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Monday, January 30, 2006

Planting Time Nears

I made our first batch of potting soil, or is it soiless mix (the stuff has no soil in it though it is supposed to) for the soil blocks that will be made in which to plant seeds.

The mix is basically 2 parts peat moss, 1 part compost. 1 part perlite and than some wood ash (1 cup) to moderate the pH and some kelp, colloidal phosphate and green sand tossed in (about 2 cups).

In the past we had to do this job either in the basement or outside. It's not a bad outside job as long as the weather is decent (above 45F, calm and not raining/snowing) but considering the bulk of the mix is made and used in March and early April those nice conditions are rare (though not this year). We found we could not do this job in the house (other than the basement) because of the dust factor. peat makes a lot of dust, enough to cover most things in the house with 1/4" layer of peat dust.

You see, in order to make this mix, all ingredients must be screened (sifted) through a 1/8th inch screen so that the mix is fine and free of chunky/lumpy material. and the screening process makes a lot of dust. So much that you cannot do this job without breathing protection, even if you are in a well ventilated area. I tried this once, screening peat in the basement with no mask, and I was coughing up chunks of peat out of my lungs for a couple of weeks. Breathing was tough the first couple of days after that experience. Will not be doing that ever again.

And I don't have to because we now own a big barn that is well ventilated and out of the weather. It's great! it was so easy to screen ingredients and than mix them together. I got dirty as hell except for the white circle around my nose where the mask was. Now just have to find something to plant. I guess onions and leeks will be the first seeds to be planted and we will go from there.

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