Lifestyle Home Garden is proud to be associated with 3Sixty™ quality products – we have done a short explanatory write-up on their products which is informative and will be useful to any gardener wanting to understand the needs of soil in a bit more depth.
3Sixty™ is full of micro and macro nutrients that are essential for soil health and plant growth. Not only is it safe to handle for consumers, but it is made from quality organic materials that are weed free and environmentally friendly.
3Sixty™ Compost, Potting Mix, Lawn Dressing and NutriCast™ are fully organic products
What is compost:
Compost is decomposed organic material or soil organic matter. 3Sixty™ products are a premium quality organic product made from selected weed-free materials, including earthworm / vermicastings, horse manure, stable waste, straw, kraal manure etc.
Composting is a process that is carried out under aerobic conditions (involves oxygen) and is nature’s way of pasteurising and fermenting organic material. During the 3Sixty™ composting process, temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees Celsius are reached, ensuring that harmful pathogenic organisms are killed. The aim of making good compost is to get the compost windrows to reach these temperatures so that the heat generated can break down the organic material at a cellular level, ultimately ensuring that all the essential nutrients can be released.
3Sixty™ wait at least two weeks before turning the windrows, in order to allow the centre of the windrow to “heat up” and decompose. With a compost turner 3Sixty™ Premium Compost is made in about 8 weeks. Additionally, the compost develops for between 3 months before the windrow and turning process (depending on the weather conditions) in order to ensure that the compost has fully established before it is ready to be sold.
The organic material has nutrients in it but it is not available to the plant unless it is composted properly. Consistent heat and turning of the windrows is what allows the nutrient in the material to be released and thus become available to feed other plants.
Once mature; the odourless, clean handling, fluffy compost is then screened and bagged.
What is 3Sixty™ Compost Made from:
3Sixty™ Compost is made from small amount of bark, Earthworm castings, horse manure and stable waste.
What you need to know:
All raw organic products have nutrients in them. Yet most of this nutrient is not available to the plant as it cannot be released because it has not undergone the correct composting process.
3Sixty™ conduct Electric Conductivity (EC) tests in order to determine what their EC readings are. This test indicates to us the efficiency of the material to transfer minerals and nutrients. The consistent heating and rotating of the compost windrows ensures that 3Sixty™ products have consistent EC readings which indicates that their products consistently have nutrients readily available.
The other benefits of keeping the windrows at 60 to 65 degrees Celsius:
1) all grass seeds are neutralised
2) all bacteria and harmful viruses are neutralised
3) all harmful fungi are neutralised
Additionally, 3Sixty™ compost sits consistently with a pH balance of between 6 and 7. The pH 6 or 7 reading means that the acidity of the compost is as close to neutral as possible. Given that compost is a generic feeder, a neutral pH balance means the material is suitable to be used for all plants. Any additional requirements for specific plants can then be added – such as for acid loving Hydrangeas, Agapanthus, etc.
Composting is the most natural and beneficial thing we can do for our gardens, flowers, vegetables plants and trees. It allows us to replenish nutrients, improve drainage as well as water retention, and protects plant roots when it is used as a mulch.
Soil organic matter – or compost – holds moisture and nutrients, whilst sustaining soil life, which is essential for a healthy soil and plant growth. In addition to moisture retention and enhancing soil life, it also plays a major role in the soil’s capacity to hold plant nutrients. Ultimately this means that gardens that are composted are more water wise than those which are not.
Application Rate for 3Sixty™ Compost:
We recommend using one 30dm bag per every m² in your garden when your soil is in very bad condition.
If you are just needing a nutrient top up in your current soil, you can apply one 30dm bag per every 3m².
More detail about the composting process:
The composting process involves four main components: organic matter, moisture, oxygen, and bacteria.
The organic matter included in 3Sixty™ products is earthworm castings, stable waste and some animal manures. Organic materials used for compost should include a mixture of brown materials, which supply carbon as well as manures, which supply nitrogen.
Moisture supports the composting process. Compost should be comparable to the wetness of a wrung-out sponge. If the stack is too dry during the composting process, the materials will decompose very slowly.
Oxygen is needed in order to support the breakdown of plant material by bacteria. To supply oxygen, 3Sixty™ use a compost turner and turn the compost windrow so that the materials at the edges are brought to the centre of the pile. Turning the pile is important for complete composting and for controlling the odour.
Bacteria and other micro-organisms are the real workers in the composting process. By supplying organic materials, water and oxygen, the already present bacteria will break down the raw material into useful compost for the garden. As the bacteria decompose the materials, they release heat, which is concentrated in the centre of the pile. In addition to bacteria, larger organisms including insects and earthworms are active composters. These organisms break down large materials in the compost stack.
