Growing
If the Covid-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it is that self-sustainability has become more important than ever, and growing your own crops is no exception. Investing in your soil from the start is therefore critical.
Often soils found around the home are not ideal for growing vegetables. This is a result of the soils either containing too much clay or sand. Soils with a high clay content tend to hold too much water and do not allow adequate water drainage. Sandy soils, on the other hand, drain the water and nutrients away too fast.
When Grolite® horticultural perlite is mixed into soil, it addresses both of these problems. Its granular geometry not only provides an ideal environment for fibrous root development, it also loosens and aerates the soil.
Excess water in the root zone often results in root rot, which is prevented when using Grolite®. Due to the microporous surface structure, not all water is drained away. Instead, each particle acts like a small sponge that holds an optimum quantity of water and nutrients in the root zone. This promotes plant growth immediately once the product is mixed into the soil. Plants therefore start to flourish straightaway.
Grolite® requires no maintenance once mixed into the soil. It is a completely inert, naturally-occurring material that will not rot. Being completely natural, it is also environmentally-friendly. It works all year round. Often areas have either summer or winter rainfall. In times when there is little rainfall, plants often die off due to a lack of water. In seasons when there is heavy rainfall, plants can die due to insufficient aeration and flooding. Grolite® maintains ideal conditions in the root zone during both these conditions.
It is also thermally insulating. This means that during extremely cold conditions, the material keeps the root zone warm. Plants grown in this material are therefore less susceptible to cold conditions. The temperature that must be maintained in a hot house or vegetable tunnel is dependent on the crop one wishes to grow, and Grolite® can withstand this wide temperature range. In fact, this natural material is processed and sterilised at temperatures in excess of 950°C and is therefore completely sterile.
Grolite® should preferably be
thoroughly mixed into the soil. In hard soils or
large established lawns where mixing is
difficult or impractical, best results are
achieved by either spiking the soil using a
garden fork or spiked roller. Once holes have
been formed, a layer of the material can be
placed on the surface and thereafter raked into
Generally, using a 50:50 volume mix produces best results. What this means is that, when preparing your soil, 50% of the medium must be soil/compost and the other 50% must be Grolite®. This is easily achieved by mixing one bucket of the material with one bucket of compost.
Grolite® is available in different particle size grades. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the particle, the more water it retains. Sandy soils with fast water drainage should therefore be mixed with a medium-grade material. Loamy clay-rich soils that retain water should, on the other hand, be mixed with a coarse-grade material. Generally, most growers achieve optimum results when mixing Grolite® Type 1 Coarse into the soil. This material has a particle size fraction of 1 mm to 3 mm.
Here are a few tips for home vegetable gardeners who aspire to grow their own vegetable gardens:
• Spend time doing lots of research on your specific crop before setting up your garden. I got caught out by not doing enough research on strawberry growing. Strawberries suffer from rot if their leaves and fruit are kept too moist. I made the mistake of installing an overhead sprayer watering system. After doing more research, I have now changed this system to an in-ground dripper that prevents the leaves and fruit from getting wet.
• Invest in your soil from the start. Remember that the condition of your soil is one of the most important parts of your vegetable garden. Invest in your soil from the set-up stage because, once your vegetables have been planted, it takes a lot more effort to recondition.
• Choose the vegetables you wish to grow wisely. Certain vegetables do not thrive when grown together with other vegetables.
There are many compatibility charts available on the Internet that one may reference.
Grolite® is ideal for:
• Growing hemp
• Premixed bagged composts
• Flower and tree propagation
• High-end lawns found at wedding venues, golf courses and polo fields
• Roof-top gardens (the product is lightweight, which reduces the structural load on existing buildings)