gabriola garden

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Soil pH, and Preventing pests, pathogens, fungus

I received an e-mail from a regular reader of this blog. He pointed out that my mention of the pH readings in my last posting needed further explanation. I agree with him, so here it is.

Whether you’re growing a garden hydroponically or in soil, daily pH readings are advised, since if your grow medium gets out of whack, your plants will suffer. Most plants grow best when the pH is between 5.8-6.3. If the soil gets too acidic, or too basic for that matter, scraggly, yellowish growth can be the result.

You have to add Advanced Nutrients pH Up or pH Down—depending on the variation from the optimum levels—into the watering mixture. You don’t add it directly into the soil. Your pH reading is most crucial in your root zone, not a few feet away from your plants.

Although pH adjustment is absolutely essential during your growth cycle, measurements should be taken all throughout the life of your plants. The reason I mentioned taking a reading at this late stage, is because soil pH is one among many factors that will determine the vigor and health of the bulbs that you plant in the fall.

Also, I neglected to mention that when our bean house collapsed because of the onset of the wet season and unharvested beans were touching the wet ground, this is an invitation to molds and mildews and other pests and diseases to invade your crop.

By regular application of a highly effective product called Protector, we keep powdery mildew at bay in our garden. It’s not only the beans that are in danger, the large leaves of the pumpkin plants are especially vulnerable to this insidious fungus.

We also use Barricade in the spring, summer, and fall to enable our plants to ward off pests and pathogens. The potassium silicate in this product strengthens cells from the inside out, heightening the plant’s immune response to deter parasites such as spider mites, aphids, and the myriad forms of fungi.

For extra protection, I sprayed my beans with a solution of Scorpion Juice, after the collapse. When used as a foliar spray, you have to mix 5 ml of this product into a Litre (Quart) of water. This also helps the plant the establish immunity from a variety of pathogens, including fungi, viruses, and bacteria.

To make our vegetables taste as sweet as candy, we use Sweet Leaf during the flowering stage. It contains the correct ratio of carbs, sugars, and vitamins to not only make our veggies taste better, but also to increase the quality and quantity of our crop. For this reason, we also add it to our flowers. Witness the proliferation of irises in the pictures.

We like to have a garden around us year round, so we’re taking cuttings of some of the flowers that don’t mind growing indoors during the winter. It’s tricky, because once they get used to outdoor temperatures, the extra heat indoors sometimes adversely effects the transplants. For this reason we use No Shock and Jump Start, in order to minimize the stress on the plants when they go from the outdoor environment into indoor containers.

Indoor gardening during the winter will be the subject of an upcoming blog posting. However, there is a trick to being successful at this endeavor. Just as we made sure that our roots were healthy and vigorous in the spring outdoors, by adding Voodoo Juice, as well as Piranha and Tarantula to our potting soil, we can make sure that our transplanted flowers will develop superior root systems for increased nutrient absorption and optimum growth.

In my experience, Voodoo Juice increases root mass to such an extent that you have to use bigger pots, but it’s worth it. The beneficial microbes contained in Voodoo Juice, coupled with the helpful fungi in Piranha and the beneficial bacteria in Tarantula, will ensure that your plants grow and produce plentiful and much more beautiful blooms than otherwise, whether indoors or out.

BTW, Hedgehog won a ribbon in the Zucchini Races at the local fair, while our son Jim was better at the Ring Toss!

posted by Tim at 10:53 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bountiful Harvest, Collapsing Beans, Wet Coast

Went out one morning and found that the weight of the Scarlet Runner Beans has caused the bamboo structure of our “bean house” to collapse. As the rainy season has arrived on Canada’s West Coast, the wet foliage proved to be too heavy for our architecture. No harm done, except now the kids have to crawl underneath to harvest the remaining beans.

Signs of Fall are everywhere in the garden. Some flowers are allowed to go to seed, while others have to be deadheaded. The Geraniums and Petunias in the window boxes are still thriving and hopefully will cheer us well into October. Our orange tabby, Pinta, spends more time indoors looking out than the other way around.

