You knew this was going to happen eventually. A tomato
plant grafted unto a potato plant. Both are Solanaceae
(nightshade) and probably were the same plant years and
What I don't understand is how the plant would have enough
power left in it to grow both potatoes and tomatoes. Must
be the richest soil the plant could handle without burning
Will wonders ever cease!
When kindergartners are taught to plant beans with just blotting paper
and water even five year olds quickly learn that once germinatiom
occurs (in darkness) plants receive most of their growth energy from
sunlight. Plants will thrive and fruit in the poorest soil given
sufficient water and sunlight. Left to their own devices plants set
only enough fruit to reproduce. Using fertilzers and other agri
techniques is only to increase yield in less time... actually
selective hand harvesting will increase yield better than fertilizing.
Commercial growers fertilize because that costs less than constant
labor. As a home grower I don't use any feretilizers but all else
equal (water and sunlight) I selectively harvest constantly and end up
with a larger/better crop than had I just fertilized... easy to prove
by planting several tomato plants and fertilizing half and selectively
harvesting the other half while adding no fertilizer... constant
selective harvesting ensures a large less seedy crop... I'd much
rather an abundance of smaller veggies than a few giant seedy
specimens Most home gardeners over fertilize and over water, they do
more harm than good. More and more produce is being produced
hydroponically with no soil.
While it is true that much fertilisation of plants is ill advised, most
plants will NOT thrive in the poorest soil with only sunlight and water.
Heavy feeders exhaust the minerals in soil quickly and the rest more slowly
and unless they are replaced your crop will get smaller and your plants
weaker year after year. Farmers may well try to get crops to market
quickly but they are also interested in yield and that is the primary reason
for the application of fertiliser in agriculture. We might talk about
whether the large scale application of synthetic fertiliser is the best way
to get the result in the long term but to say that the present world could
be fed without some kind of fertiliser applied to cropland is just daft.
If you don't plant annuals you might imagine that your trees, shrubs and
grass are indicative of cropping but it isn't so.
Note that we are talking about crops here, where you take away large amounts
of organic material regularly, you can get systems that are approximately
closed regarding minerals (eg an undisturbed natural forest) that don't need
fertiliser applied by humans to but that isn't cropping.
But perhaps things are different in your part of the world, the Breatharian
spaceship must be right over your plot. Do you still eat three meals a day?
Hi David and Brooklyn1,
My soil is "decomposed sandstone". Like Decomposed granite (also
called DG), only way uglier. Even the weeds have a hard time growing
in it. I would probably have better luck trying to grow things
with soil from the moon.
If you read my running whine about how few zucchinis I got
off my plants, my research shows it is all the fault of the soil.
The way I look at it is the the same way I look at cooking. You can
make good ingredients taste bad, but you can't make bad ingredients
taste good. So it ALL starts with the soil. But, as with anything,
the poison is in the dosage. I suppose if you had good soil to
start with, you could really muck it up by over fertilizing,
especially if you used conventional fertilizers instead of organic
The successful home gardens out here are all raided beds with top soil
imported from the local compost place. (I ask every customer I
have that gardens how they do it.) My plans to convert my back
yard to to raised beds came to a screeching halt with this stinking
One lady plows under goat skat (polite farmer talk for animal poop).
She has to give away produce.
I remember Songbird wonderful advice about just go straight to the
ground and skip the raised beds -- get a lot more space. And she
really struck a cord. But, no one is successful with that out
here due to the decomposed sandstone. If I were to do my whole
back yard, the cost of importing good topsoil would be greater than
the raised beds.
I am rambling.
My garlic seems to love this cold weather.
It would help to know your location, but it sounds more like your soil
drains too quickly, like trying to grow crops in beach sand... adding
fertilizer won't help if it just washes away. You need to amend your
soil with organic matter and some sort of inorganic water retension
material. It would definitely help to have several inches of good
quality topsoil added. Most plant nurseries carry a variety of
amendments and can advise for your area:
Actually water tends to run off it. We are the lake bed of
the ancient Lake Lahontan. And my soil was graded 20 feet
down from the surface when they put houses in (I work for the
guy who did the grading).
