Transition Whatcom


"Care for the earth's thin layer of soil & the microorganism within."

"Each garden-farm site is different. Everyone has an opinion. There is more than one way to feed the soil life."

 "Add Organic Matter" to your compost & to the soil!"  

                                    -Heather K

 

First step for new gardeners -

*Start composting your kitchen scraps and go to the local farmer's coop and ask for help choosing organic ferilizers.

(I buy mine seperate & then mix together, but for small gardens you can purchase pre-mixed for a bit higher cost).

*Learn by observation, attending a class, and reading books from your favorite 'organics & beyond' author....and keep in mind the future will have less resources shipped by oil-based transportation.

* Obtain a soil test on any new soil you are garden-farming.

 

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"Soil Test Labs & Resources for Soil Nourishment"- Blog - http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/soil-testing-resou... 

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Fertilizer & Soil Nourishment Sources (NPK & beyond)

N- (Nitrogen)- Manure, fishmeal, cottonseed meal, blood meal, bat poo,

 

P- (Phosphorus) - rock phosphate (mined & limited earth resource - stores well), bone meal, bat quano, comfrey & herbal compost teas

 

K- (Potassium) - Greensand (mined from the earth & stores well), kelpmeal

 

Calcium - lime both powered & granuales. Some also contain magnesium

 

Micronutrients - Kelp meal, seaweed, herbal composted teas, azomite (mined from earth & stores well)

 

Azomite or 'rock dust'- Great for its trace minerals!
This is a mined product from ancient sea beds, so it will get harder to obtain as time goes on. I would only use this if you are confident your soil microrganisms can integrate it into the soil tilth so this valuable mineral won't get washed back down to the sea.

 

Worm Castings & Worms for soil tilth & tillage & fertility!

The castings (or poo) are great whether you cultivate them in your soil, or grow the worms in a box, seperate, and add the castings to your potting mix, transplants, or foiler-feed-compost-tea-brew for spray!

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ONLINE RESOURCE LIST:

 

Soil & Health Yahoo group with Steve Solomon  

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/soilandhealth/

""This list was started in December, 2005, in response to the concern many are coming to feel about the sustainability of industrial farming systems, especially as we enter the era of post-peak-oil. Wide ranging discussions about the most suitable farming and gardening methods for an era that will require lowering inputs while maximizing the nutritional outcomes. This group is gently moderated by Steve Solomon, author of 9 published vegetable gardening books, the most recent three being "Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades," 1999, "Growing Vegetables South of Australia," 2002, and "Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times," 2006 (February).""

 

Soil & Health Online Library

http://www.soilandhealth.org/

This is a Free Digitalized Library with four major subject areas:

Radical Agriculture, Restoration & Maintenance of Health, Achieving Personal Sovereignty, and Achieving Spiritual Freedom.

Per Farmer Walter H:  " Steve Solomon needs support for his efforts and he usually asks for 10 Euros. I sent him $20 US in bills in an envelope "(yr-2010)", and I got a quick confirmation. This allows me to download as many ag books from the library as I want. I heartily recommend supporting Steve."

 

There are many other websites to do research on & post.

 

Favorite books on soil:

The Soul of Soil - A Guide to Ecological Soil Management - by Grace Gerhsuny & Joseph Smillie (temperate climate & organic science perspective)

 

The One-Straw Revolution - Masanobu Fukuoka (natural farming & perspective of cooperating with nature rather than trying to control or improve nature).

http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/

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I'm starting resource forum/discussion to organize our resources &  information around what type of fertilizers to use that are often used by organic gardeners/growers/farmers.....(both with perspective to what is available now, and what will be available in the future)

 

I would enjoy if anyone wanted to write a blog summary of all the various N-P-K & micronutrient sources there are available, and then cross-post here.

* There is a small network of us who use Bio-Dynamic Preparations for our compost building & soil & plant nourishments, and who are moving towards applying Natural Farming methods as taught by Masanobu Fukuoka.  If you are interested in learning with us, leave me a message.

