In addition to regular feeds, you will also need plant “pick-me-ups’ I mm time to time. These boost plant vigor at certain times, such as during the I lowering or fruiting periods. They are the plant equivalent of a vitamin drink. These are most rapidly absorbed in liquid form, and you can make your own organic “teas” if you wish. The most well known is “blackjack,” a concoction made from rotted animal manure.
Blackjack is an excellent, nutritious plant “pick-me-up,” which is very useful during flowering or fruiting periods. Although it is not sweet-smelling, your plants will be very grateful for an application.
1 To credit’ blackjack, you will first need a quantity oj animal manure that has been well rotted down.
2 Add some soot (which provides nitrogen) and wood ash (good for potassium.) (o the manure. Put the mixture into a plastic-net bag.
3 Seal the bag carefully and
suspend in a barrel of rainwater. Leave it in position for several weeks.
5 Once the solution is ready, decant i! as reifuired into a watering can. diluting it to the color oj weak tea. and apply it to your plants.
MAKING STRAW COMPOST
Old straw makes excellent bulky organic matter to incorporate into the soil to help improve drainage, moisture retention ribes rubrum, and general fertility. Alternatively, it can be used as an organic mulch; spread it over the soil surface to preserve moisture and suppress weeds. This layer will be gradually incorporated into the soil by the activity of worms, bacteria, and other soil-borne organisms.
• the base o\ (he circa with 12 in. of loose straw. Soak the straw with water.
2 Sprinkle a light covering of
nitrogenous fertilizer over the straw to speed up decomposition.
3Add another 12in. layer of loose .straw to the stack, water it and add more fertilizer.
4 As the straw decomposes, it becomes covered in a white mold and resembles well-rotted manure.