By supporting your soil and its systems, you will attain a state of productive sustainability.
Gardeners use up a lot of natural resources and simply adding NPK fertilizer isn't going to make up for it. One of the most important things you can do to make your garden productive and sustainable is to put attention and effort into soil building - the building of your tilth. Tilth building takes work and effort and some investment now, but will really pay off in the future. You'll have a garden producing in sync with nature, and your plants will produce food that is more nutrient dense.
We will go over composting, animal manures, green manures, cover cropping, soil layers and structures, mulching, subsoiling, tilling, and using mushrooms. We will also talk about herbal amendments, foliar sprays, kelp, garden teas, compost tea, manure tea and other ways to increase or adjust soil nutrients. You'll leave the workshop with an understanding of these various techniques as well as some hands-on experience on applying these techniques to your garden or farm.
We usually offer this workshop every other year for one of the first Saturdays in June. (If it is very rainy, we will reschedule for the next day.) Workshop is 3 hours long.
Instead of only focusing on the health and vibrancy of our plants in our garden we should instead focus on the soil itself. If you don't have healthy, vibrant soil, you'll be forever struggling to keep your plants healthy and vibrant and productive.
Plants enjoy tea too! Just as with human skin, plants can absorb many nutrients through the pores on their leaves. Plant teas are applied by spraying the plants foliar areas with nutrient dense brewed liquid fertilizer - or tea. We'll go over the basics of brewing plants teas made from aged manures, compost, and various herbs. And we'll also discuss the Biodynamic 500 prep. Making your own teas is simple and easy. The cost is minimal. And the whole process is so much more clean, graceful, and effective than buying expensive commercial fertilizers. Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm.
4) Hot, Killer Compost
By turning the compost pile every 5-10 days, you can build up a tremendous amount of cooking heat within the pile. This heat, which can reach 130 -140°F, kills most weed seeds as well as soil pathogens. You can have ready-to-use compost in 6-8 weeks! I never use this method though – I feel it kills and sterilizes too much out of my compost.
Manure Management – It is important to be careful when using manure or composted manure in your vegetable garden. Follow the “90/120 rule:” don’t apply manure less than 90 days before you plan to harvest a crop that grows off the ground (tomatoes) or 120 days before you plan to harvest a crop that grows on/against the ground (lettuce). Applying manure to a field or garden in the Autumn makes a lot of sense.
1) Deliberate Style Compost
Collect organic materials; layer the materials in a pile, alternating “green” and “brown” types. Maintain adequate moisture. Monitor and turn as needed.
“Green” materials provide nitrogen to your pile and include grass clippings, food scraps, rotten vegetables, weeds, cut or uprooted plants from the garden, animal manures, etc. “Brown” materials provide carbon and include dry leaves, straw, grain stalks, or other dried plant material from the garden.
Once you have built your layers, your pile will go through hot and cold phases and gradually shrink in size.
An effective compost plan:
2) Free Form Style Compost
This is fine and also makes quality compost. This would be where you would add anything you find to your pile and just keep turning as needed and continuing to add. You'll find that you will want to eventually stop adding new material and let some fully compost as you start a new pile...
3) Biodynamically Fortified Compost
Adding Herb-Based Biodynamic Compost Preparations to the compost pile.