The map doesn't show its complete extent.
Think clay amended with sand.
And I do believe you are exactly right on the amendment.
The local compost place has the perfect soil and compost,
but it gets expensive and I really want to put the money
towards the raided beds. I usually put 8 bugs of
compost down on my tiny garden. Every year things get better.
Two years ago, I got my first earth worms, which is a
good sign. Everyone that I have asked that has used their
soil and compost has had bumper crops.
Last year, although I whined a lot about it, I got more
Zukes in one week that I had got in all the previous years.
I still have to figure out what that stupid white powder
is that gets all over my zukes towards the end of the season and
kills them. I am NOT sky watering them. Shake the leaves
and get a white dust storm.
it's winter, i have time, long post ahead... : )
it's better to not make assumptions about gender on
the net when you don't know for sure.
the use of "they" in that case would be more appropriate
(FTR i am male if that makes you feel better).
what is your usual annual rainfall? are there high winds
very often? sunshine, freeze thaws, etc? is your primary
source of water via irrigation?
bringing in topsoil can be a short term solution, but i'd
hope that you've figured out your water and wind flows and
reshaped appropriately before doing that. it makes no sense
to bring in stuff that will wash or blow away.
with a limited budget you can get reasonable results by
adding some clay (3 - 5 percent) and using whatever organic
weed seed free materials you can scrounge (shredded cardboard
boxes can work just fine for starters -- use those that are
plain as possible with the less printed on them the better
or only black ink printing). and the garden will likely do
much better if you don't scatter resources widely and thinly.
pick a space you will use the most and work on improving and
understand that process first. each year you should have an
improving soil profile as more organic materials break down
and get recycled. always have something growing even if it
will be turned under later (peas, beans, soybeans, radishes,
buckwheat, turnips, winter wheat, oats, barley, beets... many
seeds are available in bulk from a farm supply store or a
grain elevator for not that much money).
around the edges grow deeper mining plants like alfalfa to be
used as a cover crop, source of trace nutrients and mulch when
you chop them back (they may need a few years to get established).
sometimes it may be good to plant some seeds in very deep and
narrow tubes and let them grow where you can make sure they
are kept moist before planting them out. depends upon your
conditions and if you have a rainy season, if you can irrigate
during dry spells, etc. with alfalfa having a deep tap root
established in the second and third year it can then usually
survive some of the dryer spells.
for larger areas practice water retaining strategies as they
also retain any topsoil you may be forming elsewheres. into
and around these features you can plant your other organic
material producers (native adapted shrubs, trees, or anything
else you can find to grow that will survive being trimmed back
once in a while, your larger sprawling garden plants are often
better off kept away from the regular gardens anyways as they
tend to take over if given a chance). use those trimmings and
plant remains as garden mulches or compost material sources and
to keep the soil covered as much as possible. hedges for wind
breaks are also very important for arid climate growing.
never export organic materials (via wind, water or harvest)
if you can help it, grow as much as you can and chop it to keep
the soil organic content high enough to help keep the soil moist.
all paper products that arrive here don't leave (unless they
are the plastic coated types which i don't recycle) they become
worm food and then garden food once processed.
these may upset some folks: fresh road kill is a near perfect
addition to a garden (avoid species which might be rabid or carrying
other problematic diseases), compost it or bury it deeply so that
the critters and your planting won't disturb it and within a few
years it's gold. of course human manure composting will help increase
soil nutrients too. if your family is healthy and doesn't use hormones
or chemotherapeutics then composted poo/pee is a valuable resource.
hard to get people to accept it, but there is no reason to not use
such a valuable resource if you can learn to do it safely (the
humanure handbook is freely available on-line). it just freaks
out people though so most gardeners won't do it (but they will use
composted cow manure from sources they know much less about than
their own family, so go figure...). if you build in a long enough
cycle there is no problem from disease organisms and if you are
very paranoid you can even use it as a subsoil amendment (buried
deeply again) and that will cover all remaining issues.
