Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Section Two: Chapter 6 Fast Track Healthy Plant Action








Section One: The "Dirt" Part

  • Chapter 1: To Be Decided Later . . .
  • Chapter 2: Raw Material to Produce Nutrient-dense Soil With
  • Chapter 3: Did We Forget To Plan Ahead For Use of Our Soil?
  • Chapter 4: Let's Build It!
  • Chapter 5: Making Certain It "Works"!
  • Chapter 6: Working Pile Maintenance
  • Chapter 7: Harvesting Our New Soil!
  • Chapter 8: Storing and Placing New Soil
  • Chapter 9: Prepping The New & Refurbished Grow Bed
  • Chapter 10: Side Trip: Vermicomposting "Eat Worms"!
  • Chapter 11: Redundance! Too Much Raw Material for Next Build!
  • Chapter 12: Ready? Let's Do This Again!
  • Chapter 13: More Uses for Our Soil!
  • Section One Appendix



Section Two: The "2" Part

·       The "2" Part Introduction
·       Chapter 1: Plants Need the Same Nutrients for Their Health As You!
·       Chapter 2: Let's Begin @ the Start! Planning the Garden You Want
·       Chapter 3: Before Grow Season Plant Propagation? Or Not
·       Chapter 4: Prepping Your New Season Grow Bed(s)
·       Chapter 5: Setting out Early Starts and Seed Planting
·       Chapter 6: Fast Track Healthy Plant Action
·       Chapter 7: Healthy Producing Plants First Need This
·       Chapter 8: Between Planting & Producing Food Plant Care
·       Chapter 9: Betcha Ya Didn't Think About This Mid-Summer!
·       Chapter 10: See Why We Made Careful Plans For Maximum Harvest?
·       Chapter 11: Summer Season End
·       Chapter 12: Fall Harvest
·       Chapter 13: Fall & Winter Planting
·       Chapter 14: Season Wrap & Planning Next Year's Soil & Garden
·       Section Two Appendix


Section Three: The Last Part, er, Cuisine Part

·       Section Three Introduction
·       Chapter One: Why Did We Forget To Do This Part B4 Planting?
·       Chapter Two: Fresh Garden Food Cuisine: Who Can Match?
·       Chapter Three: We Did It! What All This Fresh Food! -Preserving
·       Chapter Four: Sideways Glance; Compare Nutrients In Garden v.s. Store Food
·       Chapter Five: Creating Cuisine Awesome Requires This; Planning
·       Chapter Six: Now! Let's Create Awesome!
·       Chapter Seven: Why Hide Awesome When You Can Do This, Instead?
·       Chapter Eight: Hey! It's Chapter 8!
·       Chapter Nine: This Ain't No Engine # 9!
·       Chapter Ten: Lost References; aka, Old Recipes For Fresh Garden Super Taste!
·       Chapter Eleven: Let's Do This Again! Cuising Roundup Rodeo!
·       Chapter Twelve: Now! Let's Plan Next Year's Cuisine Garden!
·       Section Three Appendix



Interspersed Activities List


Section One: The "Dirt" Part

  • Chapter 1: To Be Decided Later . . .
  1. Taking Stock - Make a notebook with two+ pages for each chapter in this guide. On the first and second page write the name of the chapter activities. Reserve the rest of the space for chapter notes.
  2. Taking Stock: Find or make space(s) to build the compost pile and the finished soil storage area. Note: Be careful to read and follow guides in the chapter! Note 2: At the sight of the compost pile, allow space to put(Stage) raw materials as they arrive so they are ready and close to the pile to save work.
  • Chapter 2: Raw Material to Produce Nutrient-dense Soil With
  1. Gauge how much volume of new soil your growing beds need for one season. Multiply this amount by 4 to see how much raw material is needed.
  2. Let's make an inventory list for the usable raw materials available, where each is located, and if applicable, when available.
  • Chapter 3: Did We Forget To Plan Ahead For Use of Our Soil?
  1. List the plants to be grown in your new soil. Beside each plant name note the soil and environment it best grows in. This can be numbers or letters that are cross referenced to short details for each type of environment and soil. Be sure to make sure the desired plants have their preferred spot available! There's no substitute for 8 hours of full sun!
  2. Determine the type of soil each plant needs and where to obtain the necessary materials.
  • Chapter 4: Let's Build It!
  1. First things, first! If not done already, make sure there is enough of each type of raw material for building each part of the pile. If there is enough first layer material but too little second or third, either wait or place the first layer then wait and collect the next layer material. The build can take all the time necessary to build as material becomes available. However, be sure to follow the "recipe" as it is key for success!
  2. Reread the building guide. Note any differences the pile you are building requires. 
  • Chapter 5: Making Certain It "Works"!
  1. Good Job building! Now, sit back and relax, just a bit. You deserve it! We need the simple temperature gauging tool mentioned in the chapter. Any sturdy metal rod will do. Plastic and fiberglass resist heat so it's best to stick to metal. Remember, the thicker the rod the longer it requires to heat up to the temperature of the pile. Also, the rod will cool the material it touches, so a second placement for thicker rods will be necessary for accurate sense of actual heat.
  2. Two things are "musts" for good decomposing activity: A. The right moisture. B. The right air flow.

