Ep.24 Soil Solver For Sand - Gavin Davis

You're on the plants grow here podcast. I'm Daniel Fuller. Come along with me as we enter a hidden world of deep horticultural, ecological and landscape gardening knowledge with featured experts, industry professionals and enthusiasts.
Soil solver is a product that helps turn sand into usable soil. My business partner, Ben Sims, who's a landscaping business owner, as well as a board member for the landscape Industry Association of Western Australia swears by it. Today, we're lucky enough to have on the show, the business owner and creator Gavin Davis. Gavin, welcome to the show. Thank you, Dan. It's great to be here. So can you tell us a little bit about this fabulous product? Yes. Come about slowly, over the last 15 years actually, was actually spreading clamor hammer tech startup. founders have been doing it around the world for actually centuries, believe it or not, not certainly many people are aware of, but it was happening back in England before the Industrial Revolution. And what exactly you're talking about when you say that this has been going on for a long time? Well, we've got sandy soils, and we're in the best rollers alone, which is clay, kaolin clay, Karen silt or coarser particles. And then you've got the larger center of particles often containing the minerals, and a blend of all them gives the best soil texture and those mineral components must contain all the minerals that's needed in the soil. The problem we've got much of Australia particularly Perth is basically it's just been sand, the very low mineral content, very poor mineral balance, and trying to guide and it's been extremely difficult and in my opinion, the advice given has been detrimental to long term healthy gardens unless you're into something very, very high important and then you can just just survive, but I think fighter just changes to what nature to have done in the first place and it just revolutionizes how you can garden. So when you say the advice that people generally give out is the wrong advice. What advice are you talking about? Basically, it was if you put a lot of organic matter into the soil, you will improve it Yes you do. And short term the long term problem is organic matter that will create an alkaline hydrophobic sand and that is almost impossible to go in. And again, how that occurs is organic. Some of the testing I've done always high in magnesium low in calcium. So that trends the soil to be more alkaline. That hadn't happened in Perth and the organics when you put them on sand, the organics get bleached out, carbon humus gets Leach from the soil leaving behind it oily wax which coats all the sand particles with a nice glossy finish. And of course, the water just beads on top and may I'm sure we've all seen that at some stage and particularly in Perth. It's regular. So that's the end result of the advice we're giving. And of course the solution was add more fertilizer, and a wedding agent wedding agent actually is quite expensive and half the fertilizer sold for gardens in Australia sold in Perth. You can see where we've ended up and what we need to do is actually add the client in Can you just go down to the park? Maybe? I mean, I know that there may not be a clay Park if you live in a sandy environment, but you get the idea. Can you just add any Oh clay? Yeah, people do that. But the problem is the clays got the same mineral deficiencies as the sand, most clays you know how sticky hard setting? Well that's a sign of very chronic calcium deficiency. And unless that's rectified correctly, all you're doing is adding calcium deficient product and it's also mineral deficient. So Sandy salt, which is calcium deficient, it looks weird, but it doesn't grow much and because what is you miss and things and you sort of think you've done well but when you've used a product like salsa which is a clay that's very large calcium when I did that, and also light and low and some minerals when you correct that so you get the correct balance of minerals and correctly calcium magnesium ratio apply to your sales and yeah, it's made Yes, we've got some very good pitches on our web pages. Facebook sells on Facebook and the source over web page Afghans which are just spectacular with the product and yeah, it's a really great thing to see when you drive around see some of yourselves alright on the verge three or four times bigger than all the rest down the street. So can you tell me a little bit about what exactly is the type of clay because clay is not clay is not plays it? The basically the best client is kailen watch what he uses. When I saw there's been a lot of hype about much real and like clay commonly known as bentonite. That is not a client found in souls around the world, let alone in Australia and it has no characteristics which you want.