learning about composting and rotting in general is useful
anyways. using worms to process any vegetable wastes, bone
grinding, egg shells, how to scrounge materials, asking around
for finding unused fruit trees and other gleanings, many ways
of getting more organic materials if you have the time or
inclination. here we will accept chunks of rotting wood, bark,
sawdust, leaves, twigs (shredded or not) from friends who do
firewood cutting. we don't have termites so there is no problem
from putting these around and letting them get broken down by
fungi, ants, worms, beetles, etc. organic produce stores,
butcher, farm stands, neighbors, ... the list is pretty much
endless once you start looking and asking around.
oh, i've left out the animal angle. the role that animals
can play in restoring topsoil is worth a book in itself. we
don't go beyond worm and soil community type critters here as
Ma cannot tolerate animals of any kind, but i would get a lot
of use out of a small goat and a few quail.
it's often more a matter of what you are willing to do.
i try to keep it as simple as possible here. stopping at the
worm level is a very easy system and doesn't require a whole
lot of extra efforts on my part. if i spend more than an
hour a month on worm stuff it is because i'm goofing around
and have the time. in the winter i have plenty of time.
for some fun reading you can check out the case studies at:
for ideas of how to deal with degraded or barren land. there
are many other resources and ideas available out there. i tend
to like those that consider the whole system and work at
improving the diversity and basic groundwater holding capacity,
but it is pretty important to also make sure that if you are
doing groundwater holding stuff and there are hills involved
to make sure your geology can support the extra water without
Oops. My Bad. Songbird sounded like a girl. I will
think big gnarly songbird next time. (I thought
Higgs was the wrong gender for the longest time too.)
Yes, up to hurricane category 1 (95 MPH +)
Cat 1, about once a year.
35 to 55 MPH about once a month.
5 to 25, twice a week
Our last big one blew leaves up again chain link fences
and then blew the fences over. It was fun to walk in,
except for the dirt in your eyes.
The wind is hell on fences.
Freezes up to the end of May. We are told not to transplant
outside till the second week of June. I put my tomatoes pots
out in the day and bring then into the garage at night before
I transplant them.
October is usually our first freeze. (Man zukes look pathetic
after they freeze.)
We are the High Sierra Desert Plato
Yes. Deep well water from an aquifer that comes out of
Lake Tahoe (about 200,000 years ago). It is very good
tasting. And, it has a small calcium content. Sometimes
there is chlorine in the water, most not though.
That is why I was looking at raised beds. Maybe about a
foot and a half high with the dirt only going up about
a foot. Spritz them with water when a big wind comes up.
Sounds like a job for Garlic. I have about 15 of them going
now that seems to adore this cold weather. Fresh garlic
from the garden is truly a delicacy!
Of course everything from your garden tastes better.
(I presume you have heard my theory about why folks
don't eat or like produce.) Well, except turnips:
I am always battling grass, which I turn over twice in the
winter and cover up with compost in the spring, right
I have been using purslane for that: hold the ground down
in the wind and the moisture in. And I make salads out
of it to die for.
I am afraid to plow my diseased zukes (white powder on them)
for my tomatoes, for fear of all the diseases they get. But I
have no such fear of grass.
Good news! I am the only one that did not get those stinking
squash bugs this year. I have had them in the past.
How about shopping paper bags. But, most of them have colored
ink on them.
How about carp?
They breath it out all over you too. And if I am
not mistaken, their success rate it nearly zero.
I would never be able to get the human poop past my wife.
I have been offered goat poop by a friend.
I had plenty of human poop under my house when my black line
broke. Well, until the water removal people sucked it all out
and put down lime.
I have said this before, but without your ideas, long term space
travel will be impossible, much less a colonies on the moon.
Mars, we will have to bring EVERYTHING with us as the soil in
soaked in sulfuric acid.
Should my (organic) chicken eggs shells be plowed under?
I have seen documentaries on this. You are dead on.
Didn't look but will. My research confirms what you say.
