True Life Organics (Part II)

Interview with Kees Schelfhout by Stoney Tark.

Continue reading the interview with Kees Schelfhout Co-founder of BioTabs with big experience and knowledge about Organic growing, how bacteria interact with the soil, how nutrients become the better improvers, and beneficial for soil, plants, the environment, and therefore Earth. 

Could you explain the differences between hard foods and liquid foods, also how do plants buffer them?

Hard foods can be thought of as similar to compost. They may be supplied in powder form, their structure and nutrients break down slowly and will keep on releasing nutrients throughout the grow. These are a great base for your soil.

Liquid foods are the liquid, fluid and syrup (molasses) style materials used in grows. In the biotabs strategy you can adjust/ boost the soil a bit by adding the orgatrex when needed. Burning or overfeeding is hard to achieve.

How advanced is the culture of true-life organics in Europe from your experience?

It is growing for sure, more and more people start to see, feel and taste the benefits of organic growing. But as you know growers are one of the most stubborn people out there, that’s why we chose our lifestyle. There are loads of ‘chem’ growers as I like to call them. They think that they have invented the wheel and don’t want to change a winning chemical formula. So it will take a while before everybody is switched over. But it is a matter of time cause at certain time humanity will come to its senses and it won’t be cool to grow with minerals anymore, or it will get forbidden…

How important is correct pH and E.C when growing organically?

They are super important, the beauty of organic growing is that when the right bacteria and microorganisms are present in the soil, they will take care of pH. So with BioTabs measurement of PH or EC IS NOT NEEDED! Just as in the forest, never has anybody been seen adjusting the pH or EC of the rain that is falling. The soil life will provide!!

What are the different organic substrates Biotabs provide and how do plants utilise them?

At BioTabs we have 10 different products all created out of micro organisms, bacteria and compost. The main working organisms and nutrients are mycorrhizal fungi Trichoderma, molasses, silicium, guano, spore elements, rock dusts, algae and insect manure.

Why did you choose these products and how environmentally friendly are they?

We chose these products because they are all natural and environmentally friendly.

For example, our Silicium Flash is made from certain mealworm manure. These mealworms are bred to feed the chicken a well deserved natural meal. Chickens fed a natural healthy diet won’t need antibiotics, making the chicken cleaner to eat. The mealworms are fed with the leftover/ unsaleable fruits and vegetables from the market. The manure of the mealworms is used as an organic material to enrich our soil and feed the plants. In this way, nothing goes to waste and it’s a nice organic circle.

Are there any bad substates that growers should avoid and why?

In my opinion, growing on “Rockwool” is not great. The minerals that are used when growing in Rockwool can contain/ burn mother soil with salt, minerals and heavy metals. Rockwool is impossible for nature to compost. Where i used to live in Holland, there was a flat biooo-tifull open space, at a certain point farmers needed to get rid of all the rockwool cubes used to grow tomatoes and cucumber. Suddenly this place was filled with huge white plastic/ rockwool mountains, when I asked what the plan was with these mountains, the farmer laughed and said; don’t worry boy they only will get bigger and there is nothing you can do about it…

How do compost teas work and what it is that is actually being brewed?

Compost tea is brewing your own compost using the same principle as the soil. But with compost tea, there is a much higher bacteria and microorganism growth rate. Our bacteria will multiply much faster in the water when they are fed with air and some sugars; in the case of Orgatrex, they will multiply explosively. After 24/36 hours your brew will be filled with millions of beneficial hungry bacteria. Add this brew to your soil and the tea of hungry bacteria will devour the organic material and other bacteria that are still present in the soil. Leaving the soil full of nutrient-rich bacterial manure for the plant to digest and become healthy, fat, frosty and stinky.

What are the main causes of root issues such as browning of the roots and stunted growth?

This will happen when there is not enough soil for the roots to connect or when the medium is too dry.

Do you have advice for dealing with plant disease indoors such as mildew or mould?

The best thing you can do is work as cleanly as possible. Make clones from regular seed plants, refuse clones from your dirty friends no matter how good the strain may be. Make sure your conditions are as optimised as possible. If you have multiple rooms/ tents: always check the ‘clean’ mother room first then check out your big flower room.

That’s because there is a higher chance of a little bug or mold in the big flower room than the clean mother room. Don’t check out your mother’s room again, after you have been in your flower room. Or you may bring the bad stuff in.

What are BioTabs top tips for anyone who wants to get involved with true-life organics.

Just take it easy. Never forget to enjoy growing, and try to create an enjoyable hobby from your work. Grow a tree and feel free!