First soil. In other words, because it seals the soil that's why we use it to seal bands. The difference between them is bentonite will stick to another bentonite particle and cause a seal, and cause the water to be solidly waterlogged, driving oxygen and negative particles, media of minerals Elba saw whereas Caitlin clay with bit slower cc sticks to sand particles or extra humans particle. And of course, it forms a pad of soil. When you have this and their mineral content in the clay, the microbes that are available in our soils that like the oily waxes can now survive, and hence they oily wax, and then disappears your hydrophobic problem. So you can manage your soil with clay and not have a hydrophobic problem and not use wetting agents in Perth, you're talking about you have some sandy soils, is there something actually inherently wrong with those sandy soils? That's not a lot, right? Well, I'm making, they're all fairly cost, very low and mineral content, some of the mineral content in the single digits of what we actually need. So like 150 parts per million is 100%, of what you're requiring the soil, some of them were down to 5%. That makes it very difficult to get healthy plants. And that's just for going all the metals, if you're going to go into kind of a big back garden part of the world, you need 65 minerals. So there's 15, the plants need to grow. But there's another 50 that we need to contaminate the plants so that we eat them, and catalog them a cobalt and selenium plants will grow quite happily without them. But selenium, we added in three weeks if we don't consume so Enya. So that's, that's an important part. And that's quite low in our soils. And that's probably leading to all of our health problems, because it's generally not applied when you have a production process. I think a lot of people focus on NPK they do. And of course, that leads to imbalances in the soil. And I've got in my house I've been here seven years now, I irrigation broke down and because the lawn died, even over winter was nothing grows there now because the soil has been destroyed by NPK. Because NPK always contains lots of sulfur and sulfur leeches on calcium out of the soil. Another thing I was the first person to bring to the attention of the industry, everybody for what organics didn't cause in trouble. But when I started saying yes, organic scrape the hydrophobic soil. Some people didn't actually believe me until Michael.
It's the first thing I learned when I went farming 50 years ago that you got a good legume crop, you can create a hydrophobic soil, and you need to manage it somehow. Yeah, it certainly surprising for me to hear that organic matter is gonna make the problem worse, because I've always heard that that's Yeah, the solution. That's what I've always been told. Yeah, it's universal. And if you've got all the minerals and everything in your soil, fine, not a problem. But there's one thing I've discovered, I will talk with my client, the soil, if it is a lot of organics with high phosphorus, because you eliminate leaching. Very quickly, the phosphate levels in your soil rise to a level which you don't ever need to buy phosphate again. And I've got my big garden already in seven years, or six years, just astronomically. So I got to be quite careful in selecting low p inputs for the veggie garden. Yeah. Okay. And what are they? What are your low p inputs, if you're going to get now child or go towards store or something that's not being composted with any manuals, any manuals, this can't use it, even some of the contracts that we actually sell as part of the business, that's a high p compost, I have got source for life a compost, which is more suitable. And I've to start using that even that will keep the levels up. It's a difficult thing to do when you start the leaching of the tea, which just goes to share the damage the phosphate leaching into our water table and hence the rivers of Earth is doing to the environment. And that's one of the things that we hear it out. But everybody thinks organic matter is going to stop it is actually exactly the major cause along with fertilizers. I mean, on the surface of it, it seems to make sense, you know, because organic matter is like a sponge. It kind of like soaks up water, but it also doesn't hold it too much to let it drain. So on the surface of it, it certainly seems to make sense that it would fix it. One of the things that people going to be aware of it was well I have Department of Ag recommends the farmers to have eight to 12% clay content when we apply it to our farm soils which I've done on my farm. In reality, we're getting away with 5%. In birth gardens, there's a basic level where they don't need to apply wetting agent and they're getting healthy. So this actual 5% clay content in the soil. Of course no clay product is 100% clay it's going to send your client minds the highest by about three to four times
on the market, and that 45 to 50% clay content, which is when I started testing our closer and replaces the next best off tested, it's about 1/3 is good. And I've got that clay on my phone as well. Okay, which ones that it's another it's white kale and clay, very white, which is very common. Yeah, it's right throughout the wheatbelt NWA on the subsoil that's known as the surface by always in the subsoil
and only 20% clay, but the product itself is 100% of the cloud chemistry. And the same as myosource overcloud. Class, it's 100% time chemistry, but only 45% of it was smaller than two micron, which is the second test for clay.
