Archive for the 'soil geekery' Category

Steve Solomon, I’m a believer

Monday, June 13th, 2016

I talked a lot about soil remineralization for the past two years. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort, not to mention money, bring my soil into balance in the hope that my ever-sluggish garden would get some pep in its step… in other words, that my plants might actually grow big and produce to […]

Greenhouse by leaps and bounds

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Stuff is doing so well in the greenhouse that it’s making me wish I’d done this years ago. I have never grown peas this exuberant, never grown lettuce and spinach with such gorgeous, unblemished leaves.  Here’s how the main bed looked in there in early April: That red-and-yellow box is a worm compost bin. An old cat […]

Oyster inoculation, 3, 2, 1…. go?

Monday, March 7th, 2016

It took me a couple days to get around to it, but I did eventually take my jars of sterilized coffee grounds and add the oyster mushroom base to them. I chopped the biggest “root ball” up into pieces and layered those lasagne-style with coffee grounds. The smaller root base I just “planted” with its little […]

Artificial Spring

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

One of the main factors that can speed or inhibit germination of seeds is the temperature of the soil. You can sow peas as early as you like, there are even some people who broadcast them over the snow – but if their environment isn’t to their liking, they’ll remain stubbornly dormant until it warms […]

Homemade Geosolar

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Remember how I was saying I was hoping to get some energy stored in the thermal mass of the garden bed, so that it could slowly release heat at night? Chewing on that problem reminded me of a video by Geoff Lawton done on a greenhouse in Canada. They keep their greenhouse warm enough to […]

A fungal experiment

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

I bought a huge clump of oyster mushrooms in the store a couple days ago. Josh and I refer to them as the beef jerky of the plant world – when crispy-fried in olive oil with just a sprinkle of sea salt and a dash of soy sauce glazed onto them at the last minute, […]

Hugeling again

Monday, January 18th, 2016

I spent this last weekend preparing to make my second hugelkultur bed. Last year, after the torrential rains drowned all my plants again, I decided that having raised beds was a must. I didn’t want to go that route because of the lack of flexibility in terms of garden layout, but last year was so disappointing. The […]

Integrated composting system

Monday, November 30th, 2015

I used to have a few different sources of fertility for the garden. One compost pile for fall leaves, one for kitchen scraps, and then the every-so-often cleanout of the chicken coop. I’d have to fill them all individually, only to later re-harvest them and mix them together before spreading them on the garden. What a chore. […]


Thursday, November 26th, 2015

When I first started gardening on Backfill Hill, I was in such a hurry that I didn’t give a thought to layout. I didn’t take into account Maryland’s torrential rains, or the packed rock-like soil, or the steep slope.  I should have – native to California’s hard-baked desert clay soils, I was well acquainted with washout, […]

Beyond the worksheet – trace minerals and biological soil remediation

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

In the past two blog posts I’ve gone over the methods with which to figure out not only what is needed by your soil to attain the ideal ratios between its minerals, but also how to apply that information to real life and find fertilizers you can actually buy in a store. So that’s great – […]