gabriola garden

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bowl of Beauty Peonies Open, Vegetables Start Growing

While Sara’s flower garden is celebrating the arrival of her all-time favourite blooms, those of the Japanese “Bowl of Beauty” Peony (Paeonia lactiflora), I have been labouring in my vegetable garden, bringing in more fertile, organic soil, as well as composted horse manure, and planting seedlings and seeds, alike.

I planted a whole row of Sweet Peas along the fence line, as well as six or seven Tomato plants, five or six Pepper seedlings, and some Cucumber, Broccoli, Garlic, Spinach, several different kinds of Lettuce, Zucchini, and Squash. The Scarlet Runner Bean sprouts along the bamboo structure were planted last week.

This year, I’ve planted Hungarian Sweet Wax Peppers, Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers, Green Bell Peppers, Red Bell Peppers, and Hot Cherry Peppers. For Peppers, as for many other Vegetables, soil preparation is of utmost importance.

Several weeks before planting them, I started working the soil. In addition to bringing in the compost and the manure, I aerated the soil perhaps eight to ten inches down with a four-pronged pitchfork, in order to break up the clods and allow much needed air to penetrate the growing medium. It’s not enough to spread the compost and manure on top, you must work it into your soil.

I mixed up a large tank of nutrient solution in order to pre-fertilize the soil. Consisting of our basic 100% organic basic fert, Iguana Juice Grow, along with some very effective additives, supplements, and root colonizers made by Advanced Nutrients, my nutrients mix is scientifically designed to nourish my vegetables.

Using the very handy Nutrient Calculator on the Advanced Nutrients website, I mix the correct quantities of the ingredients into my 50-Liter irrigation tank. Since the growth cycles of most vegetables exceed the reach of this very helpful tool, I have to do some math in order to stretch the daily nutrient requirements to fit the average length of time that vegetables take to grow from seedling to harvest.

Hungarian Peppers take about 70 days, while Beefsteak Tomatoes take about 80. The Nutrient Calculator only goes up to 15 days for vegetative and 15 days for flowering, a total of 30 days. So I look at the figures and the PPM-EC numbers for the 15 week cycle and see what amounts I’m supposed to mix in during week 15.

For instance, during week 1 I mix 52.5 mL of Iguana Juice Grow into my 50 Liter mixing tank, which gradually increases to 77.6 mL during week 15. The total amount of my basic fert that I’m feeding my plants during the first 15 weeks of vegging will be 1009.4 mL. The EC of the suspended solids in the solution is EC 0.7 during week 1 (490 PPM), while during week 15 it goes up to EC 1.0 (700 PPM).

Using that gradual increase as my model, I figured out the percentages to go from day 15 of vegetative growth to day 30. By day 30 I’m up to 1000 PPM or 1.4 EC. Then I switch over to Iguana Juice Bloom and a moderate feeding regimen for the bloom cycle of my vegetables. Of course, I’m keeping an open mind and if most vegetables start flowering earlier than 30 days, I make the switch to Bloom that much quicker.

Not all the ingredients are increased as much during the longer cycle. My root colonizers, Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice have to be administered only during weeks 1 and 2 and then during week 13 (4.5 grams each of the first two, and 67.5 mL of the Voodoo Juice). By extension, I will mix in these amounts again during weeks 19 and 20, then once more during week 28 of vegging.

During the first 15 weeks I will feed my vegetables 726.5 mL’s of Grandma Enggy’s Humic Acid and her Fulvic Acid, so by week 30 I will have mixed in in excess of 1500 mL of these two extremely effective additives that help turn my soil into the most fertile, organic, rich, black humus-like grow medium our grandmothers grew their vegetables in.

Also, by week 30 the amount of SensiZym that I will have mixed into my nutrient solution, will be over 700 milliliters. SensiZym contains over 80 bioactive enzymes that help keep the root zones of my vegetables free of plant debris, and help my root hairs absorb nutrients more easily.

So I fertilized my vegetable garden even before planting my seedlings, in order to create a welcoming environment for them. Peppers grow best in a warm soil, so wait until all danger of frost has passed (on Gabriola that means the end of May, beginning of June). I plant in rows, so I place my vegetables around a foot apart, with the rows being slightly wider to allow foot passage.

I dug transplant holes for all my peppers and moved the seedlings very carefully from the box, leaving as much soil as possible around the roots. The holes should be three to four inches deep. I took extra care with the protruding root hairs, since they are a vital part of the nutritional needs of the plants.

Once the plants were carefully placed in the hole, I packed some soil loosely around the plant, leaving the circle around the stem slightly depressed in order to hold water. I poured a copious amount of my nutrient solution around each pepper plant and offered a little prayer for a bountiful harvest.

I actually waited for a cloudy day to do my transplanting. This is a little trick I learned from a seasoned gardener. It keeps your seedling from wilting in the sun. I must be careful not to allow my vegetables to wilt, since they lose vigor and become susceptible to diseases and pests.

In order to inoculate them against many insects and pathogens, I mix 10 mL of Scorpion Juice into each Liter of water in a 10-Liter can, separate from my nutrient solution. I pour this mixture around my vegetables once every three weeks. I also use Scorpion Juice periodically as a foliar spray, but usually when the plants get slightly older. When being used as a spray, Scorpion Juice should be mixed at a ratio of 5 mL per Liter.

Barricade is another Advanced Nutrients product that is helpful in making my vegetables immune to diseases and pests. This potassium silicate product fortifies the cell walls of our plants and makes them impenetrable to many microorganisms as well as the mouthparts of sap sucking insects. Given this resistance, the parasites tend to go elsewhere.

Sara’s flower garden is luscious and thriving and soon my vegetable garden will catch up and be the pride of the neighborhood.

posted by Tim at 9:37 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home