A clay test. And that's part of the important thing when you buy a product is how much time is actually riding.
Yeah, it's a bit of a nightmare that one because people just climate or plan, no one knows it's not. When you say that 5% of the soil as being SoulSilver as a good number to hit how deep in the profile are we talking? Yeah, just to add a bit to that 5% of the weight of the soil, the top 100 millimeters we work on needs to be a clay but smaller than two micron. So as the clay product is 50%, roughly in a 10 kilos a square meter is the minimum. And we're veggie gardens I say go to 20 matching the top 100 millimeters. If you want to go deeper, my recommendation would be increase the rates higher. While some people say that's expensive. The end result is quite astonishing gardens and veggie productions. But it's basically forever. number one and number two, the mineral content of salt Service Cloud class is the same as rock minerals you buy down the shot, and the cheapest on the market is $2 a killer after $6 a kilo. Yet salt varies from 80 cents a kilo up to about $1.60 depending on where you buy
quantity of vinyl. So you really treating it almost as a fertilizer as well, basically, yeah, the fertilizer. It's an amendment product, as distinct from fertilizer fertilizer mangles been altered in a factory to make the mineral soluble. My product is all natural rocks are normal. And clay. That's all it is. It's 100% natural, it's actually organically certified. We carry a certification, because it's that natural. And what sort of testing if you put this product very well, most of it is because I started not knowing as much as I do now 11 years ago, but I knew it would work. And I did. And yes, over time, I've changed a few things, you know, not so much more a couple of things a bit more, because it's just not coming through enough. But the results speak for themselves. As far as the manufacturing process, guys, yes, I test the batches that come through. And if they're not up to scratch, I have to re blend it to get the required level. So yeah, the standards that we maintain as a business, we work on being right up there as the Rolls Royce end of the market.
And we sell and I believe is a very competitive price for what people get. We've got price put line down this also. Now reading agent named Fred live in the green lawn five years later, still going great. Yeah, how cheap is that? Oh, by the way, half the water? Yes. Yeah, it's,
it's, it's a no brainer, really, when you look at it, the cost of wetting agent for instance, if you use labor rates, in about five years, you've used $8, a square meter of wetting agent. And you've still got a pretty crappy law. pretty crappy.
You've got nothing for your map. Yeah, as you can see, that basically a no brainer to use a product like mine and get that Patreon to end up getting the mineral content out. Yeah, that's what I've done from my experience from farming. Wow. That's incredible. In the past, you've always sort of focused on Western Australia, but recently you're looking at further east towards where I am and you know, Queensland and all that, can you tell me a little bit about where are you going in terms of location and where do you think could use you that are not using you right now for where the sandy soil and Australia are anyway, the sandy soul produce the product? Yes, we did a garden gurus, coupler, marketing campaigns, and then a couple months ago, three months ago, and yeah, sort of emails and everything lit up quite nicely. Travel is most of them were from either east, tickly New South Wales and everyone says, Yeah, we've got a client New South Wales. Yeah. But there's an awful lot of country in New South Wales, Sydney, for instance. And then up on the
blog posts on New South Wales going at the moment, let's just sand there. We had a lot of inquiry from South Australia, Victoria, in New South Wales, as well as Queensland. As a result, we had a new business manager at that stage had some changes within the business. And she was very proactive. So suddenly we're in South Australia, we worked out a way of overcoming the freight problem because it's a bumpy problem, basically, for transport to live and a bulky product. So we have managed to get it into those states. Price competitive was done well, and the choir is gone up now just north of the morning peninsula. So that's good for us now doing quite well on it in flowerpower. And Sydney has just opened up a week ago. on right now. Yeah, obviously found.
