Ecothrive – Charge – Organic Soil Conditioner and Bio-Stimulant

by on January 29, 2015
in Vegetable Growing

Ecothrive – Charge –  is  a product created by Gareth Hopcroft and is fast becoming well recognised by many top growers within the gardening world and in particular with NVS members.  I have to admit that I had nver heard of ‘Charge’ as it’s generaly called until I hard Gareth Cameron extoling it’s virues at my Masterclass weeekend last November. There’s certainly a good reason why Gareth Cameron can eulogise about this product as it’s certianly changed his outlook on growing show vegetables through using it and having great succeess over the past two years. The reason Gareth used it was to try and get back on track having, as Gareth calls it,  ‘hitting a ‘brick wall’ through growing cconventionally year on year. Another well known top grower of both leeks and onions is David Metcalf and he is also now a firm beliver in Charge ansd uses it in all his mixes as well as in the final bed.

Ian Stocks is well known for the high quality of his roots, both long and short carrots as well as parsnips and last year he used in his exhiition Pea trench with marvellous results.

I asked Gareth to expalin a little more about Charge and I append below his comments –

Arguably the new best player in amending soil and coco is Ecothrive Charge, which contain just one ingredient – ‘insect frass’. Insect Frass is the technical term for a product comprised solely from the castings of insects, and in the case of Ecothrive Charge the insects are the larvae of Tenebrio molitor beetles, commonly known as mealworms. Admittedly, words like “insects” or “larvae” tend to worry gardeners, so it’s perhaps worth pointing out that Charge contains no actual insects or eggs, just their tiny, powder-like excrement!

Charge is a great product, and is special in a number of ways. First, it contains a good balance of primary nutrients (NPK 3:2:3), these release slowly over a period of 3-4 weeks, and are easy for plants to take up. It’s also packed full of beneficial bacteria that help plants access more nutrients from the soil. Charge has also been shown to improve root growth rates and markedly improve general root zone conditions.

However, Ecothrive Charge has another special and quite unique benefit for plants. It contains derivatives of chitin, a modified polysaccharide found in large concentrations in the cell walls of insects. Plants detect the presence of these polysaccharides and are “tricked” into thinking an attack is imminent. Consequently their in-built resistance to pests and disease is triggered and growth rates, productivity and immune response are all boosted significantly. Lastly, Ecothrive Charge is 100% Organic, and is certified and has full approval for use by the Soil Association which is not an easy certificate to obtain.

So how do you use Charge? Ideally it is mixed thoroughly with potting soil between 1-2% by volume. This translates to 1L of Charge to 50-100L of growing media. If you are using potting soil with a high nutrient content it is best to use 1% (1L of Charge in 100L of soil). If using a lightly fertilised potting soil it is best to use the higher dose of 2% (1L in 50L). Once mixed into the potting soil, treat the plants as you would normally, so continue to feed or water as you normally would; basically forget it’s there!

For use in open soil outdoors, apply 1L of Charge to every 3.5 metres squares, or a good sized handful per square yard. Rake or lightly fork in the soil surface before planting or sowing. In pot open soil and in pots, Ecothrive Charge can also be used as a light top dressing on the soil surface for continued fertilisation and growth stimulation throughout the season.

Ecothrive Brand Ethos

Ecothrive offers natural, organic products centred on promoting beneficial soil biology, improving plant health and increasing yields. It has become increasingly important in recent years to look for sustainable inputs for protected horticulture and traditional gardening. Using artificial fertilisers is proven, and works very well, but producing these takes its toll on the environment and although they work to feed the plants, artificial fertilisers can be of detriment to the health of our soil. Healthy open soil in our gardens and allotments, as well as our potting compost, will contain a vast array of beneficial microorganisms which help in many ways including helping the plant utilise nutrients, protect roots and foliage against disease and even release compounds that stimulate growth. The overuse of artificial fertilisers reduces the activity and diversity of soil microorganisms, which can lead to poor plant performance and increase the occurrence of plant diseases.

The goal behind Ecothrive is to bring products to both professional growers and hobby gardeners to enable an assortment of beneficial microorganisms to flourish in the root zone. It’s all about providing long term benefits and truly enhancing plant growth. Ecothrive is very proud to have their products manufactured in the UK, with all components sourced as locally as possible.

Unlike many other products with organic claims on their labels, Ecothrive Charge is certified by the Soil Association to assure you that we only use certified natural ingredients to deliver an exceptional product of the highest quality organic standard.

I would very much like to hear comments from any grower that’s used ‘Charge’ and whether or not they have found it a valuable addition to their soil or potting mixes.

