Spring is here and the last frost date is finally past! While that doesn’t mean that we won’t see one last frost, it’s a good bet that the all clear sign has been given and that means its time to start planting. We are excited to finally get our seeds and plants in the ground because we have worked really hard on our garden soil. During the last 6 months, we have put a lot of effort into adding a number of components to the soil to make it rich and productive. We hope that this effort will pay off in giving us the highest quality and largest yielding plants this summer. After all, we are relying on much of this food to sustain our family for another year.
Now that we have worked our soil and have everything ready to plant, there are a few more things that we use on our garden to achieve ultimate success. People often ask if we use any fertilizers on our garden. Everything we have done to our soil has been natural and/or organic. We NEVER use any chemical fertilizers or additives on our garden. Hopefully you have been working your garden as well and preparing it for planting. There are many gardening methods, and my suggestions below will work along with whatever method you choose.
1. Great Compost Tea!
We love our Boogie Brew compost teas! Or I should say that our plants love it! Last year I started off our garden by giving the plants inoculations of compost tea from Boogie Brew. It’s an all natural veganic tea made with great ingredients to super charge your microbial life in your garden soil! Active microbes in the soil are essential for amazing and healthy plants because they help to feed the plants the nutrients they need.
There are MANY compost tea brands on the market. But few and far between are those that provide the actual break down of ingredients in their teas. Boogie Brew says that their teas are “open source”. This means that they tell you what they use so that you can take that and make it better if you want or experiment by adding additional ingredients. Not many companies do that. Last year we used their tea on our first year garden and saw amazing results! Needless to say we are doing it again this year. Will not burn your plants.
2. Fish Protein
This stuff sinks! But it works wonders on your garden by adding a layer of nutrition for your plants that would be hard to come by any other way. It’s basically dehydrated fish that has been ground into a powder. It is full of amino acids that can be taken up by your plants immediately. It will not burn your plants. We mix it in water and almost every watering of our plants contains a small amount of it. We also use it on the plants in a foliar application. Your tomatoes will love this stuff! Will not burn your plants.
3. Insect Frass
We make our own frass here on the homestead. What is frass? It’s insect poop. Tim raises our own colonies of meal worms on the homestead and we are constantly collecting the beetle frass left behind by the growing colony. I use it by working it in with the Boogie Brew tea, as well as mixing it in with our garden water tanks. There are a lot of nutrients that the plants can readily use up when this frass is dissolved in water and poured at the base of the plant. Meal worm colonies are EASY to start and will provide you with plenty of extra chicken food by feeding the worms to your flock. We also feed some of the worms to the fish as well. They love the extra protein. Plus you get the added benefit of the frass that your garden will LOVE! Will not burn your plants.
4. Rock Dust
One of the first things I recommend to people who are gardening is rock dust. Huh? That is usually the response I get back. Most have never heard of using rock dust on their garden. It’s actually over 70 trace minerals and trace elements that when broken down by soil microbes become abundantly available to your plant’s root systems. The point of using rock dust is to make sure that your plant has everything it would need to grow healthy. Brix testing is the study of the sugar content of plants and it’s been shown that garden plants using rock dust have a much better taste and MUCH higher brix rating. We use the Azomite and Sea 90 brands. It will not burn your plants or change your soil PH.
5. Clean Water
This is one item that may be hard for some to accomplish. Most of the people who have gardens are on public water and its been treated any number of ways with various chemicals to make it safe for drinking. Whether you think that makes it safe or not is debatable. However what is not debatable is that county water systems have all been treated with chemicals that are designed to kill microbes and bacteria. Microbial activity in your garden soil is the number one thing that will help you get great growing results! They feed the roots of your plants with the nutrients they need. Now, you can still have a good garden and be on public water, but I consider using public water a handicap in your growing game. It’s a handicap that you don’t have to have. There are a number of hose filters you can install to keep that treated water from hitting your soil. All of our water comes from rain catchment or one of our 2 wells. If you can also use a rain catch to provide clean water for your garden, I would highly recommend doing so.
So those are five of the natural products and additions that we use with the garden to produce amazing yields. I especially like knowing what is in the products we use and I won’t use the brands that are secretive about their ingredients. What do you use for your garden? Leave a comment below and let us know what works for you!