Sunday, May 1, 2011

Highly Mineralized Organic Fertilizer

These fertilizer recipes are guidelines and adaptable. They were developed for use in the high rainfall area of the Pacific Northwest which has a tendency to be deficient in minerals and acidic. When blending HMOF all ingredients are measured by volume, using a tin can or other scoop. Many of these materials are quite dusty. I recommend applying them with a sports field ‘line marker’ to get the most material on the ground while creating the least windblown dust. Do not measure by weight. Into a large plastic bucket pour the following:

• 4 measures of linseed/alfalfa meal;
• ½ measure of ordinary agricultural lime;
• ½ measure of dolomite lime;
• 1 measure of fish bone meal
• ½ measure crustacean or crab meal
• ½ measure green sand
• ¼ measure azomite
• ¼ measure glacial dust
• ½ to 1 measure of Thorvin kelp meal.
• 1/8 measure SEA-90
• 1/8 measure Epson salt
Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

• 2-3 measures of fish meal;
• ½ measure of ordinary agricultural lime;
• ½ measure of dolomite lime;
• 1 measure of fish bone meal
• ½ measure crustacean or crab meal
• ½ measure green sand
• ¼ measure azomite
• ¼ measure glacial dust
• ½ to 1 measure of Thorvin kelp meal.
• 1/8 measure SEA-90
• 1/8 measure Epson salt
Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Two methods for applying.

Method 1--Uniformly spread 4–6 quarts of HMOF per 100 sq. feet of intensely planted growing bed or, if growing in long rows, 4–6 quarts of HMOF per 50 row feet, covering a band up to 18” wide depending on the crop and centered on where the water will be applied if using drip irrigation, not necessarily in the center of the planting. Dig in the fertilizer in advance of planting to let soil bacteria and fungi start working on the material before plants need the nutrition. Once the seedlings are up, if your crop does not grow fast enough to suit you, side-dress it with up to another 4–6 quarts per 100 sq. ft. of bed or 50 feet of row. If the extra HMOF gives you a good result you shouldn’t need any more through the entire crop cycle. If the extra HMOF had no result, you did not need it, and do not add any more because you might over fertilize and harm your plants.

Method 2—Rough up the surface of the soil or use something like a wheel hoe to make a shallow trench. Next, use a sports line marker and band the fertilizer 2-4” wide in the trench. You can plant in the trench and cover as you go or plant next to the trench and cover as you go. It does help to get the fertilizer activated in advance as it won’t become available to the plants until it starts getting worked on by the soil food web.

This fertilizer may be too rich in magnesium for some soils. As a first year application you should be all right with this formula but like any good thing it is easy to overdo it. Subsequent applications should be accompanied by a soil test to make sure you aren’t adding more than you need to accomplish the goal of growing highly nutritious vegetables and fruits. The primary use of this type of fertilizer is to feed the soil and encourage it to become highly biological. The soil food web then feeds your plants and the plants supply energy back to the soil food web. Consider this when applying any kind of fertilizer and amendments to soils as less is often more.

Soil tests may indicate that you need 5 tons of lime per acre to get to the desired range of pH. Disregard that. Conventional wisdom is that you cannot possibly grow plants, let alone highly nutritious food, without soil being very close to a neutral pH. This was proven to be false by soil scientists working for the USDA extension office in the 1930s when they fed plants a highly acidic form of calcium that brought the soil down to pH 3.5. As long as minerals like calcium are present in solution they are available to the plants. If in doubt some minerals can be applied as a foliar spray.

• If soil tests show that you have a very low pH and that you are low in calcium and magnesium then use the dolomite. Magnesium raises pH six times faster than calcium.

• Dolomite, which contains calcium and magnesium, and lime may be eliminated if soils are near a desirable pH because the bone and crab meal will provide enough calcium to be adequate for feeding.

• Epsom salt, which consists of magnesium and sulfur, has a neutral pH. Consider eliminating this if your soil has adequate magnesium. Sulfur is important to watch though, and even small amounts can have a great effect on yields if it isn’t available in meaningful quantities. Some essential amino acids are sulfur based so don’t neglect sulfur.

• If you have pelletized types of agricultural lime and dolomite available such as “Calpril” or “Dolopril” you might want to consider using that as your “lime” source as it is slower releasing and may provide more consistent nutrition in wet conditions and they are less likely to burn plants.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chicken etc. Feed

I agreed to be a drop point for Scratch and Peck Feed out of Bellingham, WA. We are also carrying their garden hoop package and parts if you want to extend the season with a cloche. Here is a copy of an ad that runs in Craigslist periodically.