The Squash and Zucchini are ready to be harvested and even our few Potato plants are giving us signs that it’s time to dig up the ‘taters. Come October, it will be time to remove all plant material from the vegetable garden that has finished producing, as well as to get rid of all weeds that might have intruded.

Depending on where you live, it might be time to plant your Spring Bulbs soon, but first you have to cut back the foliage on your perennials. Time for Fall pruning. Sara is determined to cut back her Butterfly Bush severely, to keep it from taking over that section of her flower garden.

Not only do we like to apply some Iguana Juice Grow at this time for the benefit of those Spring Bulbs but Sara also likes to add some Mother Earth Super Tree Grow, for good measure. Gardening involves planning and thinking ahead. Taking a pH reading of the soil is also a good idea, to figure out whether we have to add pH Up or pH Down, depending on the correction needed.

The generous amounts of Emerald Shaman, Organic B, and Carbo Load Liquid that we added some time ago are still working their magic, and we might add Grandma Enggy’s Humic and Fulvic Acids to the mix, to maintain a fertile, plant-friendly soil environment for our perennials through the winter.

Emerald Shaman was perfected by the plant scientists at Advanced Nutrients based on the ancient Chinese principle of adding fermented plant food, full of bioactives, to the regular fertilizer regimen. It helps your plants by increasing yield and vigor, through life-giving enzymes.

B vitamins are used by wise health practitioners to reduce stress in humans and they work much the same way in plants. Carbohydrates are necessary to provide much needed energy to plants the same way that a nutri-bar might benefit a superb athlete.

We can’t sing the praises of Grandma Enggy’s Golden Honey Fulvic Acid, as well as Grandma Enggy’s Humic Acid, highly enough. These magic ingredients are derived from “leonardite,” a rich, nutritious, organic material that actually has to be mined, then refined to make these two products. They protect seeds and seedlings, offer resistance to drought and stress, fight diseases and pathogens, and strengthen roots and foliage.

As we enjoy our meals of roast squash, buttered garlic beans, baked potatoes with chives, stir-fried zucchini, and Hungarian cucumber salad—not to forget our out of this world tomatoes—we thank the Creator for providing us with a bountiful harvest. We also extend our thanks to Advanced Nutrients for helping to make that harvest possible.

posted by Tim at 11:44 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cukes, Lovely Fairie, and VitaBoost Pro

Even though the wet season seems to be upon us, we can still find many treasures to enjoy in our garden. Some of the Gladioli are flowering and flowering again, some more huge Tomatoes are ripening, a Red Rose announces, “Hey, I’m still here,” a dark-hued Sunflower is boldly looking for some rays, and even the lowly Dandelion has a symmetrical beauty, when viewed close-up.

One of Hedgehog’s favorite Rose bushes is called Lovely Fairie. Every time she suffers the death of a cherished pet, we have to bury it under this rose bush. The decomposing bodies of assorted goldfish, hamsters, and canaries make for a fertile soil indeed, judging from the lovely blooms bursting forth all summer long.

Our Cucumbers do well in warm weather, so this past summer was perfect for them. You have to give them plenty of room, even in a small garden like ours. Instead of building a trellis for them, I planted my cukes next to a wire fence, which is an adequate support.

We started our seeds indoors in jiffy pots and brought them out five weeks later, about two weeks after the last frost. We treated the seedlings with Advanced Nutrients No Shock, in order to produce roots faster, avoid damping off, and stop moisture depletion. We also prepared a rich compost and rotted-manure-enriched growing environment.

Our first application of fertilizer was with Iguana Juice Grow, which is a 100% organic nutrient that is unparalleled in its miraculous effects in our experience. As you know, Sara and I do our gardening together—she administers to the flowers, while I shepherd the vegetables toward harvest.

Later, we added root treatments with beneficial fungi and bacteria, vitamins, and certain protectors and inoculants to ward off pathogens of all kinds. Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice ensured a friendly rhizosphere and desirable root mass for our cucumbers, which guaranteed healthy growth, flowering, and fruit above ground.

