Saugus man hopes to hit pay dirt with water-retentive soil

This article was published 12 year(s) and 3 month(s) ago.

Matt Tempesta / The Daily ItemSAUGUS – A Saugus man has invented what he claims to be the world’s most water-retentive gardening soil, and expects it will quickly grow his business.Allan Huberman’s product, EZ Gro Watergrip, consists of 1-foot by 2-foot, 3-inch thick sections of growing medium called “brownies,” which have the feel of a firm sponge and when ground up into peat feels like a pile of stale cake.It’s this material that Huberman says can hold up to 34 pounds of water in a three-pound section, and can produce vibrant flowers and hearty vegetables all with minimal watering and hardly any fertilizer.”The absorption rate is absolutely unbelievable,” said Huberman. “The speed of growing is ridiculous. Nobody has ever seen quality like this. The rooting system on the plants is unbelievable. It has organic products in it that have the same 96 elements that are in your blood. The binder allows the material to be very, very porous. It allows oxygen to go directly to roots, to immediately begin forming sugar. If I take a cutting, and push it in there, in two or three days it’s completely rooted, versus two months.”Huberman remains tight-lipped about the exact properties of his EZ Gro Watergrip and the location of his New England manufacturing plant, but if things go according to plan he hopes to begin distributing the brownies globally.”This is going to go worldwide,” said Huberman, who said companies like DuPont and Home Depot have expressed interest in his creation. “There’s nothing bigger than this. Am I scared? Yes I am.”Huberman, who is the fourth generation owner of M. Hubeman, Inc. on Vine Street, first came up with the idea nearly a decade ago, when the plants he was supplying to shopping malls and supermarkets kept dying. He wanted to create a soil that wouldn’t allow the plants to die.After eight years of testing and toiling, a patent is now pending on EZ Grow Watergrip, and Huberman recently hired a former Kraft executive to oversee production and distribution.”Nobody has the colors that will grow like this,” said Huberman as he pointed to rows of deep purple and pink petunias. “You can’t buy anything like this from any place else. I’m the only one who has it. The plants themselves are absolutely gorgeous.”But while clusters of plump tomatoes and super-vibrant petunias may be eye-catching, it’s the environmental impact that has Huberman so excited, especially with many parts of the United Sates experiencing prolonged droughts.”I’ve cut my growing time probably in half, and my use of water,” said Huberman. “You can’t over-water the plant and you can’t under-water them. Literally the plants are indestructible. All over the United States, we don’t have any water. California has no water, Las Vegas has no water. This stuff here they can plant with it. Our theory is saving the water of the world, cleaning the air we breathe, and feeding the world.”The brownies can be used in modular wall gardening and on green roofs in cities, where potentially harmful rain runoff will be kept out of the water supply and in the garden beds.”We are destroying our lakes and rivers and everything else with the pollutants that are coming off the drains,” said Huberman. “By using less fertilizer and less pesticides, I’m doing away with the runoff. If I can do away with 50 percent runoff, it means we have water again. We have no water. They’re finding phosphorous in it, nitrogen, arsenic. Our material came out all 100 percent clear.”For Sean Grant, the executive director of the Saugus Chamber of Commerce, Huberman is another example in a long line of Saugus innovators.”Mr. Huberman has been a longtime fixture in Saugus,” said Grant. “Saugus has always been an area for entrepreneurs and on the cutting edge of technology. It’s a long history of innovation starting with the Iron Works in the 1600s and Mr. Huberman continues that tradition.”Later this summer Huberman will be sending shipments of his brownies to Japan, where vast stretches of far

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