Growing your own food? Here is some help. Non corn/soy or soy free Layer feed and goat feed now available as well as 3 grain scratch. Broiler, grower, and pig available by request. 

Soy-Free and non-GMO feed grown and milled in Washington. Also available are feeds for turkeys, goats and pigs. Grain is all organic grain direct from the farmers right here in Washington which means a smaller carbon footprint while supporting local agriculture. I use this high quality feed because I believe that "you are what your animals eat!" My Hens love this feed and I am thrilled to be able to offer it to more Portland urban chickens! Features Washington grown organic whole grains specially blended to meet the dietary needs of poultry and livestock.

Naturally Free - Whole Grain Layer Feed   50 pound bag - $25.99 

Layer whole-grain mash is a complete chicken feed and contains 16.4% protein. It can also be used to supplement a pasture-based diet. Use this feed when chickens reach 17-20 weeks of age or begin laying eggs. 

Soy Free - Whole Grain Layer Feed   50 pound bag $25.99 
Layer whole-grain mash is a complete chicken feed with 16.4% protein. Can also be used to supplement a pasture-based diet.
All grains come from certified organic growers.

Goat Whole-Grain Mash   50 pound bag  $24.99
Goat whole-grain mash has 16.5% protein. Use this goat feed to provide your goats a healthy dose of daily nutrition.

Whole grain scratch   50 pound bag $18.99
This is a sproutable mix of triticale, wheat, and barley from organic growers. 

Whole-grain wheat-sproutable. 50 pound bag $16.99
Whole-grain triticale-sproutable. 50 pound bag $16.99

Pick-up only in Camas.
Easy pick up location near Hwy 14.
Respond above or call Tom at 360-216-1536
Quantity discounts available

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

GM Alfalfa-A National Disgrace

Mr. Obama,
A good, clean, and nutritious food supply is one of the most basic of all human rights. Agricultural commodity companies have turned into chemical companies so that you can’t walk into a supermarket and find real food anymore. Almost the only thing you can find is packaged goods made by chemists with a list of ingredients. Chemical companies, with government approval, now want to take the right and our right to choose natural foods away from us. I urge you to use any means at your disposal to disapprove genetically modified alfalfa to be sold or produced. If it is allowed to be sold then all animal products fed genetically modified organisms should be clearly labeled as such. I should have the right to decide whether I want to eat foods that are natural or not and not have my health be subject to decisions made by corporations that are acting to benefit short term profits for shareholders.

Every promise made by chemical companies that want to continue to exert their influence over our food supply has been broken. Monsanto promised their GM seeds would lower the need for pesticides. Instead pesticide use went up and weeds became more resistant to pesticides requiring even more chemical use. Now they want to introduce GM alfalfa making more promises that no one is sure that they can keep.There is no need to introduce so many genetically modified organisms into our environment. The rapid pace of introduction of so many genetically modified organisms that are different from the food stocks that we co-evolved with may have consequences that we don't yet understand. Our food supply is already almost completely controlled by chemical companies, so much so that even foods that meet the minimal technical designation of "organic" are little more than a chemists recipe far removed from the natural food that some of the ingredients started out as.

There should be a ten year moratorium on introducing any new genetically modified food stocks unless a compelling case can be made to show that not bringing a GM crop forward would hurt a national interest. There is a lot of research yet to be done before we understand how we interact with our food supply and what kind of effects that new rearrangements of chemicals in our environment might affect our health. Government policy has already played a leading role in making the people in this country sick and fat which has led to an epidemic of diabetes and heart disease. Don't keep on committing to the same types of mistakes by letting chemical companies continue to dictate to consumers what kinds of products are in our food supply.

Thomas Gibson
Camas Permaculture

Farmers and consumers: Contact President Obama and let him know that the USDA’s approval of GE Alfalfa is dangerous and unacceptable.

Tell President Obama that you don’t want organic and conventional agriculture contaminated by GE Alfalfa, and that you have a right to eat meat, dairy, and eggs from livestock who consume non-genetically engineered crops.

President Barack Obama
Phone: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461

For a fact sheet with additional information on GE Alfalfa, click here.

The Cornucopia Institute P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, WI 54827