BTE, hugelkulture, hydroponics and other unconventional gardening

Lazy Gardener

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Today, I picked up 4 more feeder gold fish to go in the 10G tank (total of 5 fish, each about 1.5" long). The lettuce I started in soil has sprouted well. Next up: transfer a bunch of those seedlings into net pots for DWC in the fish tank. I intend to put a divider to keep the fish out of the plant roots, and run an air stone to oxygenate the plant roots. Then, I will set up some Kratky tubs for more seedlings. Looking forward to comparing Kratky to DWC aquaponics to soil culture.

Bought a ginger root to plant in the hydroponic garden. From my reading, ginger and turmeric produce VERY WELL using this method.

Loving the seed catalogs for lazy entertainment. I'm thinking that a perfect green manure crop just might be: buy and sow a bag of beans from the grocery store: perhaps a combination of yellow eye, jacob's cattle and kidney beans. Then, there's a tried but true method, (from the Dick Raymond days): block planting bush green beans or short vine english peas, or sugar snaps. This allows green manure soil benefit combined with mass harvest for the table benefit.

Priced alfalfa seeds for sprouting at the health food store today. $26/# at the health food store. Crazy! Sprouting mix of lentils, adzukis and mung beans was similarly priced. Or I could buy the same varities of beans in the organic section for $1.50 - 3.00/#. Guess which ones I bought?! Still need to find a decent price for the alfalfa, though I may have to resort to that robbery price. A single tablespoon of seed will yield about 3 cups of sprouts. So, that ends up being a cheaper and better nutrition option for winter greens compared to buying lettuce at the store.

bought some cholecalciferol rat poison for the HT. I hate to use any of these type of products, but... the rodent damage there is such that I consider this winter's greens to be a total loss. This product is the only one that currently passes approval for organic gardening. The risk of secondary poisoning is much less with this product. And it's half life/breakdown in soil is very speedy.
 
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Lazy Gardener

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Today's google search: Ideal angle for the top of a cold frame: Add 15 - 20* to your lattitude to capture the greatest amount of winter sun. For me, at lattitude 45, I should angle the top of my cold frame 60 - 65*. That's a pretty steep pitch! I don't think that formula is totally realistic. Folks further north would quickly be approaching 90*. But... what do I know???
 

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Rainy day. Good chance to see what others are doing, and dream of the future garden.


I'd love to spend an afternoon visiting with this lady and touring her garden!


I particularly like the use of HT pallets in terracing that is shown in this video:

 

CrealCritter

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My wife has been badgering me about growing greens indoors under florescent lighting. Several years ago I built a 3 tier seed table with florescent lighting on each tier. Its highly successful for creating flats of seedlings for transplant out in the garden. But what would I need to do to convert a tier into growing greens and what kind of dwarfs would I be looking at? She's wanting Mainly lettuce and spinach.
 

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I just potted up some lettuce seedlings in window boxes. i plan to place them under the florescent lights, close enough to almost touch the light. You can also grow lettuce and spinach Kratky style in a 1 qt mason jar. The great thing about Kratky hydroponics: Once you get the seedlings placed in the system, there is absolutely no other care required. And, hydroponic grown plants grow faster than those planted in soil. You don't need anything special for seeds. Just plant your usual leaf and spinach seeds, using either soil or Kratky. I also started some Alfalfa and lentil seeds for sprouts today. Can't wait to have some fresh greens!

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/ec/02/47/ec0247f7eb718bc944255bf86e31c3a9--chinese-cabbage-aqua.jpg

When doing Kratky method, I start the seeds in soil. Then, after they have true leaves, I transplant them into either net pots with hydroton clay pellets or into a 1.5" section of pool noodle that has been slit and adapted to support the seedling. Either the pool noodle or the net pot are then dropped into a 2" diameter hole in the top of the container which is filled with nutrient solution. If you use a clear container, it must be covered to occlude light. That's all there is to Kratky method. The roots reach down into the nutrient solution. By the time the solution has been used up, the plant has reached it's expected maturity. you then start over with a new plant and more solution.
 
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I'm thankful for the opportunity to tend growing plants that will bring sustenance, even during the winter. Yesterday, I had lentil sprouts in a stir fry. Today, I have a batch of alfalfa sprouts greening up on the window sill. Fresh green crunch for sandwiches! Hydroponic lettuce is sizing up nicely. Aquaponic lettuce is a bust, but will try again. Chickens have had several meals of barley and oat sprouts. Just getting into the swing of it with them. Sorrel is putting on nice growth, and will be welcome in sandwiches, soup, and stir fries. Mung and Adzuki beans are waiting their turn in the sprouter.
 

