OK … so how do I use it?
There are several ways to use Key 2 Soil Ameliorant. The possibilities for using Key 2 in your garden are almost endless, but here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Existing garden beds and pots
Wet the soil and lightly sprinkle with Key 2. Scratch it into the soil with a trowel until the Key 2 powder is covered over, then water it lightly again. Watering it in will stop Key 2 from blowing away when the surface dries out, and provides a moist environment for the soil organisms to thrive in.
Remember Sea Monkeys from your childhood? They wouldn’t hatch until you put them in water! Living soil is the same.
Here’s another idea for topping up your existing garden beds. Put 2 tablespoons Key 2 (about 25 grams) in a standard 9 litre watering can, and water it in. You can make this method even more effective by first poking holes around the foliage line of your plants with a stick. Be gentle though as you don’t want to damage the roots. By doing this, the Key 2 will get straight to where it’s needed even faster.
No water? Don’t despair. It will still work … it will just take a bit longer.
Add Key 2 to your compost bin
By adding a light covering of Key 2 powder after every layer of compost, not only will you reduce the time it takes for the organic matter to breakdown, you’re adding essential ingredients along the way. The result will be the richest compost you’ve ever produced.
If you don’t have the time (or energy) to make your own compost, you can super-charge even the poorest quality shop bought composts and potting mix. Sprinkle a layer of Key 2 powder across your existing garden bed, add your store-bought compost or potting mix, add a second light layer of Key 2 powder on the top and trowel it in.
Don’t forget to water it if you can. You are now on your way to creating super-soil.
Strike cuttings faster
Instead of using a hormone powder or gel on your cuttings, dip them in Key 2 instead. Several of our commercial growers have been doing this and all are reporting their cutting strike rate has increased considerably.
TIP: If you’re going to use it on cuttings, don’t mix the powder in the cutting medium. It won’t hurt the plant, but the Key 2 holds a lot of water and the new cuttings might get too wet. After the cutting has struck, it’s fine to give it a water with a Key 2 mixture. That will also help develop a stronger root system.
Make your own organic fertiliser
Some of you are still going to want to fertilise, especially on plants that are heavy feeders. You can
make your own nitrogen rich fertiliser by mixing product with your favourite animal manure.
Put your chosen manure in a wheelbarrow or tub, and wet it well.
Break up any large lumps with a spade. Chicken manure should be ok, but horse and cow manure can be lumpy if it’s dried out.
Sprinkle the Key 2 over the top of the manure, give it a good mix and repeat. You might have to do this a few times depending on how much Key 2 you use.
If you do this, you will stop the nutrients in the manure from leaching away into the atmosphere or water table AND take away the odour.
Yes, that’s right. Stinky garden beds and lawns are a thing of the past.
How much should I apply?
This is a bit of a tricky one answer. Key 2 isn’t a chemical, and doesn’t contain any NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) like fertilisers do, so it works in a far more natural way.
Instead of giving the plant a quick hit with chemicals, you are growing your soil to enable it to feed the plants in a more environmentally friendly way.
If your soil is very run down and neglected, you can give it some extra Key 2 or apply it more often. If you are a keen organic gardener and your soil is already doing well, then it will only need a lighter dose.
Here is a guideline to get you started:
Generally, about a teaspoon (5 grams) watered in to a small (130mm) pot is plenty. You could also sprinkle Key 2 on top and scratch it in lightly.
1 cup (120 grams) will do about 3 square metres if you’re sprinkling it over a garden bed. You can use a bit more, a bit less, or apply it in layers under your compost or mulch.
Use 2 tablespoons (30 grams) in a standard 9 litre watering can and give all the plants a soak with it, including the leaves. Make sure you keep tipping the watering can back and forth, or the Key 2 will sink to the bottom.
For our university trials we use 1% or less of the total weight of the soil. Of course you can’t weigh your soil at home, but you really don’t need a lot.
When do I reapply more Key 2?
Unlike fertilisers, with Key 2 you use less and less product over time. As your garden regenerates and becomes more self-sustaining, you will reapply Key 2 less often.
Here’s a guideline to know when it’s time to reapply.
Plants that repeat flower throughout a season, or veggies that continue to produce (like tomatoes) will benefit from a top-up halfway through the season. These types of plants are working harder than plants that only flower once in a season.
If the leaves start to lighten in colour. This is a sure sign your plants need some food!
When you are planting any new plant, mix a small amount of powder in the bottom of the hole, add some water, and then place your plant in and backfill.
If you notice the soil is drying out underneath and not holding water like it should, give it a top-up by watering or sprinkling on more Key 2.
How do I buy some?
Key 2 is brand new. Although large, broad-acre farmers and commercial growers have been using it for a while, you are amongst the first home gardeners to get Key 2.