For a long time gardening experts have extolled the virtues of adding microbes to soil, as they were portrayed as the solution to all soil problems.
Microbes are best described as microscopic organisms, usually bacteria or fungi, and microbiologists have been studying the good, the bad and the ugly to identify them and then to work out what it is they do. This field is rapidly advancing, with the results likely to benefit home gardeners significantly.
The trouble is, there are a lot of microbes living in soil, some good and some bad.
When soil is sprayed with toxic chemicals such as pesticides, these living organisms are killed off and this also occurs when temperatures are extreme and soil is not sufficiently mulched or does have enough organic matter holding moisture.
Professional growers now know there are a number of microbe families they want more of than others in their potting soil in order to improve health, control diseases and fungal infections.
It's now possible to boost your soil's health by intentionally supplying it with good microbes, and this revolutionary approach to feeding plants has enormous potential benefits for the garden and broader WA environment.
There are several species of microbes that have been identified as having beneficial effects on soils. For instance there are at least 30 considered vital to a healthy soil, yet more often than not our garden soils are deficient.
These are the microbes you want more of in your garden and, thanks to a new West Australian invention, you can now add them via a controlled release fertiliser.
The development of Troforte M (the "M" stands for microbes) has heralded a new era in garden soil care through the introduction of what the commercial industry have long called biofertilisers.
The creators of Troforte M, Wangara-based Langley Fertilizers are a small family business with a history of supplying customised fertilisers to the commercial market. In recent years they have taken the technology to a new level by focusing on soil health and it's taken 15 years to perfect the technology behind Troforte M.
This controlled-release plant food is microbe encrusted using a proprietary organic coating that allows the microbes to live for more than a year in a suspended state in storage before becoming active when they come in contact with moisture. By applying it you effectively feed the microbes, which feed the soil, which in turn feeds your plants. The nutritional complexity of the 62-plus minerals in the product ensures all nutrients are ultimately available to you when you consume produce. That makes it much less likely you will need vitamin tablets to supplement dietary shortfalls.
Troforte M is the only Australian-made controlled-release fertiliser and it has more than 60 essential trace elements and minerals that are delivered gradually to the soil over a six-month period.
This approach to feeding plants has enormous potential benefits for the garden.
Troforte M costs $30 for a 3.5kg container. 40-60g will provide 1sqm of coverage so a 3.5kg container should cover 60sqm. It's not commonly available yet, so the best way to find your nearest retailer is to contact the company on 9302 1633 or visit saveyoursoils.com.au.