A nicnriuncj el a d pi

will rest numerous varieties of. in my case, vegetables, before d<\ idin. what seeds to sell, and the trials grounds are where these tests rake placr My fit.t trials ground was a half-acre plot that grew a lor more vegetable, than w< could eat. 1 also continued the family garden to produce kinds of vegetable: that would nor be tested in the trials that year.

In 1980 and 1981 1 mainly ate the trials. In 1982 the business did better After the sales season ended in June, I decided the business could spare $7 000 for my year's salary. But I had lived through 1981 spending only $4,000 on absolute necessities (and property taxes), so 1 put $3,000 ol that $7,000 into my savings account as a reserve against really hard times and did another year on $4,000. When my once-a-year payday came around again in June 1983.1 looked at the books and realized that I had finally created a profitable business So 1 began taking $1,000 a month and doubled that the next year. My lurd times were over.

From mid-1980 through mid-1983, most of the food my household ate was vegetables, supplemented by some apples from our old orchard and helped out at breakfast most mornings by blackberries, picked during high summer, stored in a rust-speckled old chest freezer in the woodshed, and blended with frozen bananas, bought as "overripe* at super bargain prices Money was so tight that when the germination percentage of the seed com panys bean seeds dropped below what was ethical to sell. Id bring those seed up to the house and wed cook them. The food we purchased during those years was the odd bit of brown rice or millet, sometimes a chunk of ordir.un Cheese, some real Jersey butter or milk from the nun down the toad, ol.u o. and vinegar for salad dressings, and in winter, oranges or grapefruit no» --l-en. but only by the hill box and only when «ally cheap. 1 bough' enou,; gasoline to go to town twice a month, paid the land taxes, purely , the ; ■ bit of clothing at the Salvation Army, bough, a chunk of beef about otne month when Id crave it. ,f you need

The point of this story is that you too can oat that ' ^ ' ^

I could do It again cob. if I needed to. And .n terms of health better off if we did. „ . „ c a

Prom that time up to the day I write these w^rds ' ■"«' ^^ \Ut vegetableataruu. But in these prosperous, easv living - r f ^

century, 1 do not make 80 percent of my diet come fn»m t e v.


at lord to. and do, buy some food 1 can't grow. To supplement my own apples we ll bus an ocv. asional mango or ripe pineapple from Queensland and the odd avoi.uto at sale price. I can afford the best olive oil and occasionally some mighty tancy cheese. But tor health and for the simple joys of eating delicious food. I still grow about half our kitchens input based on total calories consumed. and more than half measured by cost. You can do that or more, and you will be tar better for it it you do.


I assume many of you are reading my book because you seriously need ro make a food garden, scarring just as soon as you can put some seeds or seedlings into the earth. I assume you can't afford cosdy mistakes and wasted efforts. But these days, few people have had the good fortune to grow up on the land, so new vegetable gardeners have to catch up on some basics.

What is a vegetable?

Every vegetable we eat was once a barely edible wild plant. As we humans improved that wild plant, its ability ro compete was reduced. Vegetables become oversized weaklings unable to best their ancestors, who remain :he

WlIT guerilla fighters narure demands of its survivors.

A landscape may appear beautifo1 and serene, but look closely: a here, is going on. Each plant is trying to overcome or outwit its nc;gr,x>r, ^ggling to control light', moisture, and space. The scene seems pcvehiionJy because the action is in slow motion and you are seeing the winners ot m°ment.

, O« viable, lack the survival slolls wild plants »11 have Wild ^ ^ how ro toughen uP and conserve moisture when the sod gets do a ^re-stressed vegetable becomes nearly meddle. Wid plants «11 ~pe * ;he>' «e put into the shade: vegg>e gardens must be grown » hdsun o ^ have thc sun trom 10 „H pm- When the earth » ^

P^nts adapt. Put a vegetable into rhe same circumstances s plants prorcct themselves from anunals and in—

bitter unpleasant flavors. They make themselves poisonous. But we humans wiA to cat sweet, pleasant-tasting food. So we must protect our relatively helpless veggies.

Wild plants usually make thousands of tiny, hard seeds so that even it most of these seeds arc eaten or. having fallen on hard times, die, at least a few will manage to start the next generation. Bur we must sow vegetable seeds in welcoming conditions where they will survive and grow.