Although all 3Sixty™ composted products have enough nutrients in them at the stage of planting and up to at least a few weeks after, one must always remember that as plants grow, so they use up all of the available nutrients. So it is important to replenish these nutrients with 3Sixty™ NutriCast™. This “plant food” will replace all the micro and macro nutrients that most plants need. NutriCast™ – is a natural organic fertiliser. NutriCast™ is a blend of composted material with high nutritional value and Vermicast. It is very good in veggie boxes, indoor pot plants and even on all outdoor plants that are looking a bit yellow, after too much rain.
- Contain Earthworm castings.
- Contain natural plant growth regulators that promote plant growth.
- High in nutritional value
- Good for all aspects of plant growth
- Plant health
- High in calcium. Calcium is the building block for all plant cells and is essential in promoting healthy strong plants.
- High in carbon – essential in stimulating soil health and building up soil.
- Balancing of pH levels in soil.
Sustainable Organic Compost
Sustainability isn’t a ‘thing’, a product that can be purchased, as much as it is a lifestyle. It has immediate as well as long-term rewards. Generally, sustainability is forward-thinking, looking to secure a future, getting things to last, making things better than the way you found them.
When you choose to preserve and protect resources, to nurture the planet as well as those around us, to make as little negative impact on the earth as possible, you have chosen the path of sustainability. Sustainability is a movement that embraces all facets of human endeavour.
“Sustainable” means to perpetuate existence as well as to provide sustenance and nourishment.
Today, the word is attached to everything from gardening to light bulbs. Sustainability is most often associated with the environment and specifically to our landscapes and gardens.
What is a sustainable garden?
It is an organic garden taken a step further. Organic gardening practices will sustain and nourish soils and plants physically, biologically and aesthetically. Organic gardening also points us towards other gardening practices that pursue the goal of sustainability by conserving resources.
Composting has the most impact of any sustainable gardening practice. Composting recycles and enriches. It benefits the health of your soil. Composting can be as simple as raking leaves over your garden when you put it to ‘bed’ in winter, or as complicated and delicate in commercial practices for products like bagged compost, organic fertiliser and Vermicast’s.
Whether you’re growing vegetables, lawns, flowers and shrubs or fruit trees, composting will bring about a vibrant, fortifying change to your garden while it reduces waste. Composting is the most natural, organic and beneficial thing we can do for our gardens, flowers, vegetables plants and trees to replenish nutrients, ⁱimprove drainage, water retention, also help prevent erosion and run-off and protect plant roots when used as mulch.
Organic material has nutrients in it but it is not available to the plant unless it is composted properly. Consistent heat, ²60 to 65°C, and turning of the stacks is what allows the nutrient in the material to be released and become available to feed plants. Thus, you have a safe product to handle that is full of micro and macro nutrients essential for soil health and plant growth. Remember it is possible not to do this, and get a product that looks like the real deal. Might look, smell and even feel right. How do we know it is not of any value? We test for electrical conductivity. No EC no nutrients.
Organic Gardening Practices
Mulching your garden is probably the biggest help you can give to your garden. Mulch can be ³organic and/or inorganic, but it is basically placing a layer of ‘something’ on top of the soil to protect the soil from drying out, protect the root area from the temperature of the air and prevent weed growth and can protect against erosion. Mulch can be added generously, if organic the deeper the better. Organic matter added to your soil will give great benefit toward ⁱwater retention and also slows down moisture evaporation from the soil surface.
Weeds take valuable water and nutrients that are needed for your plants. Use of pesticides and herbicides are hard on the plants and plants will thus require more water to remain healthy. Try to avoid using these in your garden.
Mulching is a huge help to retain ⁱwater in the soil, but you will still need to add water if it hasn’t rained in a long time. Putting water beneath the mulch is the very best if you can. With a ⁴drip irrigation system this is easier to do. If your plants have been deprived of water for a long time, they will wilt, and even if they don’t die, they will be unproductive because they are starving for water. Watering less frequently and deeper is the best way to water. The water reaches down to where the roots are and encourages deep root growth.
If you water often and shallow, then the roots will stay near the surface, which is very dangerous for the plants. A ⁴drip irrigation system is one of the best things you can do for your garden.
Overhead watering will allow more water loss through evaporation and run-off as will watering during the heat of the day. Evening watering is considered the optimum time to water. With all of your plants, it is best to wait until the plants are close to the wilting stage before you water them to encourage deep root development.
ⁱ Soil organic matter today in most gardens sits close to 1½%, under 2½% is not sustainable, 100kg of soil with 4% soil organic matter holds ±180ℓ water, whilst 100kg of the same soil with 2% soil organic matter holds ±60ℓ water. Soil organic matter, or compost, holds moisture and nutrients, whilst sustaining soil life, essential for a healthy soil and plant growth. In addition to moisture retention and soil life, it also plays a major role in the soil’s capacity to hold plant nutrients. Soil life, which lives on compost, is incredibly complex.
² all grass and weed seeds are neutralised,
all bacteria and harmful viruses are neutralised, (product is safe)
all harmful fungi and pathogenic organisms are also neutralised.
³ Common Organic Mulches
wood shavings or sawdust
Common Inorganic Mulches
⁴Netafim Drip Irrigation
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