Frequently Asked Questions
Q. If I am on ‘City’ water, how can I water my garden, plants, and lawn with Non-Chlorine water?
A. “City” water has lots of Chlorine added for the purpose of killing the bacteria that might be present. Chlorine also kills your mini-herd of soil organisms. There are a three good options. The best option is to collect rain-water for later use.
The next best option to rain-water is to run your ‘city’ water into a bucket, tub, or tank and simply let it stand for three days. This gives the chlorine gas time to evaporate, then use the water to water your plants.
A third method is to purchase a Whole-house filter. Most are threaded with ‘pipe-threads’ to accept a ¾” pipe fitting. Brass adaptors are available with pipe-threads on one end and hose-threads on the other end. You will need one Female and one Male adaptor. Fit these to your filter body and attach this to a convenient faucet that you use for your watering. Place an Activated-Carbon filter cartridge into the filter housing. This Activated Carbon Filter is designed to remove ‘most’ of the chlorine from your water supply. (Your Pool-supply store may have a cartridge chlorine filter that is already fitted for using on a garden hose.)
Q: How do I establish a Lawn or Garden on Red Georgia Clay?
Plow your packed clay soil to 4” to 12” (or more, depending upon the established trees in the area). Cover the tilled soil with 3” to 6” of CLM. Re-till the soil thoroughly to the depth of the applied CLM. (Mix the CLM 50/50 with your clay soil). A tractor with a PTO driven tiller, or a ‘ripper’ is best. (Be aware of any water, sewer, or buried electric lines and large tree roots before ‘ripping.)
Apply bulk Complete Landscape Mix (CLM) mixed 50/50 with your clay soil.
CLM applied 6” deep: 1728 cu. inches per cubic foot ÷ 6” = 288 sq. inches/ cu. ft. ÷ 144 (sq. in./foot square) = 2-square feet per Cubic Foot of CLM.
One dump-truck load of 25 cu. yds. @ $120/cu. yd. = $3000.00 plus delivery ($375 estimate/load- 10 cu. yd. minimum).
Cost per square foot of lawn: 25 cu. yd. load @ 27 cu. ft./ cubic yard = 675 cu. ft./load = 1350 sq. ft. of lawn/load of CLM. $3000 + $375 = $3375.00 ÷ 1350 square foot/load
= $2.50/ sq. foot of lawn.
CLM applied 4” deep: 1728 cu. inches per cubic foot ÷ 4” = 432 sq. inches ÷ 144 (sq. in. per foot square) = 3-square feet per Cubic Foot of CLM.
Cost per square foot of yard: $3000 + $375 = $3375.00 ÷ 2025 sq. ft./load of CLM = $1.67/ sq. foot of lawn.
Lay Sod over this mix, or plant your grass seed or sprigs in this mix; water normally with NON-CHLORINE water. (See: “How can I get Non-Chlorine water?)
AND STAND BACK WITH MACHETE IN HAND!
Note: Ask Sandy to look at your yard before starting your project.
Q: “What about preparing our soil for new plantings of blueberries, peaches, apples, pears and other fruit bearing trees?
A: All woody plants grow best in a fungal dominant soil! By ‘fungal dominant’ I mean that the bio-mass of the beneficial organisms occurring in the soil profile needs to be predominantly fungal for healthy growth. Dr. Elaine Ingham Elaine Ingram.com in her research has learned that the trees actually prefer a ratio of from 500 to 1,000:1 bio-mass of fungi over bacteria. (The lower ratio for deciduous trees and a higher ratio for conifers. Grassy-type plants prefer bacterial dominant soil.)
To prepare your soils for planting any woody-type plant, such as fruit trees and bushes, dig the hole two-times wider than the root-ball of the plant and deep enough for plenty of root growth. Mix Complete Landscape Mix (CLM) with the soil to be replaced in the hole with the plant at a rate of 50/50 (50% CLM with the soil to be replaced.) Note: One cubic foot contains approximately 7.5 gallons.).