Wild" plants have leaves and stems filled with strong fibers that resist damage from wind and heavy rain. Their roots anchor the plant firmly. But we humans want to eat render juicy leaves, stems, and roots. If a veggie garden bears the brunt of a gale, leaves will likely be shredded and many of the plants wii: be • t upaioted. Veggie gardens require sheltered spots.

Mos- -a Ic ; ants grow .1 huge network of roots to aggressively mine the soil. These roots arc formed at the expense of making leaves. This is a pro-survival rode-oft But humans usually want the tops to grow large and lush, and > c.\n only be done at the expense of weakening the root system, a reverse trade-off.

1 at her Burbank the famous 19th-century plant breeder, suggested that wher, humans domesticated a wild species, it was as though we made an enduring contract reading something like this: You agree to be my plant and :o iet me change you into something I will like better than the way you arc now. 1. m turn, promise that instead of leaving you to struggle to survive. I will eliminate or greatly reduce the competition you face. I will put you into much hettcr circumstances than you now find in nature — moisten looser, richer

~~ ^ 1 ^ vah* V°ur seeds and propagate them forever. With this con-1 ** **pn to alter our plants, changing them into what we £ a cnc°uraged them to nuke bigger, juicer leaves (lettuce, spinach '; V ' ^ (broccoli, cauliflower, globe artichokes); or fewer but fat. tender.

JLZ^ *** Domesticated plants have ff^f

•tv 21 ';ppcr St0r^c chamber of their root while reducing the extent ot Iv J^lTJ **«* (carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes). We caused rh^ , better-tasting (and fewer) fruit with thinner skins a"

Pi mS^ C»>Ul)- Burbank also said that whatever we h,,^ they did, changing themselves to please us becau*4

in our

Although ir rook thousands of years ro breed the changes we n ade | food crops, it wasn't too hard ro accomplish because domesticatable plants are like dogs wagging their tails, trying to please. Our main breeding technique has been to first bare and loosen the soil, then place our seeds far enough apart that the plants don't compete too much with each other. In this circumsran :e our crop benefits from all the water, light, and soil nutrients it can use. and each plant has enough room to develop well. If we happen ro pur in roo much seed and our crop is too crowded, competing with itself", we remove some of these plants. This is called thinning. We also eliminate an)- wild plants trying ro sneak in. This is called weeding. And then we save seeds from those plants that most please us. This is plant breeding in a nutshell.

These few simple practices are almost all there is to agriculture or ro vegetable gardening: W e eliminate wild plants: put in the ones we want ro grow: space our plants so that they aren't overly competing with each other: keep the wild plants from taking over; make our garden soil more fertile and more mo:<r than nature does. And then our gentled plants bless us by happily allowing us to ear them because they are confident we are going ro earn* on their progenj in the coming years.

Held crop or vegetable

Field crops include the cereal grains — wheat, rye oats, and barley — as well corn (maize), rice, sorghum, millet, quinoa. and amaranth: some varieties ct beans and peas, usually the rypes grown for dry seed' and oilseeds such as flax, sunflower, sesame, poppy, and canola. A field crop can be productive in unforced, ordinär)- soil, bur it does better when rhar soil has been improved Heirloom varieties, bred before the use of* chemical fertilizers- are es^cial g°od at growing in ordinary soil.

V egetables are different. For thousands of years the kitchen garden has received the best of the family's manures and lots of them. Afrer millennia c: c°ddling in highly improved conditions, feu veggies thrive in ordinary ^ Low-demand vegetables. Some vegetable speckt can snll cope »irr * ot th* sort that will grow field crops if the soil has been well loosened bv spad Ulg. °r ^ocillmg. Low-demand vegetables include carrots, parsnips beet*

Cn7'c/cscarole. and climbing >rench) beans, fcva beans (broad tei«

peas (see the sidebar listing vegetables by the level rf artennon they require . However, when low-demand vegetables are given soil considerably more fertile than their minimum requirement, the)* become far more productive. Low-demand crops are capable of struggling along and usually will produce something edible even under poor conditions.

