Sunday, May 12, 2013

What's Growing On?

Things are looking alive in the one flower bed I planted about 2 weeks ago. I went up to Santa Rosa last week to drop off that monster worm compost bin and a rain barrel at my buddy's place. It freed up some much needed space. While I was up that way. I had planned on stopping at Sonoma Compost in Petaluma. I love their compost and have been using it for quite some time now. I had spoken to Josh over at Boogie Brew a few days prior and decided to stop in and see him for a few things. Turns out, he has his hands on the composting business too. So I took a yard of his stuff instead. It was kind of a nightmare when I got back into Oakland.
We had lifted the compost, which was in a huge nylon tote bag. Into the bed of a little pickup on a pallet. Well..... somehow the weight of the compost shifted. Forced open the tailgate and slid its happy ass right out the back, onto busy Harrison Street traffic. Somewhat funny, but how the hell was I get this back into the truck? For being the skinny fuck that I am. I have some strength to me. So I figured I would flag down 3 other fellas to help lift it. But not a damn person would stop! Bay Area sucks for stuff like this. People are so caught up in their own stuff, they seldom help anyone out. I've experienced this on many levels. I'm not just saying this based on one experience.
I ended up using a 5 gallon bucket to shovel all the compost out of the nylon tote into the bed of the truck and once the tote was light enough to pick up. I threw it into the back.
I've brewed 3 batches of this Boogie Brew compost tea. I gotta admit, I like it better than my own compound. My plants germinated really fast and since inoculating the compost with this worm tea. Everything is looking insanely healthy.
The micro biology taking place in the veggie beds are allowing available nutrients in the compost to become easily available to the roots of the veggies growing. Essentially the soil is alive! I don't have any discoloration in leafs, I'm not noticing any aphids or white flies, and these plants have a glow to them like one has after getting laid really good.
So in conclusion. The ideal is to build soil. Not just any ol' soil either. But yet healthy, nutrient dense, and soil that is alive with trillions of micro organisms. And I did this with a few ingredients. My veggie beds are 10' long x 5' wide x 18" tall. Which will hold about 2 cubic yards of soil. The ingredients consist of: Mallard Plus & biodynamic Compost from Sonoma Compost, about 100lbs of worm castings, 6 bags of biochar, 50lbs of glacial rock dust, 44lbs of azomite, 15lbs of Oyster shell (fine grain), 15lbs of Sea kelp, and a 5lbs bag of RTi's Mycorrhizae. I mixed it all up while dumping each wheel barrel into the bed and every 6 inch I gave a good watering to make sure there was moisture throughout the entire thing. Once done. I brewed 20 gallons of worm tea. Showered the compost with that brewed worm tea. I let it sit for a day and started planting my seeds. Minus the tomato plants. I started those indoors a while ago.



Monday, May 6, 2013

Germinating your seeds

   I've read so much shit about how to germinate veggies seeds as if it were rocket science. Some sources say to use sterile soil. Some say to use some b.s soil compound. Some say to use peat moss (which is a horrible use of resources). I personally say funk all that mess.
   I throw the seeds right into the veggie bed. I get very few failures of germination. I have a higher failure rate of transplants, when I transplant from one medium to another. I have however found that using equal parts coco coir and worm castings works really well. All while using declorinated water. Don't mess up your soils biology by dumping tap water on your healthy seedlings. I know some people do. But I had always got some sort of discolored leafs and poorer results of yields and growth. There are a few really good, simple, and inexpensive items one can use. So if you're not collecting rain water (as you maybe should be). And instead are using a water hose. You might want to consider a product like this one:
   Now about rain harvesting. If you have the space for a tank. Get one already! Even in the smallest of spaces. There is a tank that will work. You can even get all fancy and shit and setup a drip system off that rain tank. Assuming you're tight on space and budget. Bushman Water Tanks are great. They make a 205 gallon tank that fits damn near any where. It costs about $350. I know it's not rainy season. But maybe plan on one by the next season. The time between now and then should give ya time to save up. Don't bitch and whine how expensive things are. How much do you spend on beer, cigs, pot, hookers, burritos, petrol, shoes, etc? That 205 gallon tank on a drip system will probably last you most of the summer (results will vary on your location and some other details).
   So back to germinating. I don't get what all the overly thought out crap is about. If you're germinating indoors for crop succession to get the most amount of yields to feed yourself. I do not see why you can not use your existing garden soil in trays in the garage? The seeds will be familiar with the soil as soon as you transplant them. You have the mycrorize, soil biology, and nutrients already there. Now there are certain conditions to be mindful of when germinating. Seeds like a nice environment. So if you're smoking cigs in the garage. Stop that shit. Go outside. The seeds need a little warmth. There are heating pads and domes you can put over the container. If you've made your own germinating table and containers. You can use burlap sack to lay over the soil. It will hold in some heat. Or you can incorporate a mini hoop house like structure with some simple painters plastic. I've read some seedlings like light while germinating. I have yet to witness this. But I see my seedlings daily. It's a relaxing chore for me to peek in on my seedlings.
   My next experiment is to debunk the ideal you can not plant carrots indoors and transplant them. I've got an idear Vern. I'm going to use landscapers tubers (the ones they use for native grasses). Carrots are ass holes. They take their sweet ass time to grow. Which is why many small space gardeners don't grow them. You can grow so much more stuff in half the time of carrots and have food much faster.
   Check this out as well:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Made in America?

