I live on the Coast in BC, Canada. Although we have a very temperate
climate and relatively long growing season, the soil out here is mainly sand
with a small amount of "forest floor" material - decayed ferns and cedar and
other conifer material.
I have recently been trying out some agricultural fertilizers with amazing
The primary thing that seems to be missing from a sandy/gravelly mix is
"humates" or decomposed organic material. (Hey I am a novice - learning this
stuff as I go - so correct me if I get stuff wrong!)
I brought in a ton (20 x 100 pound sacks!) of compost from the local garden
center to augment soil in the spring, but we have quite a large garden so
even that much compost was just barely enough to work a gallon or less in
around each of the plants. Plus, the compost from the garden center,
although very cheap, is nowhere near as "active" as my own compost so it had
only a modest impact.
Then I found out about Humic Acid.
Humic Acid is a liquid solution the main ingredient of which is basically
prehistoric compost. Because it is so extremely decomposed, it is
accessible on a micro level for direct assimilation by the plants. That's
what they say, anyway.
However, because it is essentially "humates" it sticks around in the soil -
unlike chemical fertilizers - and appears to actually be building up my
sandy soil! The main difference I notice - other than the incredible
condition of my plants - is that the water does not just run through the
soil as it does with sand. Now that I have been using Humic Acid for a few
months, the soil around the watered plants stays wet for much longer as the
humates in the soil help retain the water.
Apparently Humic Acid is used in hydroponics to help make micronutrients
more accessible to plants in the nutrient solution they use, but I don't
really know much about that - not into hydroponics myself and am really only
a novice gardener.
I only really got into all of this because the place we moved into in
January has a big garden and I very quickly tried to figure out how to hang
onto as much of it as we can since the soil is so sandy and in the rainy
season the erosion is extreme.
Here is a link to the place where I have got my Humic Acid - they were
recommended because their Humic Acid is a 15% concentrate which is
apparently the strongest one you can get.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful for anyone else who is struggling with sandy
soil and dead soil and severe erosion.
Has anyone else had experience with Humic Acid? Or are there other soil
builders like this that work well?
The Humic Acid seems expensive (I think my gallon jug was about $80.
Canadian - about $60 US), but I only use about 20 mls per 12 gallons of
water so it goes really far. I have only used about 2 quarts in about 3
months on a fairly elaborate garden that spans well over 2000 square feet -
a lot of it rock garden.
Any feedback on this stuff? Anybody tried any other stuff from these guys?