    To make the pile wet enough, add water to the pile at about the half-built point, then over the top of the finished pile. Watch the bottom of the pile to tell when the water penetrates the entire pile. We'll call this the "first" watering.

    The second requirement for good success: When the pile is built, cover the top and sides with 1 to 2 inches of sand, sod, or other fine material that will benefit plant health. Do not cover with anything that blocks air or water!
  • Chapter 6: Working Pile Maintenance
  1. After the pile gets hot, in about 5 to 8 days for one with lots of green grass, use the metal temperature gauge rod to check on moisture inside the pile. The heat and air flow are constantly drying the pile. Add small amounts of water and check to be sure it penetrates down to dry spots.
  2. About every three days check the pile heat in several places. The pile with evenly-distributed materials will produce even heat over the whole pile. To increase heat, stand on top and pack it down hard as possible. Once the process is going well, the pile will slowly compress from its own weight. This is the main reason for using small branch material layers that maintain air flow as the pile settles.
  • Chapter 7: Harvesting Our New Soil!
  1. After 12 to 15 days, gauge the internal heat. If it's still well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, allow several more days time, and check again. At 15 days, and the pile is visibly decomposed, dig into a spot for a foot or so to check the material, Black or very dark brown from original green marks complete process. For original "brown" material, black or dark brown AND very water-saturated appearance is a good sign. If the pile dried some, there may be a coating of white fungus. This is a beneficial life form that helps reduce plant material to its nutrient level.
  2. At about 100 degrees F, and the material is visibly soft, dark brown, and well composted, it's ready to filter out the branch material and larger particles that need more breakdown. However, this larger material is fine for filling planting holes for trees. It is well into the decomposing and tree roots love decaying woody material.

    For vegetable beds and plant pots, rake, fork or screen out these larger pieces. Have a spot to shelter or cover the finished soil, if it is to wait before filling grow beds and pots. Rain leaches nutrients out.
  • Chapter 8: Storing and Placing New Soil
  1. Let's step back a minute to take stock of what we've accomplished to this point.

    On your Notes' Worksheet for this chapter list major highlights of your great progress! At this stage you deserve a big pat on the back! Congratulations!

    Now, what's to do with that beautiful pile of nutrient-dense soil you just made? Think of all the possibilities! Matter of fact, Brainstorm a bit and go over your garden plans. Go to YouTube and other video venues to look for and observe new ideas!
  2. Take awhile to dig into possibilities? Always good to be open to change!

    With firmer goals for how to use this great stuff, go do it! First, though, a plan and map might help?
  • Chapter 9: Prepping The New & Refurbished Grow Bed
  1. I hope you decided on something new to add or change up your garden! In any case, now the plan, and map? are in hand, let's go out and get started. For former grow beds, the soil needs turning. Likely earth worms in it are starving, so let's feed them first. As you turn the soil, lift every other fork(or shovel) out and place kitchen wastes, lawn clippings, old half rotted leaves and yard wastes, and, yes! corrugated cardboard(Torn to small pieces) near the bottom of the bed. Water thoroughly.

    Do the same for a new bed - first adding a layer of worm feed at the bottom. The More the better, if it's fairly course. Finer particle feed needs mixing with the bottom layer of new soil so it keeps from matting into a smelly mass.

    The soil should be level with the top of an 8" side grow bed. It settles during the season. Especially so for root crops.
  2. Believe, or don't, your new soil is going to run short of nitrogen quick! Most nitrogen in the new pile was used for decomposition. Get urea, if available. It's the most nitrogen for the buck at 46% available nitrogen. Just add it to the side of new plants or seedlings. For seed planting, wait to add nitrogen till the second to 6th week after germination, then side dress along the side, or between rows. It's really amazing to watch those plants leap up!

    During the 6th to 8th week, again side dress nitrogen. Cover it with an inch of soil and water in well. Careful! The tender roots die in direct contact to urea!
  • Chapter 10: Side Trip: Vermicomposting "Eat Worms"!
  1. OK, OK! Don't Eat worms! This activity begins with searching on YouTube, or getting books at the library, or Amazon, about vermicomposting. There's even a website named "vermicomposting"!

    The things you learn will amaze you! Actually, the feeding, care and working earth worms for soil production is easy. Like all livestock these little critters need habitat, feed, water and nutrition to remain healthy. Yes, they can get diseases and die rapidly, but not if we do common sense care.

    Make notes from what you learn, and see if vermicomposting in any part of the garden will work.
  2. Ready to start worm farming? Great! Grab a piece of paper and pencil. Go out and scope out the available garden space that seems suitable. Read this chapter for the specific requirements. Have them?

