M’sian startup sells varieties of soil to grow healthy plants
For many nowadays, plants are the new pets. It’s no wonder that we are seeing more and more local IG factory outlets popping up these days, indicating a growing demand among Malaysians.
But seeing our plants suddenly die on us despite the great care we have taken (at least that’s what we think) is a common occurrence. We usually blame our lack of a green thumb, insufficient or too much sunlight, poor watering habits, etc. but we rarely get to the root of the problem (pardon the pun).
Sunlight and the recommended amount of watering can only help a lot, but if the very ground that our plants thrive is not healthy, they have little chance of surviving.
And of course, no floor is suitable for all, which was something the Ground control team had understood since 2017.
Support for as many plants as possible
Ground Control has a variety soils, for good reason. “Not all environments are the same,” Harbir Gill, founder of Ground Control, told Vulcan Post.
“For example, when you try to grow rosemary and you fail, you have to understand what is the natural environment of rosemary, which is found in the Mediterranean.” The soil type in the Mediterranean is relatively well drained compared to our local soil, on which you cannot successfully grow rosemary.
Another example is if you grow plants on the balcony there will be more breeze which will dehydrate the plants faster. Therefore, you would need a mixture that retains moisture better.
The soil sold by Ground Control has prices ranging from RM15 to RM25, depending on its use. Information on what each soil is supposed to do is listed in detail on the site, making it easy for even beginners to determine what would be right for their plants.
Encourage gardening for his well-being
While the goal of Ground Control is to help you grow your herbs, plants and vegetables successfully with the right soil, Harbir claimed that they also encourage people to get into gardening for the good- be out of their sanity and be on the outside.
“The difference between a gardener and a farmer is that a farmer has to fulfill an order while a gardener does it to satisfy his pleasure,” he explained.
For Harbir, it also started out as a simple hobby. But the more he garden, the more compost he needed, so he started doing it himself.
His passion for gardening then translated into classes to teach people how to make their own compost. “At the end of each class, someone would ask me where I got my compost from, and that’s how the business started.
Ground Control was actually a compost production facility since 2011, but became a registered business 6 years later.
More people have time to garden now
If you are a consumer with no idea what kind of soil or nutrients you need, the team at Ground Control has made it clear to us that they are ready to help. You just have to tell them what you want to grow and where you want to grow it.
From there, they’ll guide you through the soil and necessary nutrients, as well as grow tongs or grow slabs, which are raised beds made of galvanized steel or concrete, if needed. The latter tools are generally used by landowners with adequate garden space.
These range from RM312 to RM837, depending on how you want them to help you set up the garden beds.
Over the past 10 years, the Ground Control team has noticed a gradual increase in interest in gardening, but the pandemic has catalyzed the peak of that progress as people spend more time at home.
“During the pandemic, we have undoubtedly seen an increase in sales compared to the pre-pandemic period,” Harbir confirmed, reflecting the huge increase they have seen over the past 2-3 months.
Having the right soil is just one step
Most of us are more likely to keep a hawk eye on the health of our plants rather than our soil, but both are equally important.
Harbir indicated that the best way to check the health of your soil is to first see if there is biodiversity in your soil (presence of earthworms, good insects, etc.) and if your soil is rock hard (the roots of the plant would suffer and that would mean poor drainage too).
“Think of a rainforest, no one goes there to fertilize it because a rainforest can produce its own food – thanks to falling fruit, falling branches, pooping monkeys, etc.”
“Most of the soil in Malaysia is very clayey, and so to replicate the independence of a rainforest to feed in its own environment, you will need to start adding more organic matter to your soil,” he said. it simplified.
This is where compost would come in handy. Over the years, Harbir has run paid and free workshops for those who want to learn more about composting.
Ground Control has also worked with community gardens, retirement homes, orphanages, etc. to try to educate as many people as possible about composting and the importance of soil nutrition.
Education on these things is an important part of their business as they learn more about the circular economy. In the long term, Ground Control wants to be able to make their soil more affordable so that it is accessible to Malaysians from all walks of life who just want to grow healthy plants.
- You can learn more about ground control here.
- You can read more about Malaysian startups here.
Image Credit Featured: Harbir Gill, Founder of Ground Control