Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Feed Your Food and Save Money!

I just side-dressed my tomatoes and peppers, and I'll share the concoction I brewed up. I'll admit, it was a bit of a guessing game, but this is my first year as an organic farmer, so I'm up for a little experimentation! After reading through the fertilizer section of the book I bought*, I decided to throw together a few ingredients I had on hand, mix them with some cow manure and see what happens:

Ginny's Organic Fertilizer:
40lb bag of cow manure
2 cups white sugar
2 cups citrus vinegar (see my previous post for this recipe)
4 cups soaked eggshells (2 dozen eggshells blended with 4 cups water, soaked overnight)
4 cups cornmeal or masa (I used masa)

I dumped all the above ingredients in my wheelbarrow, mixed it thoroughly with a cultivator, and side-dressed the tomatoes and peppers. I used almost all of it on that bed, so I scattered the rest over the top of my cucumber and greenbean bed, rather than side-dressing. I'm hoping that will be enough to benefit the cucumbers, since they are light feeders, and they share a bed with the beans, which actually  put nitrogen into the soil, anyway. I felt pretty confident about choosing to side-dress the heavily-feeding tomatoes.

To side-dress, simply pull back your mulch and dig a smal trench on one side of your vegetable row, fill it with the fertilizer, then replace the mulch on top of it. Water it in lightly, then you're done! I've been putting it off for a couple weeks, because it seemed such a monumental task. But the entire process (including gathering ingredients and mixing my fertilizer) only took about 30 minutes. Also, except for the cow manure (about $1.50 per 40lb bag), I used ingredients I had on-hand, so I didn't spend much to do this. Several of the ingredients are considered waste products by many, so all-in-all, a very cost-effective way to get nutrients to my plants. Pleasantly surprising!

Do you use an organic fertilizer? Tell us what works for you!


No comments:

Post a Comment