The foundations of life 

Life is built using a structure and careful balance or organics. This is also true in soil. Soil is the largest living thing on earth with a teaspoon containing billions of thriving bacteria which we all depend on for life. The building blocks

That’s why I wholeheartedly believe that growing organic and working with these organics is the only way we should be doing things.

We live in an age where the only choice for people’s food is to look good and be the correct size & shape. Food grown to this standard are at the sacrifice of good quality vitamins & minerals as consumers are driven by looks. This to me is very worrying.

Food should be about two things; nutrition and taste.

This is the sole reason that I chose to take the organic route & growing myself.

I started my journey 5 years ago when I had my first daughter. Buying vegetables with not much taste & the fact that many people today don’t know where there food comes from made me very aware that I needed to do something.

It all started as a hobby growing veg, but it has now turned into a raging passion.

Doing this has allowed me to see that there once was a time when all veg was grown using traditional methods & I personally feel we need to go back there to help in our families future.

So why Organic? 

Simple. For me being organic is about working alongside nature and using this to benefit me. Healthy plants = healthy food

How do I be Organic? 

Being organic is the easiest choice of all. It can be as simple as committing to not use any artificial fertilisers or pesticides.

After all there are many more natural feeds/ sprays we can make to get better and lasting results.

The main difference between to the two is this. Artificial or synthetic fertilisers will give you a bigger and better yielding crop the first few years where organics give you a better and more consistent yield over time.

Take building a house as an example. If you build the foundations as cheap and as fast as you can and place a house on it you will have a home.

However as time goes on you will find that due to the frail foundations eventually the house will crumble. This is the perfect example of these fertilisers.

What you are doing when using these is getting a fantastic yield which looks good pretty much immediately but slowly depleting the soil of all fertility as you are not replacing anything.

Organic gardening also makes the same foundations but invests better quality materials and more time. Agreed it takes longer but once it’s out of the ground it flies up.

It’s all about the foundation.

Steve

About me

My mission is simple.

100% Organic Growing. No fancy growing methods, no gimmicks just straight honest reviews and advice.

What You can expect:

Honest Reviews – For every review I do, you only get one thing which I think is the most important. Honesty.

I will NEVER try to sell or advise you against any product I wouldn’t use myself. All reviews here are requested by various companies who approach me to test them out. Unless stated I do not make any money from doing this, I do however get a lot of pleasure knowing that I will come across a hidden gem and are able to let you guys know🙂

My blog is always changing so please bear with me or feel free to pay any comments/ suggestions on the comment section below or tweet me on @plot44organics

Finally and more importantly you will see 100% me. My methods are different to any other person and that’s what makes us all unique. My outlook on growing is you have to find your own way of doing things as no two things are the same.

My Growing Style:

After running an allotment for 2 years I have now moved to growing at home in a 11.8m2 raised bed. My goal is to learn the art of seed saving and successional growing to allow me to grow all year around on my doorstep. For me getting children involved is key to future success so I always get my daughter  involved. She just loves growing sweet corn!  And if I encourage a few of you along the way im a happy man.

The environment impact to me is very important. I DON’T use/ endorse or recommend any form of fertilisers/ products that cannot prove to be 100% organic or biodegradable. If nature don’t like then neither do I.  I believe working with nature is a better solution.

For growing I use a combination of No Dig method & square foot gardening. This is exactly what it sounds like & is an ancient method that encourages & protects the soil eco-system and structure. For more information on this method see http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/  where you can find a wealth of knowledge and helpful guides.

As I final note I would say the best thing to what I do is enjoyment. Gardening can be a real challenge but also a very rewarding past time. Some times it’s a serious business but trust me, if you learn to enjoy all the challenges the reward will be priceless.

Composting is the way of life

9th December 2016

Update: use code HBCHA50 on checkout for 50% off limited time only

Soil_Fixer

So it’s that time of year again. The plot is coming to a dreary end & winter is setting in fast.

