Why is Dirt so Important
Today we pick up where left off in our Makin’ Dirt Series. Always remember with any type of food production, What goes in the dirt Goes on the table. We’ll get into this aspect of food production a little deeper in part 3 of this series.
Some plants of the Brassica Family, like broccoli and cauliflower need boron (found in borax). Be sure to do a soil test to see if your soil needs boron. If it does, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon over 100 linear feet.
22. Bat guano
Whether fresh or dry, bat poo adds a heavy dose of nitrogen to the soil. It acts fast and has very little odor. It also helps enrich the soil and help with drainage and texture. Add it directly to the soil or make a bat guano tea!
23. Rabbit droppings
Bunny poo has a high concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as other trace minerals. It can be added directly into the soil or added to your compost pile. Bunny Poo Tea can be made using a 5-gallon bucket, a shovel full of rabbit pellets, add water, and let steep for two days. Water the soil when it’s ready!
24. Chicken feathers
Feathers from your backyard chickens add nitrogen to your compost pile, and eventually, the garden. First, put them into your compost pile to let them decompose.
Lobster, shrimp, and crab shells provide nutrients, including phosphorus. However, the bacteria that breaks them down is even more important! Simmer the shells for 20 to the minutes in boiling water. Drain well. Put them in a food dehydrator or oven until dry. Crush the shells with a mortar and pestle. Add to your compost pile or directly into the soil.
26. Baking Soda
In order to sweeten tomatoes and discourage pests, lightly sprinkle baking soda on your soil.
Compost is a great soil amendment and provides nutrients and micro-organisms to your soil. The microorganisms make the nutrients available for the plants to take up.
However, some research is showing that compost teas are ineffective. Basically, it is watering down the nutrients in the compost, and doesn’t make it any more available to the plants to take up.
Alfalfa is commonly used as part of livestock feed. However, alfalfa meal is simply ground up so that it breaks down faster. This particular fertilizer has low amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. As a result, alfalfa meal works fairly slow. The best use for this fertilizer is as a soil amendment in the early spring prior to planting crops.
The stinging hairs of the nettle plant may deter you from using this bad boy, but if you can stand it, put your harvest into a 5-gallon bucket, and cover them with water. In 3 to 4 weeks, you’ll have wonderful plant food for your garden.
30. Hydrogen Peroxide
Your plants’ roots will thank you for a little extra oxygen. Mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups of water. Water your plant’s roots with the solution.
31. Pine needles or Straw
Adding pine needles supplies nitrogen to your soil. It also adds bulk that will bring in the beneficial microbes to help break them down.
32. Blood Meal
Add crucial nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen to the soil by using blood meal to promote healthy plant growth. Want to make your own blood meal? You can! Gather the blood. If you’re a woman, use your menstrual blood by collecting it in a menstrual
cup. You can gather it from your meals, or from butchering some of your animals, too.
Either way, pour the blood onto a baking sheet. Put it into a 375° oven. Keep it in the oven until all the blood is completely dry, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Scrape the dried blood off the baking sheet and into a container. Use a mortar and pestle to ground the
blood into a fine powder.
33. Fish Emulsion
Fish emulsion fertilizer is high in nitrogen but pretty stinky! It is also very acidic and should be used lightly to avoid burning plants. Fish emulsion nonetheless acts immediately once it is applied, which makes it a good treatment for leafy greens that are suffering from low nitrogen levels. Be sure to experiment. Some plants may not tolerate it very well. There is a recipe below! I’ll also add, if you are a Tropical Fish enthusiast, you already have fish emulsion. When performing your regular water changes this is the best water your plants will ever get…they will absolutely live you fir it! !! (I will discuss more on this and bone meal for certain crops in part 3 of the series)
34. Ground oyster shells
You may or may not have access to oyster shells, but they are a slow-release fertilizer to keep your garden healthy. Crush them into small pieces and bury them in the garden. The calcium carbonate in the shells will make the soil alkaline. Again, make sure you
know your soil before adding this amendment.
35. Nut Shells
Pop the nut in your mouth and toss the shell into the garden. It’s a win-win! Nut shells add bulk, which will allow water and nutrients to get to the plant roots. Microbes will be super-happy with your discarded shells.
How do you combine these wonderful fertilizers into asuper-mix?
Go back to what your soil and plants need. Grab a 55-gallon plastic container or trashcan with a
lid. Add your ingredients, and let it sit for 3 to 4 weeks, or longer depending on your climate.
Spread it over your garden. The microbes will thank you! (Speaking of microbes in the part 3 we’ll discuss the microbial elements if your growing mediums and how important they are)
How much and how often do you fertilize?
It really depends on the plant, the time in the season, and what fertilizer you’re using. If you are
using a commercial organic fertilizer, always read the instructions and follow them to the letter.
If you’re making your own liquid fertilizer, test it on a few plants to see how they do. Start with
a weak mix with a ratio 1:10, and gradually increase it to full-strength, especially if youre adding it to soil without plants.
Keep the timing in mind, too. You wouldn’t put a nitrogen fertilizer on your tomatoes when
they are flowering. If your soil needs it, boost your tomatoes with phosphorus to promote more
flowering and fruit setting.
Once the growing season is in full swing, you’ll want to add fertilizer every four weeks or so.
Watch your plants. They’ll tell you when it’s time to fertilize again.
Until Next Time