How We Make our Living Soils
Clearing Alien Vegetation
The Amathole Mountains are a vital water catchment area for the Eastern Province.
Unfortunately black wattle and other alien species have completely invaded crucial waterways, leading to lower runoff into dams. Working with Conservation International, we are dedicated to responsibly clearing this alien vegetation, and restoring native grasslands. Thankfully, Black Wattle also makes great biochar.
Japanese Biochar Kilns
We utilise modified Japanese Iwasaki kilns to produce the highest quality biochar.
Using a mixture of black wattle, english oak and bamboo we are able to produce a very high carbon content biochar with increased porosity and cation exchange capacity. We activate our biochar through steam boiling and then inoculate it with proprietary teas and microbial consortia, allowing for the slow release of nutrients throughout the growth cycle.
NOTE: Never use dry (uninoculated) biochar in your soil. Biochar acts like a sponge, releasing water and nutrients slowly into the soil as requested by the plant. Dry biochar will first suck up any water and nutrients present in the soil.
We also produce wood vinegar when charring our oak and bamboo. Wood vinegar significantly accelerates plant growth whilst controlling pests.
It also enhances the quality of roots, stems, tubers, leaves, flowers and fruit (especially citrus). As Nature's own pesticide and fungicide, it is also safe to all living matter in the food chain, especially pollinators. Spraying diluted wood vinegar onto trees dramatically reduces the need for chemical insectisides.
NOTE: Wood vinegar is not for human or animal consumption. It should always be used as directed in diluted form.
Hogsback's forests and mycelium rich soil food web provide a pristine, natural environment for the production of healthy living soils.
Our indigenous microbes are collected from old-growth forests, while the cleanest forest air, and freshest mountain water (no chemicals) also find their way into your compost.
Recycling Composting Bays
We are unique in designing our compost bays to utilise nutrient recyling throughout the composting process.
Instead of letting valuable nutrients escape after rain etc., our slightly sloping concrete floors collect and direct all run-off into a trough. From here we can scoop up and redistribute these essential nutrients back on to the pile.
Each bay also helps us to accurately manage quality and ensure the right amount of nutrients and ingredients for each batch.
Whether making a living compost or soil, we source the most optimal and suitable ingredients.
For stucture we add coconut coir, perlite and vermiculite. For soil health and to stimulate the soil food web, we include bone meal, feather and fish meals, as well as our proprietary inoculated biochar with comfrey and stinging nettle teas, and effective and indigenous microbes.
These are all added to our base composting structure of various hot and cold manures, as well as green plant and wood slash.
We craft all our soil by hand, in the most planet-friendly way possible, meaning that we can only produce in fairly limited quantities.
As this is quite labour intensive, we have been able to support several previously disadvantaged youth with permanent jobs. We also support and empower our local community, from whom we source manure and other feed stocks. We make sure we always pay fair prices and forge long lasting, empowering and integral relationships.
Value for Money
We pour our heart and souls into our soil. But we also believe in treating our customers as our best friends.
This means free advice, over the phone or face to face. Whilst we could charge fertiliser-type prices for our premium artisanal soils, we aim to produce a superior product at a much cheaper price.
We love what we do and we would never seek to overcharge our friends - our customers. After all, being truly organic and regenerative means that you are working with Nature's abundance, making things cheaper every year.