Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Compost is NOT enough? Steve!? NOOOOO!!!

The brilliant Steve Solomon, author of the must-have book Gardening When It Counts, talks about why compost is no longer enough to grow the best veggies:

And he doesn't even touch on the toxic manure problem...

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At March 6, 2013 at 11:40 AM , Blogger rycamor said...

Hmm... confirms some of my suspicions, but I wonder if he is overstating the case.

At March 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM , Blogger stevo_61 said...

This is relevant to me. I have tried not using commercial fertilizers and making my own compost primarily from horse, donkey and chicken manure and bedding. I'm pretty sure it is out of balance. I have huge muscadine grape vines with almost no fruit. My citrus has a yellowing pattern on the leaves. I sent a picture to the local agriculture dept. that suggested that I have a magnesium deficiency. There are other issues with figs, blueberries and peaches. So, I'm going to try an experiment of going back to fertilizer with extra mineral additives (ironite and epsom salts) to see if I can get back to past levels of production.

At March 6, 2013 at 3:59 PM , Blogger rycamor said...

I have used almost no commercial fertilizers and I find that as long as I compost heavily, using every trick in the book (including--yes--urine), I get decent but not stunning results with most veggies, excellent results with a few (the leafy brassicas, yard-long beans, okra, hot peppers, sweet potatoes, cassava), and generally poor results with sweet things like blueberries, strawberries, citrus, and cantaloupe.

Of course, I have been focusing first on core survival crops so I suppose soon it will be time to put some more effort into figuring out the fruits.

At February 2, 2014 at 8:49 AM , Blogger Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

Read your toxic poop article... I found this article which discusses picloram, clopyralid and aminopyralid back in 2012 when a horse breeder I know was talking about a new poison that he'd found for his pasture... that rendered the poop unfit to garden with...

Re the poor compost...
While a horse that is fed a quality diet will produce a slightly better product than a cow that's fed poorly... I fail to see it as an important consideration when building my compost pile... As they say... you gotta eat something.
My bottomless sand is soooo poor that anything organic helps... (as long as it isn't poison).

At February 2, 2014 at 2:22 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

"Anything organic" is definitely a good start, particularly with bad sand. If the garden is your main source of vegetables, however, it would be good to think about importing some greensand, kelp meal (though maybe not, thanks to Fukushima), azomite or other volcanic minerals to bind with that organic matter and keep you from missing some micronutrients long-term.


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