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Today's research: Phosphorus levels in the garden. How many of us give any consideration to the fact that our farming practices could be overloading our soils with this macronutrient? Definitely worth looking at, especially in the back yard farm operation. Harvey Ussery (author of The Small Scale Poultry Flock) warns about the risks of phosphorus build up in the soil. I'm particularly interested in this topic b/c I want to balance the size of my poultry flock to my gardening practices.

I stumbled upon a Q/A thread dealing with the subject of fixing a soil Phosphorus overload. This response was the most thought provoking and helpful:


3rd Mar, 2019
Paul Reed Hepperly
University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
In regards to Jon Holtens comment of excessive Phosphorus this is not very common condition.

Mostly this condition could be associated with concentrated animal feeding operations with no systematic recycling of manures.

The solution is probably in need of better systems of waste recycling mandated by authorities and benefitting the integrated animal and field cropping systems.

Most tropical soils for instance are extremely low in Phosphorus.

The two biggest nutrient issues in relation to water are synthetic fertilizer losses and concentrated animal feeding operations.

For the most part unlike nitrate Phosphorus is not readily leached from the soil. In fact most Phosphorus is lost by top soil erosion and not chemical leaching. In most soils used for cultivation around the world Phosphorus would be more limiting than excessive.

From this stand point then what is the excessive level of Phosphorus?

This question may not be defined completely.

While Nitrogen can be obtained completely by biological nitrogen fixation there is a lot of discussion that Phosphorus is the peak issue with demand rapidly becoming more than the global supply in a continuing fashion.

One of the best ways to address excessive Phosphorus and leaching of Nitrogen which can foul aquatic systems is by weaning off of fertilizers and raw manures and concentrating on biological nitrogen fixation and compost utilization.

Many agricultural areas do not have effective plans for reducing and controlling soil erosion and this would be very critical in preventing dead zones around the sources of water running through agricultural areas.

Nutrients which are applied into the soil rather than surface applications is a way to improve utilization. Rotations which use legumes as the nitrogen source, the targeted use of Phosphorus as incorporated band starter fertilizer.

The use of mycorrhizal fungi to improve the efficacy of P utilization along with composting are all reasonable steps.

Oxisols extracted for aluminum production have a waste clay product which immobilizes Phosphorus which is usually considered problematic but might be useful in some situations.

Followed by this quote:

Sunita Gaind
Indian Agricultural Research Institute
Check the variability in soil test P across the field and withhold starter fertilizer containing P on high P soil.
Meet the crop N demands with only N containing fertilizer such as feather meal (N:p:K 13:0:0)
Grow forage crop (Sudan grass, Sorghum Sudan grass) that can remove P from soil
Cultivation of sunflower, soybean, clover, alfalfa can remove high content of P from soil
Onion, cabbage or potato vegetables have high P and K removal potential in the harvested product
 
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Lazy Gardener

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FEED THE SOIL, AND THE SOIL WILL FEED YOU. This video is refreshing:

The idea that meals should be driven by what the soil produces, not forcing the soil to produce what we think it should. The concept of eating food produced locally, in season.

Going back to the concept of: If every one who could... would...
 

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FEED THE SOIL, AND THE SOIL WILL FEED YOU. This video is refreshing:

The idea that meals should be driven by what the soil produces, not forcing the soil to produce what we think it should. The concept of eating food produced locally, in season.

Going back to the concept of: If every one who could... would...
i'm sure they share some of my own concerns, but i've not the moment to watch that. thanks i'll bookmark it until later. :)

one of my concerns is that some crops are very extractive of nutrients and minerals so that if you keep growing them eventually your soil is going to be poorer in some regards if that extraction exceeds the natural ability of the soil to regenerate (via subsoil, microbes, worms, ants, wind deposition, tree roots working on bedrock, etc.). this is why when i work on my own bean projects i am looking for plants that are moderately productive. i don't need a huge return from each plant, just enough is fine with me.
 

Lazy Gardener

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one of my concerns is that some crops are very extractive of nutrients and minerals so that if you keep growing them eventually your soil is going to be poorer in some regards if that extraction exceeds the natural ability of the soil to regenerate (via subsoil, microbes, worms, ants, wind deposition, tree roots working on bedrock, etc.).
Watch the video, and you will understand what they are saying. They are saying that you let the needs of the land drive what you grow, and how it is planted, and managed. One grower does 4 years of herd rotation followed by a year of grains, a year of legumes, then a year of typical veggie garden. Or some such rotation. There is an emerging restaurant chef school of thought: Their menus are driven by what is seasonal, and produced in a land management rotation, instead of having the chefs determine what the farmer grows. Menus being driven by common sense farming, instead of the farmer bowing to the whims of the chef, which may not be at all practical in terms of land management.
 
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