Thursday, February 22, 2007

Holding pattern

We're ready for spring, which means gardening, but the weather isn't.

So this weekend we're going to buy the ingredients for "complete organic fertilizer". Here's the basic recipe:

Making the organic fertilizer
To concoct the fertilizer mix, measure out all
materials by volume: that is, by the scoop, bucketful, jarful, etc. Proportions
that vary by 10 percent either way will be close enough, but do not attempt to
make this formula by weight. An old 5-gallon plastic bucket will allow you to
stir up about 14 quarts.
Mix uniformly, in parts by volume:
4 parts seed
1/4 part ordinary agricultural lime, best finely ground
1/4 part
gypsum (or double the agricultural lime)
1/2 part dolomitic lime
for best results:
1 part bone meal, rock phosphate or high-phosphate guano
1/2 to 1 part kelp meal (or 1 part basalt dust)

The founder of Territorial Seeds, Steve Solomon, invented it, and we're trying some of the gardening methods from his book Gardening When it Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times. He calls for a hybrid between raised beds and old-fashioned rows, that should use less water if you have the space to spread out a bit. We'll spread the fertilizer, plus some aged compost (we finally "grew" some!) to hopefully turn lawn into food-happy soil.

The hens have been doing wonders scratching up the turned sod, and we're getting between 5 and 8 eggs a day from 8 hens. We'll have to rein them in once we have the garden tilled, but the pasture is starting to green up and we'll be letting them free-range out there soon.

There is a Small Farm Expo at the Enumclaw fairgrounds March 24th. Not sure if we can make it, but it sounds like a fun place to learn. They will have steers from a Dexter farm there, and tree sales from a nursery we love, Burnt Ridge.

Hopefully we'll have exciting pictures to share this know, more critters, some dirt, homebrew...the usual!

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