Keep your garden at peak performance

comments (0) March 25th, 2010

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nancynursez637 nancynursez637, member
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Once you have your soils amended, and seeds planted or plants transplanted, it can be easy to kind of forget on-going needs.  Mulching around but not on sprouted plants will help retain moisture and soil temperature once things get growing.

Likewise, regular fertilization through out the summer will keep growth and production up.  Fertilizers can be expensvie, but if you have access to animal manures, consider making manure tea.  Manure tea is less expensive and a good source of nitrogen for feeding both vegetables and blooming flowers and plants. 

Fill a gunny sack or old pillow case with composted manure from your animals or a stock yard.  Tie the sack off at the neck with a cord.  Then lower it into a 50 gallon drum or 30 gallon garbage can.  Fill the can with water and replace the lid.  If you are using a 50 gallon drum but do not have a lid, cut a plywood cover for your drum.

Allow the manure  tea to "steep" for 3 or 4 days, then taking a 5 gallon pail, dip approximately 1 gallon of tea into your bucket, then fill the rest of the way with water.  This mixture then can be poured along the base of your individual plants.  It can be used for melons, corn, onions, garlic, squash, carrots, greens, and I even use it to boost the growth of new blue berry plants.  It should not be used for peas or beans as they fix nitrogen in the soil with the rhizomes in their roots and do not benefit from extra nitrogen.  Also, it can be used in conjunction with 0-10-10 solution as directed to boost blooming of plants and vegetables. 

I apply this mixture, diluted as noted above about once every 3 weeks.  At the end of the season you can empty the barrel into your compost pile, adding leaves or grass clippings and other materials over the top to reduce odor.    If you are getting too much growth, and not enough production, you can spread the feeding out to every 5-6 weeks, but in Central Oregon with our porous volcanic soils, about every 3 weeks seems to work well.

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