Spring 2015 brings New Products and Ideas

Good morning everyone. So it is March! Never thought we would finally get here.

Have you finally arose from your “prolonged” winter hibernation? I do it by seeding out newly acquired wee alpine varieties.

I have sorted them all out into the necessary 6 groupings and finished some treatments like soaking and scarifying. The scarifying is tedious to say the least. Try holding a super tiny hard coated legume be-twix your fingers and rubbing it with rough sand paper!? I think the skin on my finger tips were more scarified than the seed! Maybe I should try planting them (my fingers) instead? You know the saying “turning black thumbs to green”…L0L! I have tried holding the seed between tweezers, but only managed to catapult the darn seed to corners of the room I never thought I had! So…back to the fingers I go.

Its nice to set up the old 3 tier Grow system at this time of year. This is a real sign of spring for me. This winter has been cloudier than usually. One can always sit and absorb the extra light! (Maybe I will set some hot peppers, herbs and eggplants under there too!) So while a portion of the alpine varieties get treated to warm balmy conditions, the others are being chilled to their core. Just exactly how they like it! It always amazes me how different one alpine variety from another…needs are.

I am trialing some new organic seeding mixes.

One blend I found is offered by ProMIX. They say it contains: Canadian sphagnum peat moss, peat humus, coco fiber, perlite, lime, organic fertilizers & mycorrhizal (a beneficial fungi). As much as I have pre-moistened the mix, I am having a hard time watering (once the surface goes dry…) as the water is pooling just on top…not a good sign. It doesn’t contain a wetting agent and this could be a problem. It is how ever OMRI…organic certified. Another drawback is that I could only find the 1.4 kg bag which for me fills barely a small tray system. I spoken to a company spokesperson and she informed me it is a very new product. She also said that only this size was available to us here in Manitoba.

Another blend I have found is called “Black Gold“. It does not appear to be a branch off the “Black Gold” seen in the US and offered there. Even it’s bag face is different. It originates in Alberta, which I am very grateful for. It contains: Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, bark, compost, earthworm castings, dolomite lime, and an organic wetting agent. They say it is a natural & organic potting mix, but no where does it say it is OMRI certified. It is reg. with the CGIA tho. The real nice part of this one, is it comes in 28L, a nice large sized bag and could easily fill several trays…AND it contains a organic wetting agent.

One more thing…In my quest for “responsible” potting soils, I came across another product gardeners are real excited about. It is becoming very apparent that the 3 big fertilizer components: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash are not the end all and be all of a good fertilization program. Anyone who knows their stuff knows that micro-minerals (trace minerals) are the real worker bees of our soils and that big corporate fertilizer suppliers have never paid attention to this. Gardeners are finding that micro-mineralizing their soils would give their plants the essential nutrients they have always lacked. In fact some have done tests, dividing same sized plants into 2 groups (placed in pots to minimize differences) and treating one group with a mineralization product and the other with conventional fertilizer. The results were quite striking! The robustness and production was quite evident.

Chemical fertilization is all about feast and famine, as it is completely dependent on (your) weekly (or monthly) applications and it offers only short highs and quick lows.  Where this product truly shines is that plants continue to benefit from just one seasonal application, as the plants take only what they need (nothing to do with slow release) over a longer period of time. It will never burn. Furthermore there are NO bad chemical residues left in the soil.

The product I am speaking about is called “Azomite“. This is what is being said about it: AZOMITE® is a natural product mined from an ancient mineral deposit in Utah (USA) that typically contains a broad spectrum of over 70 minerals and trace elements, distinct from any mineral deposit in the world. AZOMITE® is used internationally as a feed additive and a soil re-mineralizer for plants, and is available in over thirty countries throughout the world.

AZOMITE® is an acronym for the “A to Z of minerals including trace elements”. An estimated 30 million years ago, a volcanic eruption filled a nearby seabed. The unique combination of seawater, fed by rivers rich in minerals and rare earth elements present in the volcanic ash created the composition known as the AZOMITE® mineral deposit. c/o Azomite Canada

Believe it or not, I walked into my GH supplier and he starts talking about a new product he is offering. Just a week ago I was researching this very same thing! He tells me it is being offered in 44lb bags and also in huge mega-bags of a metric ton. There also appears to be 2 forms of it…one being a finer grey white powder and another in a “grey “beaded” look, like “slow release fertilizer” only different. My preference is for the “chunky look”, as it would handle better than fine powder whiffing up into your nostrils.

Looks like you know what I will be up to in the next couple of days!

Happy growing!

Mandy

 

 

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