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***Farmer Walter suggestions below for a complete organic fertilizer (3/7/11)

However I myself would be very wary of adding an exta Potassium in the form of greensand or langbeinite (sul-po-mag) before obtaining a soil test. 

I would also not add dolimate lime without a soil test in our Cascadia soils (HK)  ***

You can read his 2013 thoughts in his book "The Laws of Physics Are On My Side" -Chapter 10 pg 133-157.

Walter's 2011 quote from his TW blog: “Since I suggest not buying commercial compost, here is how to make a wheelbarrow's worth of complete organic fertilizer. This is Steve Solomon's recipe, with a couple of modifications. Steve suggests kelp meal as a potassium source that also provides trace minerals. I use both greensand and langbeinite (sul-po-mag) and double the amounts. Solomon's recipe also measures by volume. I just weighed the appropriate volumes and converted to poundage.

1) Buy a 50# bag of seed meal. This is for nitrogen (N). Currently I use soy meal, which has its downside as probably a GMO source (since 95% of soybeans in this country are GMO's). You can also use cottonseed meal, but this has a lot more pesticides in it than feedgrade soy meal and is more expensive. Pour the seedmeal into your wheelbarrow.
2) Add 10# of steamed bonemeal. This is for phosphorus (P). Some people may quibble about bonemeal because of the prion problem, but it is unlikely you will get any of it, in any appreciable quantities, in this country. If you want to use rock phosphate, use 50#, as it only has 20% as much available phosphorus as bonemeal.
3) Add 5# greensand and 5# langbeinite (sul-po-mag). This adds potassium (K), as well as trace minerals. The langbeinite also adds sulfur and magnesium which, along with calcium, provides the next tier of necessary nutrients for plants.

4) Add 3 quarts of ag lime. This is just calcium and is available either prilled or in flour form. Either one is okay. DO NOT USE QUICKLIME - the kind you use to clean your drains.

5) Add 2 quarts of dolomite lime. This is usually prilled and is half magnesium and half calcium.
6) Add 1 quart gypsum. This adds sulfur as well as calcium.
7) Mix the ingredients thoroughly in your wheelbarrow with a garden hoe. WEAR A FACE MASK as the lime especially raises a lot of dust. Just because it is organic does not mean you should breathe it in.
8) Scoop the fertilizer into buckets or recycled kitty litter containers. Cover it and it will keep for months. For most gardens, a wheelbarrow's worth of fertilizer is all you should need.
9) The rating on this fertilizer is about 4-4-3, although the rating system is for chemical sources.
Source of comment- http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-problem-with...? From Farmer Walters TW blog.
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***  If you click on the "Follow" button you'll receive an email notice of any future replies to this discussion- sign on to your WT site and scroll down   ***

 

Tags: amendments, biodynamic, compost, fertilizer, nourishement, prepartions, soil, testing

Views: 334

Replies to This Discussion

Azomite or 'rock dust'- Great for its trace minerals!
This is a mined product from ancient sea beds, so it will get harder to obtain as time goes on. I would only use this if you are confident your soil microrganisms can integrate it into the soil tilth so this valuable mineral won't get washed back down to the sea.

"Trace Mineral Amendment- This natural fertilizer (described in Secrets of the Soil as "rock dust") is actually an ancient deposit of aluminum silicate clay and marine minerals. In use for over 50 years as a source of available potash (0.2%) and over 70 trace minerals, including calcium (1.8%), sodium (0.1%), and magnesium (0.5%). Apply at .25-2 tons/acre, or .25-2 lb/10 sq ft. Use as an annual top dressing on citrus trees, where soil pH is 6.5 or lower, at 5 lb/tree, or 15 lb on blight-stricken trees. Azomite can also used in animal feeds at a rate of 0.5% of feed mixture, as a trace mineral supplement and a natural anti-caking agent." per

Sources & Websites:
Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply
http://www.groworganic.com/item_F040_Azomite_44_lb_Micronized.html?...
(44# - $30 & shipping)
Or share a bulk order through a local nursery.
Site of a company who "owns" the name 'azomite' http://www.azomite.com/
Worm Castings & Worms for soil tilth & tillage & fertility!