With regard to vitamins, we decided to use VitaBoost Pro as the best of all multi-vitamin formulas on the market, as well as Organic B, which boosted their Vitamin B levels to prevent stress. Plants can be stressed out by lack of water, but also by overwatering.

Advanced Nutrients Scorpion Juice was used to administer Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) to keep harmful pathogens at bay.

Three additional products helped ensure a healthy, robust harvest of tasty, crisp cucumbers. Most importantly, Iguana Juice Bloom was applied at the flowering stage, to make sure that there was a proliferation of blooms to pollinate, so they could go into fruit.

Advanced Nutrients Barricade and Protector were utilized to make the plants stronger from the inside out and help prevent Powdery Mildew, specifically. Additionally, we avoided overhead watering to keep the large cucumber leaves free of fungus.

The results of using these extremely effective products are large cucumbers, bursting with life. They are truly succulent and filled with that wonderful taste that only fresh-picked, organically grown cucumbers can provide.

Jim likes peanut butter and cucumber sandwiches for lunch, while Sara and I love cucumber salad to go with our evening meal. As for Hedgehog, she munches on cucumber slices as snacks, and likes to dip them into Dilly Dip dressing from the supermarket.

posted by Tim at 10:33 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Beefsteak Tomatoes and Colossal Bud Blast

Before we got prosperous (ha, ha, ha!) Sara and I used to grow everything from seed. Take our tomatoes—we used to enjoy looking at the pictures on seed packets and pick the ones that appeared to be the most delicious and exciting. We grew cherry tomatoes in those days, since the miniature size was in keeping with the balcony where we did our container gardening.

Since we moved into our house on Gabriola, we’ve been going to the garden store each spring to buy seedlings for our tomatoes. Now we grow the real large varieties, the beefsteak types, that are part of the indeterminate family of tomatoes. Given their druthers, they grow in every direction and require staking or caging in order to support the fruit laden branches later in the season.

We used to stake our tomatoes, but got tired of tying and retying the plant to the stake as growth progressed. A friend told us about tomato cages made out of wire mesh. We prefer to use the cylindrical ones, since they help to contain the sprawling plants really well and given proper pruning, provide ample access to the life-giving sunlight that is an essential ingredient in growing sun-ripened, luscious tomatoes.

Tomatoes are susceptible to pests and diseases, so we make sure to use preventative measures against them. Advanced Nutrients, our garden company of choice, makes incredibly powerful products to stave off any infestation, whether of insects or pathogens.

First, at the seedling stage, we use their No Shock to prevent damping off in the cold, wet soil of early spring. Then we start working on the root systems. We administer Advanced Nutrients Voodoo Juice, in tandem with their Piranha and Tarantula, to establish a plant-friendly rhizosphere for each root system, increase root mass, and colonize the systems with beneficial fungi and bacteria.

Larger and healthier root systems make for better plants and not only more numerous fruits but also a marked increase in their quality. Witness the photos of our incredibly tasty tomatoes which we just picked off the vines.

The giant one has been dubbed Red Medicine Ball by Hedgehog, since we lectured her once too often on the healing properties of eating lots of vegetables. In addition to Vitamin C, tomatoes do contain lycopene, which helps maintain healthy cardiovascular systems.

In order to ward off insects and pathogens, both during the growth and flowering stage we use Advanced Nutrients Scorpion Juice, and Barricade, and Protector which prevent such common tomato infestations as white flies and aphids, Fusarium Wilt, and Powdery Mildew. By regular use of these products, we managed to avoid these and many other infections of the tomato plant, by increasing their natural resistance to disease and pests.

Of course, the other parts of our grow and flower regimen also helped to produce this fine harvest this year. We use a 100% organic fertilizer from Advanced Nutrients called Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom, as well as their growth and flowering enhancers, such as Organic B, Carbo Load Liquid, and Colossal Bud Blast. They provide the essential B vitamins necessary for any healthy plant, the carbohydrates to stimulate growth and fruit production, as well as the organic harvest stimulants, nutrients and taste enhancers delivered by the magic foliar spray that is truly Colossal in its beneficial effects.

posted by Tim at 6:19 AM | 0 comments