Vegetables by level of care needed

Low Demand

Jerusalem artichoke beans, peas beet burdock carrot other chicories col lard greens endive escaroie fava beans herbs, most kinds kale parsnip southern peas rabb (rappini)

rocket (arugula)

salsify scorzonera

French sorrel

Swiss chard (silverbeet)

turnip greens

Medium Demand globe artichoke basil, cilantro (coriander) sprouting broccoli Brussels sprouts (late) cabbage (large, late) cutting (seasoning) celery sweet com ordinary cucumbers eggplant (aubergine) garlic giant kohlrabi kohlrabi (autumn) lettuce mustard greens (autumn) • okra potato onions topsetting onions parsley/root parsley peppers (small fruited) potatoes (sweet or "Irish") radish, salad and winter rutabaga (swede) scallions (spring onions) spinach (autumn) squash (pumpkin), zucchini tomatoes turnips (autumn) watermelon

High Demand asparagus Italian broccoli Brussels sprouts (early) Chinese cabbage cabbage (small, early)

cantaloupe/honeydew cauliflower celery/celeriac Asian cucumbers kohlrabi (spring) leeks mustard greens (spring) onions (bulbing) peppers (large fruited) spinach (spring) turnips (spring)

Medium-demand vegetables. These veggies need significantly enriched soil to thrive. This group includes lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes, com. etc. Wh,r 1 consider the minimum enrichment for this group would be spading in a bit of agricultural lime plus either a half-inch-thick (12-miUimeter) layer of «0-rotted low-potency manure or else a quarter-inch-thick (6-miUtmeter) layer of well-made potent compost. But medium-demand vegetables do enormously better when given soil considerably more fertile than their min.mum requ.re-

mtnHi,h-demand vegetables. These are sensitive, delicate speaes. High-

demand vegetables usually „11 not thrive unless grownm moist soil that provides the highest level of nutnnon. These ^«^Z

rather inedible unless they grow rapidly In Chapter 9 1 -U ^ ^

etables one by one and will provide full details a out ho, to gardeners ate not able to provide the nearly .deal condmons requir^ b^ h£

demand vegetables, they would be much better off not attempnng to gto them.

Helping plants grow Hunun ^

Plants need minerals to construct their bodies. S>o r ^ ^ ^^ ^ need energy and enzymes, minerals, vitamins aminoj^^^^ ^ nutrition continues, it seems an ever-extending - - ^ ^ ^ ^J ccol-also need a wide assortment of organic chenuca s pr. ^ ^ Krasilnikov-

ogy. These were named "phytamins" by the ^¡oJogist. The oration who was. in my opinion, the worlds greatest soi >« - !l 1S still not of ph>tamins is accomplished by microorganisms, and c c .

well understood. morf straightforward.

However, the mineral nutrition of plan» . ^ ,n *.fur

Agronomists are confident about which nun°:'"!'i}". j[.,u„u but for ev«y ** Proportions. As an example, most plants use .i lot o ^ ^ ^ nugnesium co «'ght measures of calcium, they'll also ^ one '^^„Jth meas"" nu>'be a sixteenth measure of sulfor, and one ten .. . ^^ [ben ,ltey bora«- If they have heaps of calcium but are short « ^ ■ ^ q(Uncn ot w°n't be able co grow anv more than the amount a « ^ and suft»

magnesium they've got. tf they have adequate cak.um. ^ ^ ihort of

^ '"n the right proportions for .deal growth, but a


_ J.

Fiqtir»-11 tôt): iijvc »1 riie barrel represents a different plant nutrient in soil. The ones at their full height jrr m full supply The barrel at the left illustrates a soil in which the greatest deficiency is of nitrogen, plants mil grow no better than the level of nitrogen The barrel on the right shows that 101/ titer nitrogen Im been added Now the most limiting deficient nutrient is potassium. The I iijnti Will grow no better than the level of potassium permits.

Won, then they will grow as poorly as though they were short of calcium and magnesium and sulfur.