You must nurture the soil. Your plants can be no better than
Question: when I get around to drafting up my back yard
(LibreCAD), I was intending to leave the bottoms of my
raised beds open so water would not stagnate at the
bottom. Your advice? Put some small rocks down at the
Question: when I have been laying down compose, I just rake
it over the top and water it in. Should I be turning over
the soil? Or is on top fine?
I am thinking of converting my tiny garden to a raised bed.
I sure have put a lot of work into nurturing the soil.
I am not liking the idea of covering it up.
By the way, I am thinking of using Decomposed Granite (DG) as
ground cover for the non-growing areas and my gazebo (have
to get something that doesn't blow away).
I like Ponderosa pine for the trees and will plant more.
(Hey, what can I say, they smell nice! You have heard
of Tree Huggers. Well, I am a tree smeller.) They
seem to like growing around granite in the mountains
and I think DG is pretty. My neighbor hauls the stuff
and told me to let him know when I am ready. Any problems
you can think of with DG?
Do you have any idea what that white powder is on my zukes
towards the end of the season that is killing my plants?
Sorry about the girl thing. Thank you for helping me with
this! You are a Gold Mine of knowledge.
You don't want those free wood chips, that's a great way to end up
with all manner of plant diseases, destructive insects, and
molds/mildews.... free ends up expensive. Any compost, chips, and
other organic garden materials one acquires needs to be lableled
"Sterilized". Those free chips should be okay if they are hot
composted prior to application, which means one must have somewhere a
good distance from ones gardening area, minimally 100 yards away.
i'd try dilute powdered skim milk mixed with water or
freshly aireated worm tea or many other more organic
things first. copper may be considered organic, but it
can accumulate and it is toxic to various creatures.
instead of fighting it i more often considering plants
done by the time that disease starts up and compost them.
there is often a more productive use of the space when
crops begin to fade or start showing signs of diseases.
head them off, get 'em composted and plant something
else. IMO all much better uses of time and space than
fighting disease on plants that are obviously weakening.
yep, if you can scrounge wood chips as long as they
aren't coming from treated wood they can help a lot
too. the large pieces of wood will soak up water if
it becomes available and then the fungi will gradually
break it down.
I have wondered about that. Maybe it is the plant's own
defenses failing as it has lived it cycle?
I think I will just pull them out next time, rather
than waiting for them to die all pathetic.
Also, I blanched a lot this year. I have lots of zukes
and Rat (Ratatouille) in the freezer still. Oh man it
is good over the winter stuff you get at the store!
And, I found that the one huge Zuke that hid from me
with skin like sheet metal that had to be sawed,
blanched up just fine. When I thawed it out in the
microwave, I found that the sheet metal separated from the
meat and all I had to do was collect the skins up and toss
them. Very cool. I was able to save the over grown zuke.
Even the big seeds were tender.
arid climate and frequent winds means your wind
breaks are very important. this helps cut down on
evaporation losses and should be a part of your
overall site design (along with considerations for
fire control if your area is prone to fires as
high winds and fires can be a real extreme hazard).
yep, that is a part of why growing wind breaks can
be a bonus, whatever organic materials they can collect
become humus in time.
sounds like you have a similar start of the season
to us. we don't put the delicate plants out until
the last week of May. our first frosts can happen in
mid-Sept, but sometimes can go later.
so probably not inexpensive either in terms of
infrastructure and energy to pump it around.
the surface of the soil should be mulched in your climate.
you're losing a lot of water via evaporation and those
winds. even if you have to cover it with a layer of
cardboard with holes poked through it for the plants
and nothing else that will help a great deal, but a layer
of mulch on top of the soil is going to be more useful
than about anything else you can do (other than wind
breaks and a bit of clay).
i would not use raised beds in an arid climate where you
may have hot summers and wind. why expose your plants to
more wind and higher temperatures? you'll lose your water
faster and the worms will either die off from getting too
hot or they'll dry out too much and go dormant or again,
die off. thermal mass, water holding capacity... look
up the surface area in a gram of clay and compare that
to sand. when i say that adding a little clay will be a
big help i'm not kidding.
