Thursday, December 12, 2013

My water crystals experiment - amazing

Ok, so a couple of weeks ago or so I was updating my experiment with two beds, on of which has water saving crystals added and one which hasn't. At the time there was a little difference between them but not enough to really comment on.

Over the last two weeks the difference in them has been amazing. They have been treated the same, had the same amount of water and the soil is the same. The only difference in the maintenance has been removing two volunteer tomatoes from the bed without the crystals.
The beds contain a mixture of amaranth and silverbeet. The amaranth was picked two weeks ago for the local market (cut off a few inches from the ground and allowed to regrow).

 This is the bed with the water crystals added at 500g of crystals to the 4 x 1m bed.
The growth has been phenomenal over the past two weeks and I will be picking the amaranth again tomorrow for the Saturday market, and because it is threatening to overgrow the silverbeet.

The bed without the water saving crystals is doing barely ok in the sand. There is still some moisture in the soil but obviously not enough to keep them growing as they should. The amaranth is not as green as the other bed.
You can see the two patches left and right where I removed the potatoes.
I will pick the amaranth just to keep the beds equal but there will not be much for market from this bed.

Here are the two beds side by side. Apart from the water holding issue, I think the better bed is doing so well because I used Seasol (a seaweed tonic) on both the beds when the plants were still seedlings and I guess that the crystals absorbed some of the mixture and the plants are using it as they grow, whereas in the other bed any Seasol not used by the plants just went straight through the sand and they need fertiliser now.

These beds are just sand, I will do another test on beds with compost and manure added shortly so I can just test the water saving of the crystals without the fertiliser problem.

I went to the local backyard food growers group last night (which is why I didn't post yesterday) and although there weren't many people there because there are so many other Christmassy stuff and parties everyone has to attend this time of year, we had a good time and everyone bought goodies to eat. This group is just a heap of local people who love to grow their own food but we don't have a formal meeting, which is good, it is just a chance to get together and talk about fruit and veg. I would like to see groups like this in every town.
I won a cookbook in the raffle.

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