Monday, December 01, 2008

I've soiled my hands...

Today I gathered strength enough to pot some of my seedlings. I realised that I wouldn't be able to handel the entire batch so I settled for the eggplants since they looked perky. The project then grew fast; the terracotta pots needed soaking, it looked like I was running out of premixed soil which meant I had to drag out used soil for sterilisation. The used soil was dry as tinder, and I used about five litres (1 1/3 gallon) of water to get it moist enough for the heat of the oven (dry soil smolders and stinks).

After doing all this I had the pleasure to mix my own soil. I brought out one of the vermicomposts and harvested the produce by hand from the top layer. Not the most sofisticated method, but a start. I mixed the compost with sterilised soil, the rest of the premixed soil and water. It'll be interesting to see how it works.

After half a year of testing I can recommend coconut fiber as a grow medium. You may remember that I brought some home from Nordic gardens this spring. Since then I've mixed it with my soil and used it for tomatoes and other plants. Works really well. The fibres add structure to the soil and prevents it from building that crust you'll find in a pot when you try to save a plant you haven't watered for a while. The fibres also makes the soil easier to handle when you dig around in it. The fact that they are sold in briquettes makes them easy to store - a plus when you are gardening in small spaces.

I'll buy a generous amount of coconut fibre when my wallet so allows. Appart from using them in my soil I'll use them as bedding in my vermicompost. I've tried newspaper, shredded egg cartons and moist leaves, and I do suspect that coconut fibre will be the bedding most easy to handle.

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