to me raised beds are useful only if you have accessibility
issues and must have the added height to be able to garden
(to me i'd rather crawl on the ground and i have as i
consider it a nice place to explore, i have a nice pillow
to sit on when i need to get that close to the ground and
that pillow also saves the knees some wear). otherwise i
consider them expensive, material intensive, more work and
all those edges have to be kept up (weeded around or
installed in such a way to prevent weed intrusion into the
if you took 1/4 of the money you'd spend on raised beds
and put that towards some clay and added organic materials
you'll be 3/4 ahead and have a larger and more productive
garlic takes time to finish and can be in the way of
other plantings if you are doing a more traditional
garden style of managed plots. it makes a better
edge plant or something to put in odd spaces that
you might not have plans to use for about a year (fall
the worms do love garlic remains when i add them
to the worm bins. garlic roots, stems, husks, bits,
all eventually get eaten up and turned into great
stuff. they don't eat the living bulbs though, so
i have to cut them up first. since i dry everything
first the garlic bits get dried too. like carrots
they rarely rot when they are drying.
if you are removing it and not replacing it with
a different plant you're wasting time and energy.
in an arid climate you want your soil covered no
matter what. a weed is just as good as any other
plant if you are not using that space. clip it
once in a while (before it goes to seed) and use
those clippings in your gardens. free organic
as you work on the site, there are places where you
can remove the grass and replace it, but you always
want to have a replacement plant going instead.
when i convert a grassy area here the way i do it is
to dig up the sod in chunks and turn it upside down and
bury it deeply enough that the remaining roots won't
be able to reach the surface again (or if they do there
will be a barrier in place so that they cannot survive).
sod like this is a very nutrient laden material. the
worms will break it down as it rots. wonderful stuff.
for burying depth here for most of our grass species
that means about a foot and a half. we have a lot of
clay which tends to help smother things well. in a
sandy soil i'd probably go deeper or make sure there is
a good cover to prevent regrowth. a layer of cardboard
with mulch over it can do that in an arid climate and
should last a year or two. by that time you've either
killed off the grass buried that deeply or whatever
does come up can be dug up again and dried out before
actually, in an arid climate digging up the grass
roots and exposing the sod to the sun for a few weeks
will likely do in about any grass species i can think
of. then you could compost it before using it in
yeah, that's a good cover, we have some here that
wanders around. worms love it, good compost material.
you don't need to bury them the same place you have
a garden. you can keep a reserve area for burying
things like this and over the years that will help
improve that soil too. the soil critters can deal with
fungi and fungal spores just as well as bacteria. in
a few years you can shift areas and plant squash or
other plants in there and they'll likely be ok. if
powdery mildew is in the air it's not something you
can always completely avoid. around here it's a late
summer thing and by the time it shows up most of the
plants are alreay past their most productive stages
and are finishing up anyways. i don't spray any of
it and all gets buried. haven't noticed it being
worse or better based upon that, but seems to be
more heat/weather related.
squash is about one of the favorite things we
grow here. our crop last year wasn't too good.
i didn't like how it was planted but my advice
was ignored so ... next spring we'll be putting
it in a different place. we'll see how that
any of the brown craft papers are usually ok if they
have not been otherwise treated. they use that sort of
paper for the leaf bags around here.
sure, why not? i used to bury the larger
northern pikes caught under the rose garden.
they were very healthy plants. :)
by hormones i was thinking birth control and
the age related bone density or menopause types,
but there might be others i'd not want to put
into a garden.
yeah, i can't get it to go here either, but if i ever
live alone and have a garden to work with then i'll
start trying out various methods of using it.
take as much of it as you can use. :) if they
aren't feeding those goats bad stuff then you're
into some really prime organic material.
i actually wasn't sure that was you in that other group.
i thought Mars was iron oxides (Venus is acidic)?
the real challenge right now is that we really do not
know the minimal size of any recycling system that will
work for the longer term. we have only one example that
we know works and that is the earth and sadly it seems
we're more bent on destroying large chunks of it before
we really understand it.