Charge is now available on my online shop under the Sundries Section and is for sale in both the 5 and 10 litre tubs. The 5 and 10  litre tubs are Catalogue numbers ITEM NO 0021 andITEM NO 0022 respectively.

 

 

Comments

11 Responses to “Ecothrive – Charge – Organic Soil Conditioner and Bio-Stimulant”
  1. gareth cameron says:

    Hi MEDWYN, I can only say that I found the charge fertiliser was fantastic and I use no other fertilisers but charge I use it from day one in my potting mixes and into raised beds plus also in the air-pots I use. Charge also makes into a good foliar feed and more important for me it makes top quality compost tea.

  2. Ian Stocks says:

    Medwyn as you said I used it on some peas last year as a trial and the plants with charge were stronger and more vigorous. I am using it this year on onions and leeks and will use it on all the peas and probably a couple of other things. I am not sure about the long roots but i may try a couple of barrels to see. I would definetly recommend it

  3. Lee Herrington says:

    Definitely appears to be making a difference with my leeks and onions. Both appear stronger compared to last year.

  4. Bethany Walker says:

    I totally agree, but one of my favourites topsoils at the moment is the organic topsoil by topsoilshop. My gardening has improved significantly since using it and would definitely recommend. Thank you for compelling work and good luck with future work.

  5. Bill Jones says:

    hello Medwyn hope you and the family are o.k. and all your veg are growing well , not sure how I managed any gardening before retiring .Never spent so much time in the garden , built new leek house which is now planted up with 21 pot leeks , 6 blanch leeks and 6 onions from pips .Tunnel has another 10 pot leeks , 8 Llanberis blanch and 12 show onions , 17 tubs of heavy onions in big tunnel P.G. seed best onion has 18 leafs and is 9″ around .Way behind Peter Glaze rook and Gareth Griffin but ahead of last year .Good article in garden news on Gareth’s onions , looks like the man to beat .He has now set up a site for us all to have a lookat his onions and marvel at their size .Lots of giant veg waiting to plant out when weather warms up , carrots , parsnips , beetroot and swede . giant tomato in pots and just sowed long cucumber .Will have to arrange to come and have a look at your new set up when it is convenient and weather improves .Regards , Bill .

  6. Medwyn says:

    Hi Bill, At last I’m getting a bit of time to give some attention to the Blog, particularly now that the football season has finished! Trust you onions are doing well, I had a chat with Gareth Griffin from Guernsey last Friday and he was quite happy with his onions with them all around the 20 inch mark. He was however concerned that he may have been depending a bit too much on electronic moisture meters to check how wet or dry his compost in the pots were. The two meters he had were showing that the compost was moist but he had his doubts and on drilling a half inch hole through the side of the pots and taking a core with a half inch copper pipe he found the compost running out dry.
    How is your Llanberis Leek doing, I’m a little concerned as it has some white marks on the foliage, at first I thought they were thrips but I now believe that it could be a virus. I know that both Alistair Grey and Ian stocks disposed of their early on as they weren’t very happy with them. I have ten growing away and they are certainly putting on more weight than the Pendle. Whether or not it will grow out of these marks as the Cumbrian Pot leeks seems to do time will tell. What size are your onions Bow Bill.

  7. Bill Jones says:

    medwyn nice to hear from you , onions and leeks growing well now best onions are 16.5 ” around with 21 flutes well behind Peter and Gareth but looking good .Llanberis leeks 4.5 ” around and looking o.k. Yorkshire Giant pot leeks 7 .5 ” around Cumbrian and Cumbrian Sam x all looking good .I think you are correct that Llanberis does have virus in it as the original Pendle was bred using an Intermediate leek in the cross which is noted for having a virus , Peter said that his Llanberis are now bigger than the Pendle .Whilst in the pots they were slow making root which has probably made a lot of growers bin them .Encouraging to see that new growth does not seem to have the virus , it may grow out like the Cumbrian .I have been giving everything Compost tea every couple of weeks which seems to be doing good , I think it will be worth continuing with the Llanberis to see how they end up .Let me know when it is convenient to come and have a look around .Regards , Bill .

  8. Medwyn says:

    Towards the end of the month to early July would be fine, there would be more things to see at that time. This year we aren’t showing at the Tatton Park Show so everything is more or less timed to be ready for Malvern on the last weekend in September, provided this weather becomes more like June than April!

  9. Maurice says:

    Hi.i have 15 litre pots and was wondering how much charge to add as a top feed.many thanks.

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