New Challenges and Trials

This year has had its challenges. We here in Manitoba have experienced the longest, coldest spring in quite some time. Feels like 8 months of winter! We counted our blessings for not having the flooding of our southern neighbours. Another blessing…it has forced our fruit trees to not bloom too early. Lets hope the slow warmth is…consistent and increasing. But a few bees are already active and looking for food…and there are willows & poplars, which have been prolific with bloom.

It also brought another challenge, as the terrible winters of the past have destroyed quite a bit of of our inventory. Sometimes one just wants to run away and permanently hibernate. Only problem, us folks don’t go down so easy and see this as a new beginning. Maybe now is a good time to completely update this old website (Thank you Tom!) and revamp our alpine inventory. With a lot of help from great friends…we can do this!

How to handle the Stress? I do it by Seeking out & seeding out NEW Alpine varieties & refurbishing old ones! I have 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.

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 term highs and lows.  Where this product truly shines in 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

Presently I have the granulated form…in 44 lb bags. Have found no difference between the granulated and powdered forms but find this one is much easier to handle, with no worry of powder getting into eyes and nose.

God Bless and Stay strong!

Happy growing!

Mandy

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