some smaller examples of enclosed systems have taught
us some things, but they have not been really used well
enough to answer these sort of questions.
there have been some enclosed glass orb systems that
have gone for many years but nothing with larger animals.
until we have a clean long term energy source that is
also reliable space exploration or any chances to have
growing and large environments in space is going to be
limited by proximity to the sun. that doesn't get us
out of the isolated pickle we are in, but it at least
does get some of us off planet and in my opinion that is
a worthy start on the ways.
if you don't have chickens to eat the shells then
sure, i'd put them in the compost pile or the worm
bins or bury them in the gardens. your soil may be
fairly alkaline already, but if you keep adding
organic matter then the egg shells will be a source
of calcium for the plants and animals.
overgrazing is a large part of the reason why
most of the middle east is barren where it used to
be able to support fields of grain. of course it
did not help that the Romans came along and turned
those areas into grain exporting regions, but that
was only a part of that story. they are doing
great work in learning how to restore such lands
now, if enough people could be allowed to do it
and not harrassed or killed by the radicals it
could do much to feed the peoples who are there.
gotta have the other things too (sunlight and moisture).
but yeah, the soil is your footing, treat it well or be
you don't have that much water to worry about that often.
containers should always have some drain holes, but those
holes are ingress points for critters or weeds so they
may need to be covered by metal mesh or some other hardy
material so extra water can drain out.
your soil needs some organic material in it to help
hold water. add some clay, add some of that goat manure
and mix it with your surface soil, dampen it enough that
it can rot for a few weeks, then any other extra organic
materials you can scrounge (large flats of cardboard can
be used as edges or to control that grass you talk about).
plant through the holes and watch the moisture level so
that it doesn't dry out near your seedlings. you only
want to use as little water as possible in your climate.
drip irrigation for some of your larger plants and
desired bushes or trees might be needed until they are
but basically you want most of your organic materials
up on top so they hold what little water you have in the
garden. a nice thick layer of mulch is good for arid
climates. the worms will work at the bottom of it and
gradually incorporate it into the soil. i much prefer
for them to do the digging for me if possible, but for
a first shot at a garden i will do some digging to bury
organic materials to help jump start the system.
i wouldn't as i've said above. extra expense and
no real benefit when you can spend much less for what
does count more.
around the edges put down a layer of some weed
barrier to keep the grasses from edging in down as
deep as those grass root systems tend to grow. saves
a lot of BS later. and a weed barrier underneath the
DG to keep any randomly sprouting seeds from having
an easy go of it. put the DG down deep enough to
discourage easy seed germination too. we use a fairly
thick layer of crushed limestone here and it keeps
most of the weed seeds that blow in from ever sprouting.
our biggest problems are intrusions from the sides if
we haven't put down a good enough edge or the morning
if you can get it for little cost you can use it to
create water flow breaks that will slow down any run off
and allow it to sink in instead. always want to decrease
erosion and encourage water retention for arid landscapes.
if you don't have anything growing this material will
work as well as any other for holding topsoil in place
until you can get something growing there instead.
easier to move than larger rocks.
powdery mildew most likely. here it is a late summer
disease that shows on plants that aren't resistant to
it or those that are weakened or on the annuals which
are in decline.
keep on reading and studying what you can and do what
you can, learn from experiences and always keep eyes open
to observe what is going on.
if you get time to read a more layered approach try the
basic permaculture books you can get from the library. any
of the originals are worth a read. and much is available
on-line too. i'm always looking for examples of
restoration for degraded or difficult sites and they now
have some good ones that you can see the results.
i think the stuff that really got my interest was to
start thinking in terms of flows, energy, wind, water,
stacking functions, etc. keyline water retention
strategies are amazing when you start studying what
can be done to control erosion and spread water flows
around and to restore compacted soils.
there's really no end to what you can keep learning
and studying. i'd rather do that than watch tv anytime.
