Posts tagged ‘Plants’

Man-Eating Plants

You may have thought that you were in charge, but your garden wants to eat you.

Seriously, the human body provides an excellent source of nutrients to your plants that you may not have considered:

Hair: chemical (dye/perm) free hair provides an excellent source of slow release nitrogen to your soil.
Finger/toenails:  Put your clippings in the garden.  They’re a source of calcium.
Blood: an excellent source of nitrogen.  If you use a menstrual cup, or have a nasty blood spill to clean up, empty it out in the garden. Of course, blood meal works too.
Bones: bones are very high in calcium and phosphorous, which is essential for healthy root and fruit development.  If you don’t want your plants to eye your limbs hungrily, I recommend bone meal.

Urine: is a convenient nitrogen-packed liquid fertilizer.  It’s safe to pee directly on most mature plants, but it’s easier and safer if you just pee in your watering can and dilute it.  The smell of your territorial markings will also help deter animals that want to steal your food.
Feces: Human waste is sold as “malorganite”  in garden stores.  General knowledge tells us that we should never use manure from animals that aren’t vegetarian, but no one told the guys who make this shit.  What you should never use is waste from animals that eat chemicals that they can’t pronounce, and are passing things like fluoride and lead through their bodies.  Did you hear about the lead contamination in the Michelle Obama’s organic Whitehouse garden?  From malorganite being used on the lawn.   It’s a great way to poison yourself twice: the lead that passes through your system can be absorbed by your plants so that you can eat it again.  yum!  That being said, vegitarians can make excellent use of composting toilets for an eco-friendly way to flush, to recycle those waste nutrients.

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July 9, 2009 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

How To Grow Uber Tomatoes, even when you start them too early

…by using recycled coffee cups to maximize root size. Every year I start my tomatoes in February. I don’t have a south facing window–I am totally reliant on shop lights to help them grow. But instead of being leggy, my tomatoes are crazy drought-proof beasts that take over the world. Last year, my Matt’s Cherry tomato grew about 9 feet wide, and the neighbours had to cut it back just to figure out where the fence was so they could park their car. That’s because the root ball was deep enough to support it. My secret is using recycled coffee cups to help gradually build up the root ball.

Step 1. Get everyone you know (and their office) to collect coffee cups. Sort them by size, because you will want to start with the small ones. Poke drainage holes.
poke drainage holes
Step 2. Remove your leggy tomato seedling from the cellpack (I plant all my seeds in cell packs recycled from past years, because most greenhouses won’t recycle them), and place at the bottom of a small cup. See the first leaves at the bottom? Carefully pinch those off.
remove first leaves
Step 3. Bury the tomato up to where it branches, stem and all. Around the root ball, you can use compost to give it a healthy start, but when you are burying the stem, a soil-less potting mix is best. (I prepare my potting mix by soaking it first, to make sure it has absorbed plenty of water.) This is how deep you should plant it.

Roots will grow out of the part of the stem that you burried, to become part of the ever-growing rootball.
Step 4. When the tomato grows up out of the pot again, remove it from the small cup, put it in the bottom of a medium sized cup, and bury it up to the branch again. (In these stages, you can make a doughnut of compost around the outer edges of the cup, and use potting mix for the rest.)

Repeat until you have a root ball as deep as extra large coffee cup. You can keep moving them up into larger planters, but by XL I run out of space to keep all my seedlings.
XL
Using coffee cups also makes it easy to give away tomatoes to friends and neighbours. Share the heirloom love.

When it’s finally safe to plant everything outdoors, I’ll show you how to use drought-proof planting to make your tomatoes (and other plants) survive between rains without the need for watering.

May 13, 2009 at 6:09 pm 4 comments


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