I’ve been using rockdust as part of my soil balancing strategy, as well as an ingredient in my potting mixes. In addition I’ve been mixing rockdust into my poutry food, adding it to my wormeries, and compost heaps, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been using the rockdust in a liquid suspension, to water my plants, and as a foliar spray.
Like many people here in the UK I’ve been sowing seeds. I give myself extra work by growing almost all of my early plants in modules. This keeps my plants away from slugs, voles, birds, and the worst of the weather, and allows me to give the optimum tmperature for germination using electric propagators. In fact if I had been sowing seeds outside this Spring I’m not sure how many would have made it. As well as needing a bit more work, sowing seeds in modules, rather than sowing them directly in the ground, creates the need for a suitable growing medium. I had read a book which suggested that mixing dried cow manure and river sand makes a good seed sowing compost, but I don’t have either to hand. In the past I have relied on bought in ‘multi purpose’, sieved and mixed with sand, but with the volume of seedlings that I grow, and the trees and shrubs in pots, this is expensive, not particularly ‘green’, and may in fact be responsible for creating some of the disease problems that seedlings suffer from. This year I have made some changes to the way that I go about sowing seeds.
I like to use compost tea to soak seeds, and to water seeds in when planting, especially in modules. At this time of year the temperature is too low to create a decent compost tea, so how do we achieve the same results?
I pre -germinate all of my larger seeds by soaking them for up to 12 hours, and then setting them on damp kitchen paper. That allows me to only use seeds that have shown themselves as viable. This saves empty spaces in pots and modules.
I prefer to use actively aerated compost tea in the soak water, to get a healthy bunch of soil microbes coating the seed and root prior to planting out. For smaller seeds I tend to use compost tea to water the seeds initially to achieve the same effect.
For a really basic explanation take a look at the Compost Tea Link. Alternatively there is a lot of information about compost tea in the archives.
I have been reading books on Traditional Indian Agricultural practises, in order to improve the way that I maintain my soil fertility. Combining this knowledge, with what I already know, and what I’ve read about Chinese methods, should see another boost in fertility, and hopefully plant health. What I am learning, and the way that I am applying that knowledge is still developing, but there are some things that I can share now.
It’s that time of year again, where everything needs doing now, and I find out all of the things that I didn’t get done over the Winter. Having not posted for about three weeks, there is also a log jam of things to write about, but rather than try and catch up with everthing in one post, I’ll explain why I’ve not been keeping up with the blog bits here, and then try and put the other stuff into shorter posts, by category.