quote:Originally posted by Tefl I wish I could get 'maters to look that good. The clay in the soil here makes growing them a bitch unless you hit it with a big dose of lime to equal up the PH and even then you have to compost the heck out of the soil. Other vegetables grow like crazy though with not alot of prep.
quote:Originally posted by Trenchant_Troll Nitrogen.
Yep. That's why I also hit them with a big dose of compost in the beginning and a good stinky aerated "tea" every couple of waterings. I'm pretty sure the clay content of the soil allows the ground to pack a bit too tight and that causes the microfauna to suffocate from lack of natural aeration. No active microbes = little to no nutrient uptake by the roots. Then you get tomatoes that rot on the bottom while still on the vine. Yuck.
I have to use the native soil in the mix at about a 30% ratio because of the high winds we get during the storm season. It helps keep the plants standing upright. I learned the hard way that planting in straight fluffy compost is a no no. Not only is there severe nutrient burn if the stuff is a bit "green" but the roots can't get a good hold in the dirt and they get blown over. As a replacement binding agent I tried adding more old bark and dried wood into the compost mix to replace the clay soil but that in turn causes too much water to be absorbed and can cause root rot.
Tefl, you can add a little lava sand, though it can likely get expensive to do that, but that works well for breaking it up. Also, mixing in dry molasses to the soil at the same time will exponentially increase microbial action. But composting continually and tilling it in is likely the best and least expensive amendment. It just takes a little time and a lot of compost.
quote:Originally posted by Mugtoe Tefl, you can add a little lava sand, though it can likely get expensive to do that, but that works well for breaking it up. Also, mixing in dry molasses to the soil at the same time will exponentially increase microbial action. But composting continually and tilling it in is likely the best and least expensive amendment. It just takes a little time and a lot of compost.
I've heard about adding regular ditch sand but lava sand is a new one. Reading up on it it seems a good idea. I like the mention of it being paramagnetic which fits in with the old tale my granddaddy used to tell me about adding iron oxide to the soil as an amendment. (His favorite way was a simple large rusty nail laid directly under the seed with it aligned to magnetic north.) The presence of the hematite in the sand sorta fits with the second part of his theory, that the oxygen in the rust would help aerate the soil.
The extra minerals from the volcanic sand is much like what I do now. I go out to the driveway and sweep up a big thing of rock dust. I then screen it to get the actual rocks out. (It's way easier then running out to the local tombstone carver and getting their waste or pounding gravel into dust with a hammer.) I will definitely look into this more.
The molasses trick is one I use and I like it. Coming up I used to help my granddad cut up old sugar beets for the compost and later in life I found out why it works. The molasses is alot less work than messing with a wheelbarrow of old smelly beets. Try to use an unsulfured molasses to help keep from adding sulfur to your mix. Blackstrap I think is one of the best to use as it's been cooked down three times so what's left is pretty much all natural sugars and minerals.
I also find that adding spongy rotten wood to the compost helps add useful microbes as does brewing up a batch of lactic acid bacteria. I've also thrown spoiled milk and even beer into the pile for the yeast. If you can find mushrooms that haven't popped their gills try throwing them in as well. Their myceleum will really help break the pile down if it's not a super hot one.
If your making an anaerobic compost (like Bokashi), then Rid X helps get it going. Don't use it if your making regular aerorobic compost or it will kill off the other cultures. It is good for breaking down predatory animal waste such as cat and dog poop (or human) that isn't normally added to the regular compost piles because of the pathogens they carry.
DRY molasses, tefl. You can get it in 40lb bags, and you just spread it like compost. It's sold at a lot of nurseries, and it'd be a helluva lot cheaper than pourin sorghum on yer dirt.
however, dry molasses and lava sand are both potentially spendy if yer gettin em at nurseries. I get my compost, lava sand and mulch at a bulk material center that loads it with a front-end loader into my truck or trailer. A cubic yard of the composted dairy manure will run about $34, while a combo of lava sand and composted manure will run around $60/cubic yard, I think. I haven't checked prices lately.
My father took that picture in yer hometown on his first trip around the world in 1967 or therebouts. I always thought it was incongruous with my perception of Australia for some reason.
It really struck me when I was reading his journal of that trip how he drew such conclusions about Australia based upon three or four hours in a place. And it affected forever after the way I not only perceived my father, but western attitudes altogether. It was one line, really. He wrote after a few hours of walking around "The Australians are....," and I realized that he didn't really know anything about the Australians at all.
That's not to denigrate his experience by any stretch. It just struck me that my father's generation thought that way. It was a watershed moment for me when I suddenly thought that perhaps everything I grew up taking for granted was just such data. Some businessman walking through a foreign place and saying to himself, "These people are...," and writing history from utter nonsense.
We're really so fucked up. And that applies to the very best of us. It's all so random, and the man who I looked to for gospel was just as fallible as the rest of us. That was a big deal for me.
so yeah, that's why I posted the picture. Nothing is what we thought it was forty years ago.
that's london court, if you were wondering. it's a small laneway between the hay street mall and st. georges terrace, from where the photo was taken.
the knight goes round chasing the dragon (methinks) at 12 noon and bells and shit happen.
i don't even know if it still chimes or not as i've not been in town for what seems like decades. that photo freaked me the fuck out mug.
who'd have thought a texan would post a photo of my home town on a forum from a time before i was born....