According to Dr. William Albrccht, chairman of the soils department of L ,uvcrsu>' of Missouri during the 1940s and 1950s, the broadest differ T" ,n S",IS ',re °1UScd bV dimate. Albrccht repeatedly pointed out that ! m TJ T b,rCly Cn°Ugh f°r a8ricu'ture« ^e soils tend to be the rich

Hfe. Sttttd TM. knCCd' UiUaUy Praidc *rasses 8row rherc- WlierC Ic rai"S

ally, over; il , Uks lush trees grow thickly, the soil is usu-

  • i Th lcss balan"d-ES
  • ttiuv.ll »CSS oaianced. Sparsely gr55sca y oner upported huge herds of healthy animals. Food from these

Jnccd ',,,iLs people healthy too. Before the trees were cleared, lore»-Undi supported relatively few animals that tended to be smaller, less 1h ->

' W best 1 can say about these well-rained-on soils is that they arc" M P°wm8 wmething. What do I mean by "not too bad"?

Before World War II most North Americansgot most of their food from farms located not far from where they lived. As a result, differences ir average human health due to local soil conditions were apparent. Albrecht pre ided this example: In 1940 the United States instituted a draft registration for military service. All young men had to report for a physical examination. In Missouri, the prairie soils in the northwest are far more fertile than the once thickly forested soils in the southeast of that state. If you draw a line across a map of Missouri from northwest to southeast, and test the soils all along thar line, you'll find that they get progressively poorer as you travel toward rhe Mississippi river, precisely as the amount of annual rainfall increases alone that same line. Accordingly, approximately 200 men our of 1,000 examined from the northwest of Missouri were found to be unfit for military service, while 400 young men out of 1,000 from the southeast of the state were unfit. In the center of Missouri, about 300 per 1,000 young men were unfit.

Suppose the soil in your area contains abundant mineral nutrients in a near-perfect balance. In that case, the plants grown in your district will be healthy. If you take the manure from the animals eating that vegetation and 'or take rhe vegetation itself and rot it down into compost, and then spread rhar compost or that manure atop your garden, whar you have done is transports: minerals in the right proportions to your garden and increased the overall lew« c: minerals in die gardens soil in the right proportions. The result is a much bene: garden producing the same highly nutritious food the surrounding land grows.

But suppose that the soils in your area do nor contain a perfect balance or P'ant nutrients. This means the average vegetation in your area is nor as healthy as it might be. and neither arc die animals grazing on ir. When vou br'ng a load of that vegetation into your garden in the form of manure or com-Post, you Are increasing the amount of organic matter in your soil, which is g0od- Vou are also increasing the amount of minerals in the soil but you are •^Piifying the imbalances of those minerals. Importing large quantity < balanced organic matter often leads to trouble because rich and ideal ) tt

anced soils arc rare, not common. When you depend on your garden » Pr°Vldc much of your food, your health will suffer to the degree that your > 0U' °f balance. Homesteader ma.nly cat.ng out of their garden,, ex- -

  • v«. i-iumesreaaei* mainiv eating vmi --- ~ i ,r
  • quot;y grown gardens, have developed severe dental coad.no« or «t H Problems as a consequence of incorrect so»l building-

gardening when it counts

If the soils around you are not rich and balanced, you should, if possible,! take steps beyond ordinary manuring or composting to improve them. I

Complete organic fertilizer

Because my garden supplies about half of my family's yearly food intake, I maximize my vegetables'nutritional quality. Based on considerable research, I formulated an organic soil amendment that is correct for almost any food garden. It is .1 complete, highly potent, and correctly balanced fertilizing mix made entirely <>f natural substances, a complete organic fertilizer, or COF. i use only COF and regular small additions of compost. Together they produce incredible results. I recommend this system to you as I've been recommending it in my gardening books for 20 years. No one has ever written back to me about CO! saying anything but "Thank you, Steve. My garden has never grown so well: the plants have never been so large and healthy; the food never tasted so good."

