Saturday, April 18, 2015

All 19 years that I ran my organic landscaping business, THE GARDEN DOCTOR, here in Tampa, central to making my customers' yards successful was a liberal annual application of dolomitic limestone. Not long after I first bought this place in 1998 my front yard alone got 800 pounds of it. My back yard these days has several quite large Water Wise Container Gardens on the east side, 18-55 gallons, all filled hugelkultur style, with the soil coming from the free range chicken path, which over the years have been top dressed with a vast number of bags of gathered acidic oak leaves plus stable waste. Some feature color source plants, some have what Allen Boatman and I years ago named "Filipino Mexican Tree Pepper"....all have gotten fish emulsion, Epsom salts, chicken poop, plus I pee in them. But the plants all just sat there, especially the hot peppers plants, month after month. I was perplexed, but then realized that never ever had I applied dolomite to the chicken paths, so from Lowe's I bought a bag horribly labelled as "Pelletized Garden Lime" since at my Home Depot I could not find the Sunniland brand I had bought so many bags of years ago. I gave each of the containers two big handfuls and watered it in...this was a little over three weeks ago. Everything responded very well but ESPECIALLY the peppers who had barely grown at all for months. They are now 4 times the size, and those tiny leaves are now as big as my hands! And now the older one suddenly has peppers. I am surprised that I had slowly forgotten just how wonderful a garden aid dolomite is since I wrote about it for eight years in The St. Pete Times to reduce acidity while supplying calcium and magnesium. So time for me to buy quite a few bags for my is a rock powder....I think I spent $4.29 for a 40 pound bag at Lowe's.

Both the height and leaf size of "Filipino Mexican Tree Pepper" plants have dramatically increased in the few weeks since I gave them each a couple handfuls of dolomite. Better color too.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Second batch ever of kanji.....first one I fermented outdoors for two weeks and it was delicious! I used a little bit of dairy kefir to supply the bacteria again.

Andy Firk and others have had this chronic problem of ever-bearing mulberry always being HEAVILY infested with scale/mealy bugs, with a nearby Paper Mulberry my apparent vector. I cut back the ever bearing a couple of months ago, swabbed the stubs with Neem leaf tea, covered them with a pipe filled with leaves (I've used this for years on roses and hot peppers) for two weeks, removed the pipe then watered. It is responding very well indeed! And no sign of pests. Some self sown Iron Clay cow peas are coming up, will let them mingle with the mulberry for more food and to provide nitrogen.

Yesterday at dusk I looked out my window NW of me, saw dark clouds, on radar watched them quickly become a very small very narrow rain cell that came here and stayed....very heavy rain. I got 3.6 inches in my gauge, containers every where filled! As I suspected, the iron oxide concrete colorant I'd used recently to stain my carpeted driveway mulch did not rinse off. I have 2 gallons of food grade potassium chloride getting ready in my shower water solar heater, will spray a second time the nut sedge coming up through the carpet. This intense rain storm looked like it hit a very small area in Tampa.