A little from necessity states. We're just looking for nurseries in Queensland, on the sandy areas. Well, I know we have a few in Queensland, in fact, quite a few. And I hope that there is a picking up right now if they're sort of associated with any nurseries. Well, yes, it if you've got the product, people will drive quite a distance to buy when they come to your shop just to buy one product
or one product. You know, the story began for me combined with the shop garden people seem to be like that, and I go down for one product and can I involve other plants has actually made it
entertaining five minutes industry. But yes, it's certainly bought people into shops and who are waiting to get it this is any patient get it. So they go there because we are confident that it will work. They go there and buy some and they go back and buy it. And it's made quite a difference to do some businesses in Perth as a result of that. And I'm sure it will be the same in any place in Queensland that wishes to take it on Lidl and the other fight, we've had people drive 300 kilometers in the Adelaide to Dubai, they probably combine it with other things. But while they were there, it was one of the things to do in Adelaide While they were there from trying to close away. Yeah, building stock. Well, hopefully everyone's listening. That's fantastic. And yeah, I think that's I think that's great. Like, I think it's fantastic that you've managed to overcome the fright problem. Yeah, well, we're doing all the work ourselves, which is a lot of work on my business manager
on the business, but yeah, it's it's working out. Well, it's not a lot of work around designing a pellet loader requirement. And we can manage that just happen to have a trucking company around the corner from our bag and company from around the corner from my warehouse or within a couple 100 meters. So as long as we can keep that we're keeping our costs down and able to get the product to the customer in the use case. Fantastic. What advice do you have anybody out there who's looking to make a product in this space? Well, first of all, the hard one is getting a product with a high clay content refers to stuff from overseas. That's just the time to find and or even I don't even mean a claim. I don't even mean a clay product. I mean, anything in the soil amendment space, or in even the gardening product space. Yeah, well, it's just getting the soil science right, which my particular view is different to the rest of property or different to most of the rest of the industry, whether it's in gardens or on the arm is I still got my family. Yeah, I actually do some trials and management of the land on there, because that's my interest. But yeah, what first thing is getting the client in knowing how to amend it not that one seems to like that. So that's the reasonably tightly held skill will I keep to myself as you can.
I think it's great that you have different opinions to other people. And that's actually something that we really value here on the plants grow here podcast. In fact, in our mission statement on episode one, we even say that we want people who disagree with each other on the show because we think that that actually builds a wider understanding. So I've certainly done that within the industry. I get some quite negative comments on all that kind of work. That doesn't work very well. I've turned the worst paddock on my fan to my best that was a clay paddock. And they did what doesn't work. So as a controversial just because just the width down home, we've got what they call the race only plays semi concrete, just pretty awful influence what they call weekend farming cadre to dry Friday to wet Saturday, Sunday to dry Monday. And of course, that there is a solution and that's just getting the calcium on the soil in the right room. And the client we're talking about is not even close, not even alone by soil classification. It's a sandy loam, the client said loads 10% But yeah, the problem I've got on that land now is the mineral levels are also low like 20% of what you need to have a healthy soil and that's very expensive solution that I've got on my farm to try and remedy that over the next few years starting they're all just horrendous the cost because our standards also started with this clay. I found this clay patch which is plenty of around but I thought this is better than the rest. So I've been on the pellets that was a bit further than
Travel. And of course, I didn't really get much response to my tweet, but I had to remedy the calcium levels. And as soon as I did that bigger sandwich never go in it is now growing crops. It's just there. And it's still a long way from what we could do. And that's and and while some people might say, Oh, yeah, to waste your time, energy money, well, it's got two things. It's got rainfall, and it's got sunlight, and you've got to have that spread out to grow our crop. So you pat down and do all the work somewhere else, you'd rather use all the area of the farm, available sunlight and rainfall. So we can amend the soil book when we catch if the rainfall or the sunlight to somewhere else to make better use of being soil somewhere else. It's a matter of, we've got the same but it's turning into something useful. And yes, once we do that, we'll be start doing that national scale, my personal view is it will make a big difference to their agricultural production in Australia. If we chose as a country to go down that road. What is it that people find so controversial about what you're saying? Is it mainly that you're sort of knocking organic matter? No, when it comes to farming, its intake is important when it