CLM is an engineered mix of 1/3 Worm Castings, 1/3 Hen Manure Compost, and 1/3 Expanded Slate. (Expanded slate is a rock that has been heated to about 5,000° F. At this temperature, it expands, somewhat like puffed-rice.) This ‘puffed’ nature promotes air circulation in the root-zone, water storage, and “kitchen, dining, and bedrooms” for the microbes which promote healthy root growth. The Worm Castings and the Hen Manure Compost both inoculate the root-zone with beneficial microbes and provide food for those microbes.
I would also strongly suggest that you add a humate such as Turf Pro (2 oz./gallon of water) and non-sulfur Molasses at the same rate per gallon, and minerals. (These products supply food for the growth and production of beneficial fungi, which, in turn, feed your woody plants.)
Q. “What if my pH is too high or too low?”
A. The first instrument to be designed for measuring soils was a pH Meter. Therefore the “importance” of reading the “acidity” levels of the soils by soil-testing laboratories.
See “Soil pH Statement” at “Research” menu.
Soil pH levels are nothing more than the “balance-point” of the relative “pressures” exerted by the Cations and Antions (the positively charged particles vs. the negatively charged particles) exerting pressures against each other. This pH reading indicates little more than the reading of your “temperature” with a thermometer indicates the cause of your illness. Your “temperature” only indicates how your body is “fighting or reacting” to a disease condition.
There is research which indicates that certain minerals are more or less available for plant uptake when the soil pH is within certain ranges. However, when the microbial activity (your soil-herd) is active, these nutrients become “available” for plant uptake with little regard to the soil pH. Soil “acidity” simply indicates a deficiency of the mineral content in the soil.
The “soil pH” cannot be “adjusted” by adding “lime”. The reason that adding “lime” seems to “adjust the pH” is because Calcium, a major component of Lime, is added to the soil profile. Calcium is a major food for microbes, which in turn, moderate the level of pH in the soil medium.
Q. “Where will my ‘fertilizer’ come from if I don’t add Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium (NPK) to my soil?”
A. In the first place, roots were not designed by our Creator to utilize (very well) “water-soluble nutrients”. Plant roots “absorb” water through the area of the root “beyond” the “root-tip”. There is not doubt that “water-soluble nutrients” are absorbed by roots and utilized to “grow” crops. However, when a plant needs a drink of fresh water, and this water is loaded with “fertilizer”, it is forced to “drink” this water “contaminated” with NPK. When this happens, it needs to “drink” more water, trying to dilute the “contamination”, and is forced into an un-natural growth pattern, which results in a stressed condition which “invites” insects and diseases.
The natural mechanism for plant roots absorbing nutrients is through a chemical exchange at the growing root-tip. Hydrogen is released (a negatively charged anion) into the soil medium, and in exchange nutrients are absorbed to replace the Hydrogen.
Now, the major source of nutrients utilized by plants originates in Organic Matter. Organic Matter is the remains of living tissue. Bacteria are the main consumers of Organic Matter, which, in turn, are food for the rest of the soil food chain. (Check out www.soilfoodweb.com).
A soil with only 2% Organic Matter (OM) has 40,000 pounds of OM per acre (2-million pounds per acre-furrow-slice times 2%). This 40,000 pounds of OM contains approximately 5% Nitrogenous materials (proteins, etc.), or about 2,000 pounds. About 5% of this (or 100 pounds) is available as Nitrogen to the plant population growing in this soil. (Source: An Acres USA Primer.) Other nutrients are made available through a similar mechanism. One Hundred pounds of actual Nitrogen per acre is plenty to grow most crops in an otherwise healthy state. (A 5% OM soil would yield about 250 pounds of Nitrogen per acre.)
Bacteria, primary consumers of OM, contain five-parts Carbon to one-part Nitrogen, while the primary consumers of bacteria, Protozoa, contain a Carbon to Nitrogen ratio of 30:1. When a protozoa has consumed enough Carbon to satisfy its needs, it has consumed 6-times too much Nitrogen. What happens then is that the excess Nitrogen is ‘pooped’ out into the environment where it is available to the plants.
