With so many plant care options out there, the movement towards organic products was always going to happen. The term can be loaded though, we bring to it our own associations and conclusions. Understanding how it is used in plant care will hopefully help with the decisions you make towards the products you purchase for your plants.
What does ‘Organic’ mean?
We need to be very clear here - there is a difference between ‘Certified Organic’ and ‘Organic’.
‘Certified Organic’ is a registered trademark and has its own set of standards and requirements - most commonly applied to food.
‘Organic’ is a product made from organic ingredients. It’s not certified, but still uses natural ingredients. An ‘organic’ product can be made with up to 30% non-organic ingredients, but when we call our products Organic, we mean it.
They may not be certified, but our Bio Pellets and Soil & Microbe Booster contain zero non-organic ingredients.
What is an Organic plant care product and why is it important
So here is the thing: When it comes to plants - they do not care if they receive care from organic or non-organic products.Organic plant care products are important if that is something that is important to you and your lifestyle.
Many organic products will offer something unique that is not always available in a synthetic form. The chitin in our frass (found in both our Bio Pellets and Soil & Microbe Booster) for example is something unique to the cell walls of fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods like crustaceans and insects, and the radulae, cephalopod beaks and gladii of molluscs.
The chitin in our Soil and Microbe Booster comes from the exoskeletons of the black soldier fly larvae that are shed during the production process. Chitin can help defend plants from pathogens and promotes the populations of microorganisms that consume pathogenic microbes, like those that cause root rot. Chitin has also been linked to the higher capture of atmospheric nitrogen and improved plant performance. Furthermore, studies have found that exposure to chitin in plants increases the expression of genes involved in the resistance of phytopathogens.
Organic products are also usually brimming with life - microbes and fungi - that help speed up the decomposition process and increase the efficiency in which plants absorb nutrients.
Instead of thinking of one option as ‘better’ than the other, we recommend understanding what each product does and thinking about what you want to get out of it.
Our Soil & Microbe Booster was designed with potting mixes in mind. A combination of Frass and Biochar, the intention is to breath new life into your potting mixes by adding millions of good microbes and fungi cells into the mix, helping improve the soil structure and assisting nutrient transition to the plant by breaking down organic matter. These microbes can form symbiotic relationships with your plants, feeding the plant by converting and storing nutrients for the plant to access. Plants will actually divert energy to their root zones to feed the microbes and help extend the longevity of this relationship.
The biochar goes further providing ideal conditions for microbial life, as well as helping to filter toxicities from the soil and increase water retention.
And this is by no means limited to your indoor plants. Adding to your garden beds or turning through the soil before planting will increase microbial content in your garden beds and create a rich humus full of life. Organic matter like dead foliage will be broken down faster, and plants will have more efficient access to nutrients.
This rapid breakdown of organic matter can also be applied to your composts, meaning your household waste is garden-ready, faster.
When to Use The Plant Runner Soil & Microbe Booster:
When repotting - add at a ration of up to 1:10, so for every 10 parts of potting mix stir through 1 part Soil & Microbe Booster.
When bringing home new plants from the nursery - if you don't have the time to repot when you first bring a new plant home, or you just don't have a good indoor mix on hand, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of Soil & Microbe Booster around the root ball. This will help set your plant up while you get ready for a repotting session down the line.
Adding to composts - I add a teaspoon into my compost bucket once its about halfway full. How much to add will depend on your compost size though - 1 part Soil & Microbe Booster to 10 parts compost is ideal
Where our Soil & Microbe Booster is all about soil health, our Bio Pellets are for Plant Health. Years in the making, we've taken the same nutrient rich Frass found in the Soil & Microbe Booster and combined it with three types of kelp, each one know for its beneficial effects on plants. The result is a small pellet that will break down over time and slowly fertilise your plants.
Like the Soil & Microbe Booster, the Frass provides millions of microbes as well as being a complete feed - meaning it contains both macro and micro nutrients required for optimal plant growth and vitality.Alongside the Frass we've added kelp. We've discussed kelp and its benefits in agriculture in a previous blog post. The three, Australian Certified Organic (ACO) kelps we have selected for this product are:
Laminaria - assisting with plant recovery.
Sargassum -high in Alginic Acid, boosting water retention.
Ascophyllum nodosum - chock-full of cyctokinins (hormones that promote cell division, or cytokinesis, in plant roots and shoots). It also features the highest mineral content of any kelp.
Bio Pellets are a great alternative for anyone who prefers to use organic products. While there is no difference between organic and mineral-based fertilisers for the plant (neither labs nor plants can tell the difference between nutrient ions), its up to you to choose what works best for you and your lifestyle. We've covered a few differences between fertilisers here.
Both these products can be used as standalones or in conjunction with any other Plant Runner product. As with all (both organic and inorganic) fertilisers, if used incorrectly or in excess they can damage your plant so when ever using a new product pay close attention to your plant in the first few weeks to see how its responding. If you're unsure, hit us up!