Test Case – Sassenheim Flowers

Pilot Project 1

Start Date: 25 February 2009
Client: Sassenheim Estates
General Location: Western Cape
Crops: Cut Flowers such as lilies, Chrysanthemums, Sunflowers and various other flowers
General Description: 2.5 hectare, Tunnels with overhead sprinklers (180 microns). Fertilizers are dissolved before injected into the irrigation system.

Description of conditions at the start:

  • Fertilizers – Approximately 5 x 15kg bags/week consisting basically, only out of chemical fertilizers.
  • Water – Have been tested for Ph and salt levels, and are balanced.
  • Soil – Compacted soil, no sign of fungi, low water retention, large areas of moss.
  • Plants – Uneven growth, underdeveloped growth, frequent color variation, low resilience against pest outbreaks and climatic changes with a slow response time of fertilizer applications.
  • Pest Control – Used white markers to identify all areas where a plague has spread to before using chemical pesticides on a weekly basis. Pest such as red spider, aphids, leaf miners, Botrytis, root rot. Manual and irrigation applications were used.
  • Composting – Pine sawdust in a big row approximately 30m x 8m x2m (w x b x h). Effluent, and chemical nitrogen added. Basic time before use were 3 months.
  • Product outcome – 7 Stem needed to make up sales weight, significant loss due to uneven growth and pest damage.

Notes – a Little Em and Comfrey are used to balance water optimally. Also, a little natural pest control products used. High maintenance required for crops.

This comparison is 6 weeks after 1st application: (01/04/2009)

  • Fertilizers –
  • Water – With the semi-dry spell, the sea has been pushing salt water into the underground reservoir.
  • Soil –
  • Plants
  • Pest Control
This bay was treated with the “old” methods:
Test Case - Sassenheim Flowers 1

The Soil is Literately Dying

Roots could not penetrate the soil efficiently, resulting in weak stem development, weighing less. Uneven growth was also a common problem.

This bay was treated with the “new” methods:
Seeing is Believing

A Strong Habitat for Ground Micro organisms

Relaxed root that could maintain growth that resulted in the optimal development of the plant.

Our plants have become stronger

Our Soil Feed Our Plants

Signs of a healthy soil biology appeared and more constant growth was achieved.

Adjustments made:
  • Soil rehabilitation dosages for three months,
  • 70% reduction of chemical applications,
  • Adjustments made to chemical types,
  • Additives added to used chemicals to reduce plant stress,
  • Approximately 200 liters of compost tea per week. (Estimated area of 3/4 hectares)
Other observations
1. With applications of Compost Tea on areas with moss, which is a sign of anaerobic conditions, the moss were being eradicated naturally. Indicating an improvement in the soil’s aeration.
Test Case - Sassenheim Flowers 2Moss being digested

2. By understanding the role of weeds, allows you to act progressively limiting the usage of herbicides and improve the soils fertility. This broad leaf plant are being eaten/digested naturally. This happens when the micro organisms that live with this plant changes to a more mature set of organisms, which don’t support this plant anymore but a more mature plant. This weed can be classified as a “Pioneer plant” where the goal of Biological Farming is to restore and maintain mature and healthy soils.

Test Case - Sassenheim Flowers 3

Pioneer Plants

3. An attribute that comes with compost tea is the appearance of various types of fungi’s. They are the first micro organisms that can be seen with the naked eye. They are an indicator that the food chain below them are intact. Which will lead to the appearance of earthworms. Fungicides unfortunately kills indiscriminately, even the good guys. A healthy balance can be restored with Compost Tea and EM.

Fungi growing

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