    Decide how much feed you have available every week of the year. The size of worm bin is determined by this amount. Find a ready source of any earth worm available. Red Wrigglers are popular, but not necessary. Find a farm with a muddy barnyard and you've got manure worms, a hardy species that loves rotting stuff!

    Tear up enough corrugated cardboard to make a three to five inch covering on the bottom of the bin, followed by fine sand for digestion grit, then a layer of earthy soil mixed with the feed you have on hand. Water until sopping wet. The porous base of the bin allows excess water to drain. Spread the worms over the surface. Add a layer of feed then sprinkle with fine sand, then a layer of cardboard, then just soil about an inch thick to prevent drying.

    After four days, use a fork to dig into the bin and turn a forkful over. There should be a lot of happy, wriggling worms! If not, but all looks  good, just wait a week and repeat. If not by then, look for dry matter, feed too rotted and clumped, or worms migrated to another part. The bottom layer of cardboard allows water through, but the worms will not wiggle out before they feast on all that delicious cardboard!
  • Chapter 11: Redundance! Too Much Raw Material for Next Build!
  1. Often I find that people I request to bring their kitchen wastes, yard debris and all the raw material I have from the garden amounts to quite a bit more than there is room for the pile! Not to worry! Just build the next pile to the size it should be, and left overs can wait for the next build. Just add a bit less to the staging area, or if it's near season's end, take it all, and there's enough for an additional Fall pile build.
  2. During Winter, find and bring "brown" material to the staging area, Half rotted is great! In the late Winter, up to very early Spring, make your first build of the new year. Be ready for another pile as people and you generate Spring cleaning material. Make a list of suppliers and some idea of quantity expected from each. It's better to say "No" before they arrive with too much!
  • Chapter 12: Ready? Let's Do This Again!
  1. This is a bit redundant! I include this chapter to point out that producing good soil is a continual activity limited only by the time you give to it. Doing it for several years, or cycles, gives you a handle on making it work best for how you need it to fit with you gardening. I do caution, however, go slowly! It's easy to burn out doing too much too soon! The lifting and moving is WORK! It's time consuming, too. Enjoy it rather than endure it!
  2. Let's take a break here. Grab that notepad and go over the entire cycle. Update notes and make new ones that tailor this activity to your own gardening.

    You may find it helpful here to peek into the next section. it is focused on the plants. This soil production is all about that, so be smart and peek!

    Make notes, too!
  • Chapter 13: More Uses for Our Soil!
  1. Yup, yup. There's many uses for this soil! Sell it! Fill pots. share with the neighbor! Donate it, and then your new skill set to a community garden. Go to a local garden group and teach them! Make their soil!
  2. This activity is searching for ways to use your soil. Since we covered vermicomposting too, search ways to use that soil. Learn how to add it to the soil you produce, too. Then go share all this with the neighbor!
  • Section One Appendix



Section Two: The "2" Part

·       The "2" Part Introduction
·       Chapter 1: Plants Need the Same Nutrients for Their Health As You!
·       Chapter 2: Let's Begin @ the Start! Planning the Garden You Want
·       Chapter 3: Before Grow Season Plant Propagation; Or Not
·       Chapter 4: Prepping Your New Season Grow Bed(s)
·       Chapter 5: Setting out Early Starts and Seed Planting
·       Chapter 6: Fast Track Healthy Plant Action
·       Chapter 7: Healthy Producing Plants First Need This
·       Chapter 8: Between Planting & Producing Food Plant Care
·       Chapter 9: Betcha Ya Didn't Think About This Mid-Summer!
·       Chapter 10: See Why We Made Careful Plans For Maximum Harvest?
·       Chapter 11: Summer Season End
·       Chapter 12: Fall Harvest
·       Chapter 13: Fall & Winter Planting
·       Chapter 14: Season Wrap & Planning Next Year's Soil & Garden
·       Section Two Appendix


Section Three: The Last Part, er, Cuisine Part

·       Section Three Introduction
·       Chapter One: Why Did We Forget To Do This Part B4 Planting?
·       Chapter Two: Fresh Garden Food Cuisine: Who Can Match?
·       Chapter Three: We Did It! What All This Fresh Food! -Preserving
·       Chapter Four: Sideways Glance; Compare Nutrients In Garden v.s. Store Food
·       Chapter Five: Creating Cuisine Awesome Requires This; Planning
·       Chapter Six: Now! Let's Create Awesome!
·       Chapter Seven: Why Hide Awesome When You Can Do This, Instead?
·       Chapter Eight: Hey! It's Chapter 8!
·       Chapter Nine: This Ain't No Engine # 9!
·       Chapter Ten: Lost References; aka, Old Recipes For Fresh Garden Super Taste!
·       Chapter Eleven: Let's Do This Again! Cuising Roundup Rodeo!
·       Chapter Twelve: Now! Let's Plan Next Year's Cuisine Garden!
·       Section Three Appendix

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