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: