gabriola garden

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Raindrops Keep Falling, Crocuses Keep Growing, Harvest Down Under

The sun came out briefly this afternoon causing our Crocuses to smile. Then it clouded over again and the forecast is for three days of solid rain. Sara says she doesn’t mind—her flower garden is getting a good drenching. “Besides, it will quickly turn all that fresh horse manure into fertile compost.”

She started burying banana skins next to the rose bushes. She read somewhere that roses love the extra potassium. I told her to be careful, there is such a thing as potassium overload. She said that she knows what she’s doing.

She applied Iguana Juice Grow, which has an NPK of 3-1-3, to the entire garen. This means that it contains 3% of Nitrogen, 1% Phosphorus or Phosphates, and 3% of Potassium. In a 10-Liter watering can, I mix in only 10 mL of Iguana Juice, along with other ingredients, during the first week of vegetative growth. So I’m only adding .3 mL of Potassium to the soil.

A banana skin contains from 34-42% Potassium. But it is relatively light weight, so you’re talking about a fraction of a gram. Now even if you factor in the Potassium content of the horse manure that Sara spread over her garden, we are definitely not overdosing our roses with Potassium.

I couldn’t get any stats on horse manure, but 1 tonne (1,000 kg) of cattle dung contains .295% of Nitrogen, .159% of Phosphorus, and .295% of Potassium. Let’s say she applied 50 kg of manure to the entire garden. The amount of Potassium directly under each rose plant would be .295% of a tenth of a kilogram, or 3 grams.

As raw organic materials have to decompose first, before they become water soluble, it stands to reason that much of those 3 grams will leach into the soil before the roots of the rose bushes can absorb the extra macronutrient.

These figures also provide a good argument to those growers who claim that using manure and compost provide adequate nutrients for the garden. A 100% organic fertilizer such as Iguana Juice (the Rolls Royce of organic fertilizers) is absolutely essential to boost the NPK levels of the soil that you grow your precious plants in.

My watering mix also includes essential root colonizers and supplements, so that the parts per million of the nutrient solution goes from 498 during weeks 1 and 2 of vegetative growth, to 600 ppm during weeks 3 and 4, and 745 ppm during weeks 5, 6, 7, and 8.

I gave into Sara’s nudging, and mixed up our first week’s solution in an 80 Liter tank. I poured in 84 mL of Iguana Juice Grow, 60 mL each of Humic Acid and Fulvic Acid, 7.2 g of Carbo Load Powder, 197.6 mL of SensiZym, 7.2 grams each of Piranha and Tarantula, 108 mL of Voodoo Juice, 132 mL of Seaweed Extract, and another 132 mL of Organic B.

These amounts will gradually increase until week 8, at which point I’ll switch over to Iguana Juice Bloom. But the spring bulbs are blooming already, you say? We apply nutrients according to the majority of the perennials in the garden, not according to the spring bulbs. The latter have been adequately fertilized by the Heavy Harvest Fall that Sara added when she planted them in the fall, and by the compost, manure, and growth fertilizers being added now.

With regard to Sara adding fresh horse manure directly to the garden, some sources say that it is preferable to have the decomposition take place right on top of the plants, rather than in a compost pile, since during heavy rains (such as the ones we’re having now) many vital nutrients get leached into the soil underneath the compost pile.

Better to compost on top of your garden and have these important nutrients go where they are needed, feeding your plants that are starting to awaken for their spring growth.

It is fall in New Zealand and Eloise reports that John has stopped worrying about the crops and they’re both enjoying the fruits of their harvest. They’ve been too busy to write, since they had to pick and process of bumper crop of sweet corn and the other vegetables, and distribute the bounty to friends, family, neighbours, and retail outlets.

posted by Tim at 9:55 PM


  • "A banana skin contains from 34-42% Potassium"

    Not quite. The skin itself, is mostly water. The ASH of a banana skin contains this much Potassium, after water and combustibles are removed (sugars, etc.)

    A dried banana skin is just over 5% Potassium.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:11 AM  

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