I FEED BOTH THE SOIL AND THE PLANTS
Life is made up of linear thinking where decisions are either this way or that way, and circular both/and thinking where the cause is the effect and the effect is the cause. I have straight rows in my garden, but I feed both the living soil and the various plants. I feed the plants with Spray-N-Grow micronutrients and Bill’s Perfect Fertilizer to provide immediate nourishment when the plants are small, growing, budding, and fruiting. These foliar spray fertilizers are a compliment to the foundation of living soil that nurture the roots as well as the growing plant above ground.
I have already shared about the different organic fertilizers and healthy compost I use in preparing the soil to plant. Hopefully, my soil is alive with beneficial microbes and fungi that feed the organic fertilizer nutrients to the roots of the plants in my garden.
About once per month I make about 60-80 gallons of liquid microbial concentrate (LMC) or compost tea. (There are many kits and recipes in books and on the internet.) I put 30 gallons of rain water in a large plastic garbage can and use two aerators with 6-8 air stones on long tubes to provide aeration to the water. I put about a quart of a mixture of healthy compost, worm castings, and humates in a cloth container with 1/16” openings weighted with a rock into the water. Two of the air stones go into the compost container. I add an activator to the water. (Commercial activators are available.) I cover the garbage can and aerate the 30 gallons for about 48 hours. The goal is to awake dormant healthy microbes and fungi in the compost mixture and multiply them by the tens of thousands. I have no way to measure this goal and can only report my observations.
After 48 hours, I take 5 gallons out and add 10 gallons of rain water in another smaller garbage can with two of the air stones. To this garbage can I add powdered mycorrhizae, liquid fish, liquid kelp, dry soluble organic fertilizers, liquid trace minerals, and diluted molasses. I use a sprinkling can of this mixture to drench each garden row and the fruit trees. I continue making this 2 to 1 mixture until all the LMC is used.
The results are noticeable in the thick stalks and large dark green leaves of plants that are loaded with blooms and/or fruit. The mycorrhizae help produce multiple roots with dozens of tiny hairs. These roots take up water and the building blocks of proteins, carbohydrates and other compounds which are made available by the living microbes in the soil. The leaves are the food producing factories in the plant using sun light and the foliar sprayed nutrients of Spray-N-Grow to make carbohydrates. These are shared with the plant going down to the roots. The larger the leaves the more the plants benefit from the foliar spray. It’s both/and wisdom!