Green Baby Nurturing–Feed and Prevent

tomato and weedsWe all know that our green babies need nutrition and a bit of help with the pests.  My first year of gardening (last year), I was surprised to learn of so many things that are good for the plants, but are still acceptable (and encouraged) in organic gardening.

I like to treat for pests once a week. I fell short last year on this one, so I am using my reminder program on my smart phone to harass me when I am due to do this weekly. It is not that I don’t enjoy doing it–I just loose track of when I last did it and when it is time to do it again.

A few favorites of mine have  become Neem Oil. I buy this in concentrate and mix it in my sprayer. I have found it to be really helpful on the pest control. Personally I like the smell of this when I spray it. I am not sure if I am odd that way or if you find it pleasant also.

I really love to make Red Pepper Garlic Spray also. I grow Habenero Peppers for this purpose. Google this and you will find lots of recipes!  Pick one that suits you. It is lovely as it makes your garden smell like salsa, but the insects (and some furry friends) don’t care for it at all.

I feed my plants weekly also. I rotate between fish emulsion (I buy Fertrell concentrate).  This stuff smells hideous, but the plants always look perky the day after they get a dose of this, so I tolerate the smell.  I also shower right after or I feel like I smell like a dead fish all day. 🙂

The other on my rotation is Compost Tea. It is a fav for feeding my plants and I first heard of this last year.  I am mixing up a batch this morning in a Homer bucket to use later in the week.  It is easy and the plants LOVE it! Read directions on a post I did last year. It is easy and it satisfies my “momminess”, as I feel like I am cooking for my green babies.  I love doing this.

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What do you mix up for your plants?  What are some of your favorites? Do you have a favorite that you can’t imagine gardening without?

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

Compost Tea 101

I made compost tea for the first time this week. And in the process learned what it is, why I would want to make this and how beneficial it is to the plants and soil.

I took a workshop at Fresh Start in Louisville last Saturday. The workshop was on Fall planting, but of course we all arrive with questions and there is much discussion in the workshop.  I truly love going there!  At a break I was chatting with Steve and telling him about our first time gardening experience.  He told me the best thing I could do is to get the soil conditions right–specifically the biology of the soil.  He said the best way to the do that and the cheapest and the most organic way to do this is to make compost tea.  It is a simple concoction of worm castings, a sugar like molasses, water and air bubbles.  The benefits are many as the process activates the microorganisms in the compost and multiplies them.  In simple terms it throws these little guys into a major party and they just begin to ROCK!

You can buy fancy set ups for this if you would like.  OR you can DIY.  Here’s what I did based on Steve’s instructions at Fresh Start.

I grabbed my 5 gallon bucket and put about 4 gallons of water in it.  Since I was using tap water, I let it sit for 24 hours.  After all, if you are making this organically pure stuff you don’t want the added chemicals in tap water like chlorine and fluoride.  So that was an easy first step! 🙂

After 24 hours, the chemistry part begins.  You grab a bunch of worm castings.  Honestly I do not know how they measured out, but after wrapping them in cheesecloth it was about the size of an Indiana cantaloupe and those are pretty darn big!

cheesecloth

Then I tied it onto my bucket and dropped it in (this was all so very exciting actually!).  I added about 5-6 tablespoons of Molasses (they get the party going).

tie the bagmolasses

Now you need to get some oxygen in here and that means bubbles.  You can accomplish this with a simple fish aquarium bubbler.  I got mine for 6.99 at Meiers.  Hook it up and let this bubble and do its thing for 24 – 48 hours.

bubbler started

In the end you will have bubbles on top or foam and it is ready to put in your sprayer. ( I was so excited to spray that I forgot to take final pictures!) I sprayed in on all my garden plants and into my soil.  This is so good for everything that I will do this frequently.  It is immediately absorbed since it is in liquid state and it was so easy to do. I am sure my plants and soil are loving it; I know for certain that I got a kick out of doing it!

Have you used Compost Tea?