May is rolling along with some fantastic weather these past weeks yes I said weeks for anyone who was not here or did not go outside.
The gardens are growing at a alarming rate with all the spring greens flourishing in this early blast of sunshine, salads almost every night with the odd Crab and lettuce sandwich for lunch.
Lantzville is in a unique position to become a Green community if only we can get past the ongoing issue around Compassion Farms, before I talk of gardening tips I ask everyone reading this to talk to the so called gang of four who are stubbornly opposing any reasonable action on this issue. We all know who on council this is, get on the phone and give them a call and tell them that as your representative [whether you voted for them or not] they are not doing a good job of keeping Lantzville a livable community.
Now back to some gardening tips,
Dig dig and then dig some more until your soil is nice and friable with lots of good organic matter , Cow #1, Horse #2 preferably composted due to its high fibre content from semi digested grasses, Chicken #3, Fresh be careful as it is high in nitrogen and could burn you plants , older is better, then come all the natural amendments such as seed meal, ground rock dust, Alfalfa meal or pellets, Fish meal, Fish bone meal, dried seaweed Kelp the best, Blood meal for that big blast of nitrogen as with Chicken poop be careful, and many more just remember to figure out where the product comes from and try to source locally if possible as transportation can add a big carbon footprint.
I have been asked many times about Sea Soil, I personally do not use it due to it being mainly composted farmed salmon and too many wood chips for my liking [sick and dying fish in my opinion with unknown pathogens are not a good choice for my garden].
About as far as I will go will be to recommend to a first time gardener who is in need of soil to get instead a mixture from Lussier’s [Nanoose gravel pit, Morello rd Nanoose, past Petrocan first left] Ask for their topsoil mix which has screened topsoil with some sea soil mixed in.
Also try to stay away from pre - bagged mixes as you will also find lots of wood chips which yes do eventually break down but in the process consume a lot of your available nitrogen which would be of more use to the plants.
Even though May and part of April has been very warm we cannot push it too far by planting out our warm weather plants, Tomatoes, Pepper, Chillies,Cucumbers,Eggplants or any other exotic plants. Remember it is more about soil temperature than air temperature and as one local nursery [Christex] does they do not allow you to pickup up their Tomatoes plants until June when the soil should be warm enough consistently.
One of the most important contributors to your garden is compost, yes I said it COMPOST do not give away your valuable kitchen waste to some company through the RDN who will compost it then sell it back to you, has anyone ever seen the pile of waste at the composting facility at Dukes Point, full of plastic and who knows what. If you do your own then at least you will know what goes into it and then you can feel good about knowing that everything you are adding to your soil is safe.
Now for the best tip about compost you will ever hear, COMPOST TEA no not for drinking though your plants will love regular cups added to your watering can.
How to make you ask, take a shovel full or more depending on the size of bucket or barrel you use, I use a 45 gallon barrel with around a 5 gallon bucket full of well composted compost added to 40 gallons or so of water, add a half litre container of Molasses [or less if using a 5 gallon bucket] which will add more nutrients and unrefined sugars which in turn will feed all that beneficial bacteria, yes I did say Bacteria but before you rush to the doctor for a anti biotic prescription these are beneficial bacteria which is why you need to pump air through it.
Drop in an air stone attached to a aquarium air pump sized for your container [the bigger the better, so maybe go one size bigger] then plug it in and watch the bubbles turn your tea into a aerobic nutrient rich tonic for all your plants, use every time you water diluted into your watering can until it looks like weak tea, pour over entire plant leaves and all as plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves also. As the season goes along you will see results you will be amazed with.
If you use a 5 gallon container you can just add compost and spend 10 minutes giving it a vigorous stir to infuse lots of air into the mix then use right away, my 45 gallon barrel goes all summer by just adding more compost as needed when it begins to look weak.
Go on You Tube and type in compost tea and you will see many testimonials, recipes and results.
Until next time, happy soil makes for happy plants which makes happy people.