Organic Vegetable Garden Diary, May 13, 2015
This is a great time of year to be a gardener. You can really see growth in your plants from one day to the next, let alone one week to the next.
The horizontal bars on the trellis are a great measurement tool to gauge the growth from week to the next. In one week they’ve grown more than one foot! (despite the 4+ inches of rain we received in the span of 5 days…sorry California!) After 2 years of disappointing cucumber production, I’ve been doing some research and have learned that cukes are heavy feeders.
I read somewhere that it’s hard to over-fertilize them (within common sense guidelines). When I planted them I used a general-purpose organic fertilizer, and have followed up once or twice with the same fertilizer in the month that they’ve been in the ground.
Cucumbers are also big drinkers and like their space (hmm…sounds like some people I know!) The 9″ spacing between them, is about as close as they should be if trellised. They need to be farther apart if mounded.
They’ve also had the benefit of 2 doses of compost tea since they’ve been in the ground. If you’re not familiar with compost tea, it’s just what it sounds like. In the simplest sense, it’s compost that has been ‘brewed’ in water and the resulting ‘tea’ is poured over the plants. The benefits of compost tea to an organic gardener are tremendous. My goal, as an organic gardener, is to help my soil be it’s absolute healthiest thereby enhancing its ability to defend itself (and the plants in it) against harmful organisms and pests and by extension, eliminating the need for products to treat problems. Compost tea is a great way to help your soil get healthy. The brewing process helps the micro-organisms in your compost ‘wake up’ and multiply so that when you pour it into your soil and over your plants, you are providing bazgillions of these wonderful critters. They work their magic by introducing beneficial organisms to protect plant surfaces from disease, providing nutrients and stimulating microbial activity in your soil. The increased activity speeds up the decay process thereby returning nutrients in usable forms to your soil making it even more fertile. The secret is making your soil as alive as possible!
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I’m sure that I’m in the vast minority of moms who received her very own Compost Tea Brewer for Mother’s Day! I know, you’re all jealous. But the good news: Terry worked hard building the brewer and we will share his ‘tutorial’ with you soon so that you too can have your very own Compost Tea Brewer!
In the soil test I referenced last week, it was recommended that I add Fulvex and Compost Tea to my soil to increase the microbial activity in it. I sought out the soil test because, while it seemed we had been doing everything right over the past years, my crops lately have been rather lackluster.
The easiest way for me to explain it is that the soil just seemed ‘tired’. So I wasn’t surprised when the analysis showed that my soil had many of the necessary organic components, but seemed to be below where it needed to be in terms of microbial activity, or living creatures, in my soil. In a nutshell, the combination of the Fulvex and the compost tea should create a microbial version of Times Square on New Year’s Eve in my soil!
How’s your garden growing?
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Until next time,
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