I'm a huge advocate for buying American made products. I'll pay way more for a particular product just because it's America made. Even better if it's California made. Even more awesome is if it's made in the Bay area. There's a saying I really like. I don't know where I heard it originally. But nonetheless, it goes like this, "We're too poor to be cheap." I own very little. I'm not a hoarder or a collector of any sort. Maybe with the exception of furniture. But I wouldn't even say I'm a collector. I essentially own the basics. This allows me to spend more on what's important.
This will be a ongoing updated post. As I find people, businesses, products to add to the list. My all time favorite thing(s) are from Roy. He's in Oakland even! He makes the best pair of jeans for my ass. I beat the shit out of them day in and day out. That same pair of jeans I also dress up. With a pair of Yuketen boots and a nice button up from Taylor Stitch. You can't go wrong.

Slowly saying good bye

Slowly saying good riddance to concrete! The progress lately has been kinda slow. Concrete is heavy, did you know that? I underestimated its back breaking capabilities. I got my jollies off using a jack hammer. It about rattled the few remaining brain cells I had left. I think it would have been easier had I pulled out the Remington 870 with 3" slugs and went to town on it. I once saw a fella chop down his Christmas tree using buck shoot.
Started out like this. Big slab of concrete, jack hammer, and beer (not in picture). Like usual. I did this at night. it was like 6pm. It was dark by this time. Not sure if I pissed anyone off with all the noise. Don't really care either. The last picture is of the first flush diverter setup. So the rain tank is ready for rain. But there has been next to no rain. Makes me sad.
I have yet to get to the sidewalk that still remains along side the garage. That's coming out as well. Artichokes will  be planted along side it. While on the opposite side will be an herb garden. Not the ganja kinda garden. The culinary kinda herbs. Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, and the such. I'm also thinking a outside kitchen. Not the wicked expensive type that rich folks can afford. I'll build a brick oven or pizza oven as it is referred to at times. A couple of burners mounted into a counter top surface area which will include a sink and an area for chopping and doing prep work. I'll probably source all the materials from second hand sources. Craigslist, whatever I find on the side of street, Urban Ore in Berkeley, etc.
The backyard landscape will resemble a California prairie. Tons of native flowers, grasses, & shrubs. Thick and lushious! Landscapes that aren't useful bug me. Prairies seem to warm and inviting. It begs to be walked in. To get lost in its tall blades while laying on your back in the summer sun. Bee's pollinating, birds eating seeds, and all the beneficial bugs that come with the territory. I'm not super knowledgeable of landscape architecture. It takes me a long time to gather inspiration and a know how of how to make things look. I don't want it to look like a train wreck. Though I'm sure I'd be okay in the long run. I still want some order to the madness. I'm not looking for a staged landscape. We shall soon find out how it pans out. I should be crackin on this shortly. I'm going to Sonoma Compost in Petaluma this week for compost for the veggie beds. I haven't been growing anything in them b/c they were going to be moved. Now that they are moved. I just need to get my soil compound situated. Then I'll start on the landscaping. I also ordered these horse troughs for the berry bushed. Got 3 of em. I do need to gather more cardboard. I'm running really low!

My friend Chris came over. We fucked some shit up. Next is that sidewalk area. But the big slab is gone.All goneWhat use to be really ugly is taking shape

Monday, February 18, 2013

No Rain. Not the Blind Melon song

Where has the rain been? Maybe it has this pent up sexual energy and when it does finally rain. It'll be like that wet vagina. Like a Slip and Slide. Remember that from the 80's? In my optimistic hopes for a torrential downpour. I'm piecing together the first flush diverter kit, to connect to the house gutter. This kit fills up with water to catch things one does not want in their rain tank. Leafs, roof shingle pebbles, hard bird shit. That kinda stuff. Here is an example of what it is, what it does, and what it looks like.

