AN ABUNDANCE OF SAP 3
A number of times friends have said to me, “I don’t know how you do it all!”
My response had frequently been, “With difficulty.”
In April I realized that I had to take some time off for respite and flew to Hong Kong where I spent the next four weeks enjoying this view.
Refreshed, I returned, with added zest and am now preparing to spend three days at FARMFEST near Toowoomba. See www.farmfest.com.au
Sunrise over Kowloon Harbour
Initially I booked a stall site at Farmfest to promote my book Wildflowers, wilderness and wine because a couple of years ago I had observed Jame McClean promoting his book When Bloods Enough at Farmfest. Jame writes blood, guts and sex thrillers and he promotes himself as a Queensland outback author under the slogan ‘The Bush Fights Back’. Although the Granite Belt is hardly in the outback, we are in the bush and I believe my style of writing will also appeal to a country readership.
Jame McLean - The bush fights back
I then decided to take my SAP products along to test the market for them within this rural community. While I have had great sales selling packets of SAP crystals at market stands for use by home gardeners, there is the possibility of a much larger market for these water solubable crystals in agricultural use.
They are now widely used in agriculture in China. Farmers are incorporating the dry crystals into their soil before planting crops, like these tobacco crops I photographed in China. The couple of workers in the distance were watering individual plants, giving each one a cup of water. The gel absorbed this water and helped the plants get off to a thriving start. Then, the seasonal rains came and soaked the field. Any dry crystals absorbed the water ensuring continued moisture for the tobacco plants.
Tobacco crops in China
One of the questions I have frequently been asked at the local markets is, “What happens when the ground is waterlogged by too much rain?” I answer, “The gel absorbs water and expands, floating in the soil and preventing compaction of the soil, thus allowing the roots of plants to breathe.”
This year I decided that I would create my own example of using the SAP in an agricultural situation, by incorporating it into the soil of The Remembrance Field. Prior to leaving for Hong Kong in April I had sprayed the immerging weeds on this field, but due to our wonderful, regular autumn rain and cool nights, the Flanders poppies germinated by the thousands. Too early! I saw this greening of the field as an opportunity. With the arrival of a Wwoofer – Willing Workers on Organic Farms - I decided that he would plough in this crop of early poppies as a green manure crop. His name is Brad Ariss and he comes from Parry Sound in Canada. Firstly, Brad broadcast dolomite and water soluable gel across the swath of green poppy plants.
Brad broadcasting dolomite and SAP
Brad cultivating The Remembrance Field
Next he used our little Honda tiller to turn over the soil. When he had turned over the soil from east to west, he worked the field from south to north, thus incorporating the broadcast dolomite and SAP. Next time it rains the SAP will absorb moisture and retain moisture in our friable decomposed granite soil. Dolomite is not a fertilizer – it is a soil conditioner, which will ensure the rapid breakdown of the green manure crop.
When I advised my son, who had supplied me with a tonne of SAP from China of my intention to display and sell this product at Farmfest, he spoke to the salesman at the Chinese company from which he had sourced the product. He sent me this email today.
The factory is pretty excited you are going to Farmfest!
He attached this correspondence
Thu, 2 Jun 2011 09:00:11 +0800
Subject: Re: Water Absorbing Crystal Polymer
Thanks a lot for your email and info, message well noted, we wish you a fruitful show at Farmfest, and we await for your further instruction. Let’s keep in touch. We will work closely and support you fully.We look forward to a successful partnership.
Should you have any further questions, pls. feel free to contact me.
Have a nice day
Now what did I say at the beginning of this post? Yes, I had had to leave home for a month of respite. No, at 71 years of age I don’t want to become an entrepreneurial saleswoman. So what is the solution. While selling SAP at Farmfest I am going to ask for distributors who will share my dream. With assistance from my son based in China I will continue to purchase SAP in its various forms by the tonne and then offer this in smaller quatities to distributors. I’ve had flyers printed to hand out at Farmfest saying:-
WATER BEADS OR WATER CRYSTALS
These beads and crystals are created from water-absorbing polyacrylamide.
They have a proven lifespan of 2 years in direct sunlight or 4-5 years when mixed with soil.
They have the capacity to absorb up to 400 times their weight in water.
Polyacrylamide is 100% non-toxic and biodegradable.
HOUSE AND GARDEN
Mix crystals into garden soil, water the soil and then plant out seedlings.
Mix crystals into potting mix before filling pots.
Use to start and grow indoor Wheatgrass or Herb Gardens.
These crystals can reduce watering frequency by up to 75%.
They promote faster seed germination by keeping the root zone moist.
Water beads work great with candles and fresh flower arrangements.
Freeze water beads for chilling wines or champagne.
Water beads can be used without soil in pots holding water-loving plants like Bamboo, Arrowhead, Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena, Peace Lily, Red Prayer Plant, Philodendron, Dieffenbachia, Spider Plant and Ivy cuttings.
Crystals may be lightly spread on cultivated soil. When mixed into the soil they hold nitrates, phosphates, potassium, iron, zinc, boron and other elements next to the roots of plants, thus reducing the leaching of these elements into ground water. Research has shown that the beads attract the bacteria and microorganisms essential to plant growth.
Crystals in dry weather extend the time that moisture is stored in the soil.
Crystals in wet weather absorb additional water and float within the soil, thus preventing compaction.
RETAIL DISTRIBUTORS WANTED
e.mail: email@example.com Mobile: 0439 390 863
So if you are amongst the thousands who will visit Farmfest this year- Tuesday 7th, Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th June – do drop in to chat with me in the Lifestyle Shopping Arcade.
I will close this post by including a gallery of photographs of how I have used the water soluable crystals and decorative beads in my home.
Selected glass containers.
Flowers stand upright in SAP gel
With no smelly water to change, flowers last longer.
Homemade candles sitting in red beads, green beads and clear crystals.
Wildflowers, wilderness and wine
I will be there at Farmfest next week to autograph copies of Wildflowers, wilderness and wine for my readers. For a quick preview of what this book reveals see http://www.australia-book.com.au