In addition, adding NPK (or any other salt based fertilizer) kills microbes, thereby guaranteeing that you will need to add more NPK to obtain the growth results desired. This results in a stressed condition which then “invites” insects and diseases which result in the need for pesticides. No stress, no insects and disease! Diseased plants (or animals) are not diseased because of the lack of pesticides. They are diseased because of a lack of nutrition!
Q. Does your compost have a foul odor?
A. No! Our composts are completely finished, i.e. it has naturally reached about 160° F. When any material is composted properly, the aerobic (oxygen breathing) micro-organisms flourish and result in a dark colored, crumbly finished product that will have a musty, earthy, almost ‘sweet’ odor. When the materials being ‘composted’ are not stirred (aerated) frequently, the composting materials settle, closing off the air circulation.
This results in an anaerobic (lacking oxygen) condition which is the perfect medium for the ‘bad-guys’, the anaerobic micro-organisms, to take over. Using anaerobic ‘compost’ can be detrimental to your plant’s health.
Anaerobic degradation is indicated when one, or more of several foul odors are detected simply by the smell of the composting material. The smell of ammonia, vinegar, vomit, or rotten eggs, all indicate anaerobic microbial activity. (This anaerobic condition can be corrected by stirring the compost pile, as well as, adding humus [microbial food] to the pile.)
A good reference book about microbes, composting, and compost teas and the microbes’ function in the soil is Teaming with Microbes. Another good source is Dr. Elaine Ingham’s soilfoodweb.com.
And some less-frequently asked questions …
Q. How “Organic” can you be? Or, What is the Highest standard of “Organic”?
A. Nobody seems to know the ultimate answer to this question, or even have thought to ask it.
Our Creator designed a Perfect system that was, and is, Self-sustaining, Self-correcting, Self-regulating, and Self-healing. If this were not so, the whole system would be self-terminating.
The ‘Official’ USDA Organic definition: “It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony. Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water.” (Emphasis added.)
The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary: “Involving, producing, or dealing in foods produced without the use of laboratory-made fertilizers, growth substances, antibiotics, or pesticides.”
My favorite: Webster’s New International Dictionary, 1909 Edition, states: “organic, n. … that in which the parts are means and ends to one another and to the whole. Each part separately is mere mechanism; it is a true or significant machine only in relation to other parts, its full significance being determined by the complex whole which the interacting parts create, not as their sum, but as a construction differing in quality from each and all of them. Bentley.”
Your system has reached a high level of “Organic”, when your crops exist in a state of self-correcting and self-healing. When there is not “dis-eased tissue” for the bacteria, viruses, fungi, nematodes, or insects to feed upon. When the soil food web (your soil-herd) is healthy, the plants growing in that community are healthy (without dis-ease), and the animals (including humans) consuming those plants are without dis-ease. If your crops are ‘organic’ and insects and dis-eases still present a problem, you have just reached a USDA level of ‘Organic’.
“Research trials over 7-16 years at Boggs Organic Garden in Burke County and Fort Valley State University (FVSU):
Fruit size, quality, and yields have been good despite challenging pressures from weeds, diseases and insects.
Average seasonal yields include 2 pints of strawberries per plant, 8 pints of blueberries per bush (40 pints*)
12 pints of blackberries per… plant, 80 pounds of figs per bush, and 120 pounds of muscadines per plant.”
(Extracted from Grow Your Own Organic Fruits and Vegetables. FVSU.)
My Compost program, applied judiciously, can have your crops virtually free of dis-ease and harmful insects within one year WITHOUT the crutch of artificial pesticides or factory fertilizers. This program can double the Brix readings of your crops, and double the life of your fruit trees.
*An estimated 40-pints were harvested from 12-year old blueberry bushes in 2011 in Habersham County, Georgia.