The castings (or poo) are great whether you cultivate them in your soil, or grow the worms in a box, seperate, and add the castings to your potting mix, transplants, or foiler-feed-compost-tea-brew for spray!

May 2010 update- new family business by J & S Bossman out on East Smith (Guide & Hannagan) where they are growing & selling worm castings in small sizes and bulk!

Anyone else want to go in on an order and help with pick up and distribution?
Leave me a comment on my TW page.

I'll be starting out with a 25 # box for $15 to look it over for quality.

They posted their prices on Craigslist.
http://bellingham.craigslist.org/grd/1735442093.html

"SOLD IN 1 POUND BAGS AT $1 EACH .
AVAILABLE IN 25 POUND, 1CU FT BOX AS SHOWN FOR $15.
ALSO BY THE PALLET, 1 CU YARD PRE-PACKED IN 27 BOXES FOR $400.
LARGER QUANTITIES NEGOTIABLE. 360-398-7444 "

Thanks to Jamie J for this lead on a local supplier!

Also, be sure to learn to grow & seperate your own worm castings!
Maybe Riley M. will start an educational discussion on this sometime, our favorite Mr. Worm-guy at the Great Unleashing!

Soil testing.

Does anyone know how to get soil testing done to help determine what amendments to add?

Who does soil testing? What do you test for? ETC...

Soil Testing Labs:

Logan Labs http://www.loganlabs.com/testing-services.html

Spectrum Analytic http://www.spectrumanalytic.com/services/analysis/agsoil.html

(These two labs are listed in Steve Solomon's“The Intelligent Gardener')

 

I don't know anyone locally - yet, who has initiated a small business, that would travel to a garden-farm, deliver the soil test, analyze the results, and then provide & apply the soil amendments to move towards greater balance.....and return to also provide foliar sprays on crops.

 

"Care for the earth's thin layer of soil & the microorganism within."

"Each garden-farm site is different.

   Everyone has an opinion. There is more than one way to feed the soil life."

 "Add Organic Matter" to your compost & to the soil!"  

  - Heather K

I'll share more info later in a blog form.

Or come out for a working & sharing visit to our edible forest-garden pollinator-sanctuary that is slowly rewilding.  I can share on site what we use for personal farm mix for soil amendments, and we can mix some batches up together.

More info: Soil Test Lab recommendation I received from Farmer Billy of Moondance http://www.al-labs-west.com/sections/anservices/soil/fees   He uses A & Labs in Portland. “They  have a pretty quick turn around and will give organic recommendations  if requested. They also offer graphical analysis and will email you the results. There are different fees depending on how detailed of an analysis you want but I order the S3C complete usually. Call them and they will walk you through it."

Friends, please share your results.

"Soil Test Labs & Resources for Soil Nourishment" blog completed:

http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/soil-testing-resou...

I just got the basic 500-507 biodynamic preparations for the first time for my compost. The instructions say to either add them as I build the pile or pour them down holes into a completed pile. Fine. But then it goes on to say don't ever put preps in/on a hot compost pile. Well my piles heat up. I'm inclined just to put 'em in there and see how it goes, but it occurred to me maybe I should just wait till the pile cools down. Does anybody know?

Check with Brian Kerkvliet, he's our local biodynamics wizard.

Laura, re Bd Preps 500-507.  Their instructions are referring to a newly completed pile built the same day, or a a pile you are gradually building.  

When they say don't use on a hot pile, that referrs to not using on a pile built in the past, that is in its peak heating phase.

 There are other preps that can be sprayed on the top coating of a compost pile.

Best way to learn biodynamic preperation making & useage, is to work with someone using the preps when the pile is being built, and when the preps are being make.  Let Brian at Inspiration know you'd like to be put on his email list to be invited to future biodynamic classes, or to work together with us when he does some BD work.

There is also an email list for BD garden farmers connected with training days & prep making days on Lopez Island.

Thanks!

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