COF is always inexpensive judged by the results it produces, but it is only inexpensive in money terms if you buy the ingredients in bulk sacks from the nght sources. Find.ng a proper supplier will take urban gardeners a bit of research. Farm and ranch stores and feed and grain dealers are the proper sources because most of the materials going into COF arc used to feed live-

Itst IT tr'd ^ C0F ingrCdlC'US at a ^ garden shop, they will pound TfTw °ftCrCdSmSl1 <,Uantities at Prohibitively high prices per or mi'aiK, ™ Urban g^dener, I would visit the country once every year plant nutrients'! "l "Tl^ ^ nUtritionaJ conrcnr into vegctablcs P^*

  • N),5percent ' "i m8proportions: about 5 percent nitrate-nitrogen its Utm nanu.I'^J1''™5 and only 1 percent potassium (K, from kalium, of calcium (( 7 SUPP'y substanria' and perfectly balanced amounts
  • quot;""»I "uncralT nUgneiium <Mg)' and minute quantities of all the other fertilizer""11 "" ^ ** CobaIt'b°t0fl' soil with th 7 rcleas< low|y. so the nutrient In't wash out of fine'y powd'rM rCCSS,Ve irri8ation or beavy rain. It would bt a dry, ll'JV" 11 ^rmkilj " , ' COmP'ctely organic material that would not burn
  • quot;•"■Wiled ill , ind Would n<»t Poison plants or soil life *son,e' 1 dl« accurately describes ('.OF.

You could sizably increase bulk yield by boosting rhe amount of potassium in garden soil higher than COF will, bur rhe nutritional content of the veggies would decrease by just about as much as the yield went up. Most commercial growers, be they chemical or organic growers, push soil potassium to high levels for the sake of profit. But the higher bulk yield potassium triggers is in the form of calories — starch and fiber — and nor in the form of protein, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals, which we need a lot more from our food.

COF is concocted by the gardener. All materials are measured out by volume: that is by the scoop, bucketful jar full etc. Proportions varying plus or minus 10 percent of the targeted volume will work out to be exact enough. Do not attempt to make this formula by weight.

I blend mine in a 20-quart (20-white plastic bucket using an old 1 quart (1-liter) saucepan for a meas-Urin8 sco<>P-1 make 7 to 14 quarts (7 CO ^ lirers) of COF at a time. The for-mula is shown in Figure 2.2.

SecdiiH'.il .inJ the limes arc the .

70Sf ,rnP°rtant ingredients. These items alone will grow a greacloo.mg ga ^ G^um is the least necessary kind of lime and is included because , , * T*" * a vital plane nutrient that occasionally is dehaenr in some*

Formula for complete organic fertilizer

Mix fairly uniformly in parts by volume: 4 parts any kind of seedmeal except coprameai

3 parts any seedmeal except coprameai and 1 part "tankage* (sometimes called 'blood-and-bone" or "meatmeaD. This higher-nitrogen opt on is slightly better for leafy crops in spring

4% parts less-potent coprameai, supplemented with 1 tt parts tankage to boost the nitrogen content


y4 part ordinary agricultural lime, best finely ground

% part gypsum (if you don't use gypsum, double the quantity of agricultural lime)

% part dolomite lime

PLUS (for the best results) 1 part of any one of these phosphorus sources: finely ground rock phosphate (there are two equally useful kinds or rock phosphate 'hard or -soft-), bonemeal. or high-phosphate guano fc toi part kelpmeal or I part basalt dust

Figure 2.2

quantity of inexpensive agricultural lime r irtn,ntit*nc*s. X°ur bcst choif mosr soils, in * ' 0f calcium and «nagnc I

Kl' Lk ph.«rh-» bo««"'?;^¿abk fortitude to the plan J 1 "T rtSuding .I«"» " 0f your vegetables. Go as J h*d»'nih, ^rirfonJ T^cfod the more exotic mate-jnd —; j fK)rd ccbuff,- - ; £oo much. Howeve, if

sl,on-.,c „ »^ slipr|cment. I y creating maximum

Seedmeals. Seednn,!,. * sovl,.,ns. Imseed, sunflowers, cot-

used * animal ft* The. ^^ cheml„lly analyzed, most seedmeals tonsceds. canolaseed (rape), m* » ^ __ ^gh copramea (whtch

«bow . s„u,l, NPK «r^^* .squeezed out and » used main.y fcmade from coconuts «for he ^^^m ccrms of NPK than fo.condirion^racebo«« ■ point, however: coconuts are the Other seednteal, or chemical fertilizers.

almost inevitably grown WittK - ^^ magnesium, and trace nutri- |

ITW content ot nunor nutr ^ ^ from purchase to purchase, ent minerals - varies quite a m. , duced the oilseeds. Most farm depending mostly upon the so, q • ^ ^ ^^ rradc are proba-

soils are severely depleted, so most« ^ chan NPK. And because b,y rather poor in terms of suPP « ^ they are labcled by their seedmeals are intended as feed a mlc is that for each

P^cm content, not by their concent of Nl K - g whichj|

6 percenr protein, you arc getting about « P^n'J^*/ > jM type of seedmeal gives you the largest amou,nt opro a Seedmeals are stable and will store lor years if kept dn and F mice in a metal garbage can or empty oil drum with a n£t W.