some people spend time in bars or churches, i spend most
of mine reading and gardening. i'm not the smartest
person here by far, i forget plant, animal, etc. species
names about as fast as i learn them. but since i know
that's not my strength i try to think of things in
terms of systems and layers and that is where it fits
well with permaculture or agroforestry or other land
restoration techniques. overriding principles are always
to keep it simple so that anyone can do it and to use
as minimal inputs as possible so that you don't have
to move so much stuff around or buy so much of what
ends up becoming useless garbage.
while i'm meandering:
for even more facinating reads get into ants. they
are amazing creatures (like worms but even more
complicated in their diversity and distribution).
almost as complicated as humans and have a large
impact upon the world that most people rarely notice
other than to think of how to poison them.
Mars dirt has crazy high sulphuric content. You can't
breath the air, you can touch the soil, colder than
all get out, no magnetic field to protect from the
solar winds, you can't come back (to the Earth) if you stay
too long (low gravity and your bones), no trout.
Can't see any reason why anyone would ever want to go there.
Now I do believe that ever since the first human eye gazed
on the first star in the heavens, that humanity was meant
to go there. (It will be a red letter day when humanity
develops trans-light drives.)
And I don't think we have even the tiniest clue what
microbes are required to keep soil alive (or when we
get there) on a long trip. Or how to nurture those
microbes. We take a lot for granted living on this
We should first have successful colonies on the moon
before going to Mars. And the moon is protected somewhat
by the Earth's magnetosphere.
Did I mention no trout on Mars (or the moon for that
yes i do, we've taken tons of them each year if
someone will bring them. we've not lost any trees
from diseases, we have pine trees that struggle
because they are planted in clay and they get
flooded once in a while and we have a few cedar
trees that are struggling due to repeated deer
feasting, but that is about it for losses.
we are not in an arid climate here, we get
plenty of rain and foggy nights and various other
water events including flash floods. if bringing
in wood chips caused fungal problems i'd notice it.
my largest fungal disease problem was a grape
vine that was not resistant to black rot. gone
in an arid climate i don't think Todd has to
worry too much about fungal tree diseases.
Once upon a time on usenet songbird wrote:
The amount of nutrient in human manure is minimal compared with that in
urine. I have been practicing 'micturition farming' for decades now and have
had excellent results. It is very easy to do (especially when compared with
the use of solid manure) and appeals to my sense of the cyclic nature of
things and my abhorrence of waste in general.
I just keep a bucket next to the toilet and use it for urine, emptying it
into a watering can and diluting with water at least 10:1 (often with used
aquarium water for that added nutrient boost). The sooner it's used the
better or the urea will degrade into ammonia and become less bio-available.
People who know me are amazed at my horticultural successes but I don't
often share my secret as people can have totally irrational opinions of
"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
Yes you can go straight out into the garden, directly on to the lemon tree
is just fine, it doesn't need to be cool or collected in a bucket. In this
age of equality teach your daughters this as well as your sons. The
targeting might be different but the analysis is about the same.
Human urine is not concentrated enough to harm plants in the ground, it
might be possible if you flooded a potted plants but then you might also
find it a little aromatic for the patio or the front room too. For those
who are about to read me a lesson on public health your urine ought to be
sterile unless you have a urinary tract infection in which case you should
be seeing the doctor not pissing on your plants.
in an arid climate i'd not want to use a lot of it
all the time, but right before the rainy season is
recently the knowledge on this has changed. originally
when such studies were made baterial levels were below that
easily detectable, now they find that "urine is sterile" is a
myth. so it does usually have some bacteria in it but that
doesn't mean it is a problem when properly composted.
poo & pee together with some carbon source (sawdust,
shredded leaves, etc.) is about the perfect combination
and will compost nicely.
there are plenty of nutrients in feces from humans,
bacteria will use it as an energy source quite easily.
trace elements that did not get absorbed, etc. all often
well appreciated by plant life.
though i do not believe in "design" i do think that we
are here in this system and not outside of it so that
what goes in and comes back out are a good part of the
whole. just treat it with the respect it deserves.
if you are in an arid climate with little access to
organic materials use it instead of wasting it.
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