It isn’t all doom and gloom mind. Although a little cold this is the perfect time to start the compost off.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the team at Soil Fixer to test out a new product of theirs, the Compost Humification Agent

So a little background into the product. The product is advertised as follows on their website.

Compost Humification Agent (also known as a Compost Activator)

This patent pending NEW product is unlike any existing compost activator (accelerator or inoculation agent). Developed by Tony Callaghan (inventor of HOTBIN composting system) following years of work on compost and how to make more of the really good stuff that improves plant growth. 

 

So what are the benefits?

  • boosted plant growth
  • smoother and stickier compost with more of the vital colloidal humus
  • making a positive, long-term improvement in your soil. Colloidal humus and  biochar  are long lasting and even small amounts have profound impacts on soil fertility
  • You will be making a ground breaking contribution to the environment. Colloidal humus and biochar are stable forms of organic carbon known to survive in soils for hundreds of years. You will be sequestrating carbon and offsetting the impact of global warming gases like carbon dioxide

Cool. So at this point I got rather intrigued. I’ve heard of biochar before but never had the chance to use it.

So who is it aimed at?

  • All composters who want to improve the quality (performance) of their compost
  • Home composters using traditional garden (green waste) ‘cold’ composting in darlex and pallet frame boxes
  • Industrial composting sites using windrows or IVC system

So in a nutshell, anyone willing to give it a go. Sounds like my kind of challenge 🙂

Lets take a little look.

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Looks really good quality. All fine pieces of similar size.

How to use

100g (one mugful or a handful) per each 5Kg (approx. 7-9 litres, ie a large caddy/bucket) of waste added. Sprinkle the product on to your compost waste each time you add new waste to your compost heap / bin. It promotes and boosts the formation of the highly beneficial ‘colloidal humus’ from typical levels of 1-5% to 10-40%.

So that’s the overview.

So why the test?:

Simple. To see if the benefits can be gained.

I have been asked to do a 4 stage test. It will be tested as follows:

  1. Normal Soil
  2. Shop Compost
  3. My Compost +  Normal Soil
  4. My Compost + Normal Soil + SPF60*

*will be revealed soon 😉

All pots will be the same as will the location & water regime and amounts.

Plants will be from the same batch of seed planted at the same time & covered with the same protection.

They will then be monitored for growth rates and yields.

The process has already begun. This year will mark the first year I will be making my own compost. Materials used will be all except potatoes, meat & any acidic plants. I use grated newspaper & cardboard in between the layers to help get a good balance.

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This will now be built up over the next few weeks and used in May ready for the trials.

06/01/17

So sorry, a little quiet at the moment.

Over the past few weeks not much is happening,  I continue to add small amounts of organic matter to the pile but due to low temps its all a bit slowwww 😉

I do however have an idea of the way in which in going to test it. More details to follow.

So quick update in the compost today. Im currently half way fill the bin and so far so good. Plenty of kitchen waste And biochar and looks great. Plenty of microbal activity and no foul smells.

A bit more heat and that will be perfect.

Hipefully the weather picks up on time this year and were in business.

16/02/2017

So update is needed. The compost itself seems to be rotting down nicely. About 2 weeks ago i mixed in a bag of chicken manure mixed with shredded paper and this has been left to breakdown.

At this rate im hoping its going to be ready for use in april!

With that in mind its time to turn my attention to what i will be using to see what difference the biochar makes.

So drumroll please….

My test plants for this year are pumpkins


Variety is small sugar.

Be interesting to see as this is my first time growing them.

Setup will be 3 containers as previously mentioned.

Update 4/3/17

So were knocking at the start of the growing season and my biochar infused compost is coming along nicely.


We’ve had a lot of rain lately so the heap has got a bit wet. I have now changed to lid to allow the humidity and heat to build back up.

So thats the compost done. I will be using it in 6 weeks time so hopefully it would have dried out will be ready for use 😉 

Next up will be stage 2 of the test where I will set up a test to see how my biochar infused compost compares to good quality manufactured compost, more affordable compost and soil.

Finally Thank you to soilfixer for letting me trial their products.