In Steve Solomon’s book “Gardening When it Counts” he shows a very simple recipe for compost tea. Take a shovel of compost, throw into a bucket and then fill with water. Stir daily and then apply to the garden after one week.
We’re giving it a go here on our homestead.
Compost tea is a great, natural fertilizer. Ben Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That applies in this case because compost tea is a superfood for plants. Healthy plants grow strong and provide more nutritious food for us humans to eat. Healthy plants are also better resistant to drought, insects and other problems.
This reminds me of an interesting story my boss at work told me. The 2011 growing season was a bad one for apricots at the farm where I work. A lot of preventative work had been done using organically certified fertilizers, fungicides and pest controls. About the time the crop should have been ready to harvest (the trees were almost bare) my boss looked across the fence. A neighbor had a few acres of apricots and they had been badly neglected for years. No pruning, fertilization, or even watering was done. Those trees were absolutely loaded with fruit! It was as if mother nature was saying “you can’t outsmart me!” Needless to say, we made drastic changes for the 2012 growing season. We’re not doing anything but applying compost tea (a much more technical recipe and process to brew that what I’ve described above, however) through the foliar sprayer. Guess what? Now our trees are loaded with fruit!
Here’s to a successful 2012 growing season!
Posted in Gardening
Tagged apricots, Ben Franklin quote, compost, compost tea, DIY, fertigation, fertility, fertilizer, fungicide, Gardening When It Counts, How to, natural fertilizer, nature, ounce of prevention, pest control, plants, preventative work, prevention, Steve Solomon
Here’s a picture of our pile. We’re following the layering approach to incorporate all kitchen scraps between layers of straw, soil, garden waste and aged compost or soil.
The white bucket has a tight fitting lid and sits beneath our kitchen sink. Each time I empty it on the pile I add a layer of straw on top in an attempt to trap some of the moisture. The fencing panels are in place to keep out the neighborhood dogs that visit during the night for a snack.
When making your own compost, we find it is best to just get weird. Lots of people throw away things that they consider junk or garbage. But it isn’t. The winter reading Courtney and I have been doing has motivated us to capitalize on a lot of this free soil fertility.
We’re bringing in some manure, and there are still plenty of people that give it away. And they smile as you drive off, probably thinking “that sucker just took a load of crap off my hands”. We smile, thinking the same thing, because that crap is loaded with nutrients that will grow high quality veggies for our family.
Courtney’s latest score is fish. There is a man who posted an ad for free fish on Craigslist. And he’ll even deliver. I can’t wait to see it for myself, but we’ll be burying trenches full of carp. This particular variety of carp is considered an invasive species in our area and is being selectively harvested for that reason.