comes to our commercial agricultural production. And farmers use it sparingly because relatively, it's very, very expensive for returns. The problem is we're not correcting that the mineral levels and our soils and slowly depleting and have to play to them, my generation made a lot of land, we just planted clover and that just grow now to the 400 millimeters high every year start with and then suddenly, you know, we're battling you grow clever in that same area, it's just so the soul chemistry is time. And people are not just saying I think Maureen vaycay or different or some other magic solution, I'm just saying it's just with gotta get the rock mineral into the soil that was deficient in the first place. Because Initially, the when we clear that there was in their fertility there for these minerals, all we need to do is add some phosphate, calcium, sulfur, and bingo, we're in fiber that we can go up and of course that did a run in about 10 to 20 years. And we need to return to that by putting on the manual so that nature can do its thing to give us our climate back. It's a expensive and difficult process to do as far as time goes because it's so expensive relative to our net income. But the end result is you will claim the back and claim as the powerhouse of any agriculture system and why on Australia in modern the world, because if we can get clever, we can reduce our inputs and reduce our other chemical inputs because they're clever, they yield in the legumes as well and I mean very different plants used to grow on those soils then what we want to go there well that's right, we want to grab the back foot plants we're tweaking eat historically, a lot of the hands going in my area that well it would have been almost impossible to survive in the area because there's no fresh water so you can learn he got there and winter time to try and access some of the nutrition but the soils are that poor and nutrition that very quickly you will have consumed what was really in the environment and had to move on that forgot to dry had to move back to the water while I was down very quickly. They weren't quite there. But yeah, what is number one? Absolutely, yeah.
Yeah, several times a day but so you can get away with every few days, but you still made a good amount of that. And it's what the whole world needs and the world wants cheap food and that's what we're providing but it's a costume environment that's
much, much better terms of trade so we can actually look after the soil better and improved and actually improve the long term yields and the quality of the food so that actually will people consuming the animals and Jimmy will actually healthier. Is there anything that we haven't covered yet? So also is it good for finally native so one of the things I've always wondered about people were applying same water organic matter on their plant natives organic matter is high in phosphate, nitrogen often and that was a recommending that then turn around and say it doesn't need phosphate and nitrogen whereas the DDS also changed amending the soil. It's not a meaning and away from what the native plant will naturally grow in because there's no phosphate nitrogen in the product. So you just overcoming the hydrophobic problem of we're creating a lot of the hydrophobic problem was there in a mild sense before we clear that since we clear that we have increased the hydrophobic problem dramatically. And we've changed the mineral balance with our software, fertilizers, acid fertilizers, so we need to amend it back to more what nature had it and why not amend it with the right minerals as well so that the native plants can grow healthier as well because believe me native plants, like a green mineralized soil as well, and I've seen it plants withdrawal they grow 1.8 million as well. 18 months later, the two mains Hi, yeah, it's no nitrogen been like just it's the healthy side. Okay, Gavin. No worries, mate. Thank you so much for coming on.
So problems require different amendments, and salts have a may or may not work for your soul type.
I do recommend getting some professional advice. If you're not quite sure about what your soul type is.
If you can't find any information about source over in your local area, I definitely recommend checking out the soul solver website where you can find more details or even reach out to Gavin himself.
If you know someone that struggles with sandy soil, please send them this episode so that they can have a listen and make a decision for themselves.
Check out the episodes in our back catalogue because we've got heaps more industry focused content similar to this.
I don't think a civilization in the history of the world has ever survived Nevada, basically, a good positive renewable style of agriculture, where they are
amending the soil, spending the money on the land, and keeping good high quality managers managing the farm. We free go away from that I think it's going to be a slow downward trend because we're actually not paying farmers. So when you go farming when you can earn more money doing something else. And eventually the land gets into decline and the civilization disappears. If we can look back in history and probably see a lot of instances of that where the farmers, the food grounds food production was more data.
Because the urban centralized people discovered that they can remove the funds from wealth from the agricultural sector and use it for their own benefit. The end result was food production declined.
That's not a pretty sign anywhere in the world. When food production declines people get quite nasty to each other.

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