Tankage. Also known as meatmeal, tankage ,s a product ot the slau^ter house hwhe Un.ted States it ,s made up of the whole ^^^J

lever cost.

bones and fat. ground co a powder and Jn l called "blood and bone" and contains evervtU t""'31" 1 similar ^ odor as long as ic is kepc dry, and ic Zj * ^ ^ Ta^wt " earth a, part of COR I have no hea o " ^ tZ

used it for more than 20 years. Hote^

decide not to use tankage, che only conscquci ** ^ J«

slightly lower m mrrares. rcqu,ring that you Mc ,, be COF will be

Crowrh response. The form of tankaee I «r n m°rc of »to get the sam

Lime(s). There are three types of Z 1 ^ * ^ containing large amounts of calcium/Ag"^^ * natural rock cium carbonate. Dolomitic lime" contain, bolh T 'S rclat,vcly pure ol-carbonates, usually in more or less cqUa, am " magnesium fore. (Do not use quicklime, burnt lime, hyd J ' « «lcium sul-

active "hot" limes.) If you have to choose oi oJT " ^ chemi«% dolomite, hue youd get a far better result

T ind, it probably should be

These substances are not expensive if bouebt in 1 °fthrce W-

suppliers. °Ught m sacks from agncultTral

You may have read that the acidity or PH 0f , liming. I suggest that you forget about nR l \°U bc corre«cd by usefid in large-scale farming. but is not of con"*" ^ pH bc feet. the whole concept of soil pH is controv J^Ttf " T* ^ debate, read the papers of William Albrechr cited inT^lT"^ " ^ conclusion on the subject is this- if a soil u BlW'*graphy M, and you are advised to Utne " HT ^ * "

recommend in the sidebar "Soil improving in a nu^i"^' ^ ^ 1 and 50 pounds of lime(s) per 1,000 quare f « i ^ 'Ti^ meters), or else COF. Over time the pH ^ l°° ^

added organic matter than from adding edd^^f ^^ j • ,, iuuing caicium and/or magnesium* If vour

manUtShcI 3Wvegetablessull needcaloumandmaZL as nutrients and in the right balance ¥ ™

AU three ot" these boost the phosph0 I

^"^IW <*h in traCC elcmc"ts- Sccdn*Msl hJtf to*^ u^1 > in thcm, but over the l.,st 2J

hlt mote Ph^hsccadily decreased. Incidentally. J ^ ***** ha (JSDA over the past 2s o. >» >s P"**^pension Marine) shows ^

*e"n'o» "l,tr,n:Tl-l. 2001 issue <rf MP^ iLso declined about 25 tQ ^

the ^ of VC&C .11 vitamins and minerals. 1 his \s 1

t,H' r- 1C shockingly expensive probably in rcspon.

"!U it„,eal. , ltlon. but one 55• 1 meter) gardener several t nothing else will supply - a ■

  • I'tlU iS witb some ^ ,ators and natural hormones
  • quot;tSr ^^rt^cc to cold, host, and other 1
  • 3* costs less than the meal import
  • t Uk* F ^ported from Kor k . So long as the sack isn't ■
  • rngt r
  • V,m bU* , Instead of putting dry meal,™ ■