Rain Harvesting Pty  Downspout First Flush Diverter

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Diez Tacos por favor

Trying to situate this new veggie bed has become quite the task for this chico blanco. The lumber is all bowed. Wont lay flat, straight, or anything to that nature. It kinda pisses me off because we've come a long way in milling technology since......1950.
So I shout out a food order through the fence to my neighbors. Who just arrived home from the Oakland piers, where they serve their food during the day time hours. I slip 10 bucks through the fence boards. Take down the last 4oz of my beer and open another one. I use these clamps that really help when I'm working solo. You squeeze the handle until tight, but not too tight. You check your alignment and level. Once dialed in. You give it that last couple of squeezes, until you can't make it any tighter. Secure! Drill the pilot hole. I don't want any wood chipping like a hang nail. I want clean holes and corners kissing like 2 horny teenagers.
Fifteen minutes later. I hear a whistle followed by, "capasa vecino! ven a comer!" 10 incredibly freshly made tacos. I bit into the first one and had to check my pants for premature ejaculation. Descriptive, I know. But I'm not kidding about these folks and their cooking. It's off the charts! When Anthony Bourdain came to S.F and he had a snipit of him in East Oakland visiting a taco truck. He missed some damn good food. I've lived in East Oakland for 3 years now. I've eaten at more food trucks then you have fucked women or men. I've gotten the shits from 3 of em. I've got my 5 trucks I go to on rotation. I like the horchata better at certain ones over the others. Some are just way too dang sweet. While others...meh! No flavor. But all 5 of these trucks have there shit on point! They know how to get this wedo coming back for more.
Anyway, it started raining on me in the middle of drilling pilot holes. I got so excited about rain falling. I dropped what I was doing. Made sure there was a 5 gallon or more bucket under every spout. Started hand carrying buckets of water to the massive rain tank, 5 gallons at a time. Got about 100 gallons in 15 minutes of rain fall. I'll see how many more beers I drink. If I end early. I'll get up early and finish drilling holes.

There's no damn television in this house

That's right! No T.V. Fuck that thing. I don't watch sports. If I want to watch reality T.V. I'll lift the blinds in the living room. I'm in the damn ghetto. There's always shit going on. Way better than what cable can provide. I got the cooking channel in my kitchen. And Pandora is my MTV. I'm not interested in liberal or conservative bias media for news coverage. Besides it's the same shit. 7am. There's traffic. And some ass clown crashed into someone. I wouldn't expect anything less. There was probably another shooting in Oakland and no suspects. What's new there? And what over paid no talent ass hat rapper got beef with who now? There's your news folks. Oh I forgot. Economy sucks, people are jobless, homeless, fat but yet starving. And the S&P is minus a few points. Maybe Toyota has another recall. That's the news. Having a T.V is like having a land line telephone. There's no need! It's obsolete.

There's the internet. All the same bullshit news, tons of porn! Music for days. Social media if you're into that time consuming, brain cell draining bullshit.
So my question is. What have you been reading lately? Personally I've read a shit load in the past 6 weeks. I read like a special ed kid by the way. I wish I could read like that robot from Short Circuit. That would be sweet! There is so much cool stuff to read. And I'm not talking about audio books you lazy ass. Put down the soda and fries and pick up a bloody book!
I Finished up Teaming with Microbes. Worms East My Garbage (for the 3rd time). Holy Cows & Hog Heaven and Folks, this ain't normal by Joel Salatin. Next on the list is one by Will Allen. He is to me as the Kardashian's are to suburbanites. The cerebral lazy if you will.

Then it's onto, Holy Shit by Gene Logsdon. He's actually got a few things he's written that I'm really anxious to read. I need to finish up a few John Jeavons books too. I'm thinking I want to take one of his 3 day workshops. In order to take one of those work shops. They do have required reading. Which might sound of cult like to some. But on the other hand. John has been practicing and studying his craft for 40+ years. What he is doing is completely against the grain and not common practice. The required reading is justifiable.

Here are some links that you can use as a resource. You might find it resourceful for more than one thing.
Note: Google the name, Will Allen. Watch read, and mentally process everything on this guy. I saw him and Joel Salatin at this farmers conference in Grass Valley. Mind blowing stuff! Will deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. And such a gentle giant. The dudes huge!
 Now, if you're going to rot your brains with T.V. Watch some shit with some substance. Sorry all you Star Wars nerds. This might not strike a cord with you.

There! That should keep you busy for the next month if not longer.