Thursday, July 21, 2011

Feeding our crops

We are now harvesting (and eating!) 22 different vegetables and 8 different fruits (as they come into readiness).
  This makes me think of how we feed the plants and keep the cycle going with local organic plant feeding.

  1.  Good compost; We make compost from chicken bedding, vegetable waste (including peelings from neighbours and friends who don’t have a compost heap), grass cuttings (from 2 professional gardeners to save them other disposal costs), cardboard (egg trays and boxes are ideal), our own pee, non-seeding weeds, spent pots and grow bags (out of skips) and wood ash sprinkled on as an occasional layer..
  2. Well rotted horse manure, treat this with great caution and do a test sowing in it of beans or peas to check it is not contaminated with herbicide, (we collect and stack this for a year before use.)
  3. Liquid feed made from any deep rooted weeds, nettles and comfrey leaves left to rot in water in a dustbin.  Makes a good breeding place for hover flies which eat aphid in our garden.
  4. Our pee diluted 5 to 1 as a liquid feed
  5. Grass cuttings as a surface mulch to feed and keep the moisture in.
  6. Top dressing with wood ash to provide potash (round fruit trees for example)
  7. If I can scrounge fish heads and guts from the local fish monger these are buried where the runner beans or sweet corn are to be planted. Any feathers and remains from the chickens we eat are used the same way planted under fruit trees, bushes or vines.
  8. Occasional use of fish, blood and bone where the soil needs a boost i.e., planting greens straight after another crop. I also sometimes (but rarely) use rock dust, calcined sea weed, and SM3 seaweed liquid feed to provide specific elements I feel might be lacking.


  1. Sounds like you've got the hang of it. Nothing like a good varied compost to make stuff grow. However, I just do a one year compost; spread on plot in spring then build up again for the rest of the year. It's always worked so far.

  2. Interesting, I have tried trenching the raw material into the beds instead of composting it, worked ok except for the number of potatoes that came up from the peelings!