The«"-"" . , ,ca ma^ w,tb P , ... also make your own. Folia, the yo.- * ~b" llTkW into COF. but 1 Mae 1

feeding is««*6 ges beyond trug > ' , rdener walking among 1

¿C plants, putting ^ complete range of minor plant n believe kelp is best-

Me organic fertilizer in ing), lkiniltompleieu 6 , or least once a year ^

2C GARff^I----w wccks. As rhe plants grow. rCpCac ■

ro doring che wceks. placing eacb dusting farth ■

.,..,,„, ff*"» ■ three «¡11 require spread.ng more tCrti, I

X Mde-dre« to how much to use. side-drc J

  • ires it
  • i/(,rs ricnrs should comc with .1 label warn-

c lu'ini' .>11''1'1 ofpUre Planr ,Ultr,j onC reason I don't recommend tlH-

Conner**» ^Cnrs p,o much- 1 ^ ^ inexpenenccd gardener to cross ■

Enough and too ^ plancs with chicken manure- ■

d-^f^ of warning: YoU cj but not nearly so dangerous as H

,nd ** ate slow ro rd**^ ^ manufacturcrs intention was ■

chemirtb ^ arc too pure- , minerals, the chemical I

Chcmt ^ nUmer:tal croublesome is that chemical for-■

What .s «["' ' jn them. Tl,is is particularly ■

f -» cJCi::, Trilled complete chemical ferdliaers ■

r ,6 In6 ' ®'M-20 " ; oS n, Depending on 1»» the fc I

" illI — ^""Z¿plenty <* "»« (S) ,Hem'bM nW 1

  • quot;SU-f '.Key .Uo need Urge am«™, c( I
  • anl,PI»« do- jNKl J0[h„essentialmmerals,„tmyI ^mandnugnes.um.aoda o ^ ^ ^ amckcd by msecrs and I
  • int ^—** «- - ^ - -

taauhey might. don. A„ inexpensive chemrcal feral-

■Ks, is ye, another negate- ^ ^ a ^ boos[ m plane

I ■foortcd 35 deeP'>' imo the carth the water ,

Srhing). so deep that the plants toots cant aece« Twhh u" ^ or one too-heavy watering, your topsoil goes from _ h heavy rain TV risk of Icaching is especially great wuh soUs ^

Organic fertilizers, manures, and composts, on the ,tl U Z ** rheir nutrient content only as they decompose - « rt, " .

process » determined by the so.l tcmpt,1Ulr, T J ^^ o! ,llis

P hi/ doubles for each 10»F (5°C) increase of soil tcln ^^inon Sis-tion of COF ta.es ,, , d inrire time, nutrients are steadtly being released. Gardeners in hot (With warmer so.ls) will get a b.gger result from smaller application^ ' otent organic materials. The result will last a shorter W

Chemical fernhzers can be made to be "slow release." but these so«, cost several times as much as the type that dissolves rapidly in water. Slow-release chemicals are used to grow highly valuable potted plants and other nurserv stock. Seedmeals, naturally slow releasing are cheaper.

Manures and simple fertilizers

As mentioned earlier, spreading manure and compost made from vegetation in the district you live in is no guarantee of making garden soil that will ptc duce the most highly nutritious vegetables possible. It will make nutritious food only if the soils around you are rich and balanced. Figure 2.4 show, t! range of fertilizing values manures and simple fertilizers might have, depend ing on the nutrient balance in the feed the horse, cow, sheep, etc., was fed.

Please notice that horse manure can range from 0.5 percent nitrogi to 2.5 percent N. Cow manure can go as high as 2 percent, but may be .is root 0.5 percent. The same spread occurs for phosphorus and potassium. T two probable reasons for these wide ranges of value. One is that thcr- s in- • ■ how much, il any, bedding material was mixed into the sample, bcm£ , More importantly, it is absolutely certain that what the animals ate ¡ed gt

An acquaintance, I'll call him Ken, grows a seemingly excellent di using horse manure. (I'm somewhat skeptical because hi . childret :tct:i jawbones haven't developed as one would expea foi people y o , i \ . • ^

mainly organically grown vegetables). He uses nothing but what 1

ina some agricultural lime. OthCri of l'orSC maT -t poor results. What is going oni Kcn **** ^ .oV^ L stable owned by a wealthy man who


ilind simple fertilizers

Kind of manure

Dtfynynure p^diot manure

Hor* manure Sheep manure Rabbfl manure Poultry manure Unne Humanuie Hog manure Dude manure Guana bat Guano, seabird fishmeal Swdmeal Feathermeal Meat and bone Dried blood

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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