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Welcome to our blog section!

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Christmas is over…Next activity?  GARDENING!!

The best way to get the ball rolling is to take some workshops to learn the latest scientific research on methods to get the most of your garden.

The 2017 Workshop Series:

– Workshop #1 – Introduction to your organisms, what they do, where to find them and how to make more.  March 11, 2017 1pm

– Workshop #2 – Creative Composting 101. How to build a thermal compost, ingredients, monitoring, moisture testing and how to manipulate the outcome. Date TBA

– Workshop #3 – What to do with your Compost.  Actively Aerated compost tea, extract and compost. Do’s and don’ts. Date TBA

 

Don’t forget to get your email address on our list so you won’t miss any upcoming events at Bug House Flats, 1024 Pillar Rd, Qualicum Beach.
debra@natureswisdomorganics.com

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Category(s): All Blog Posts, Composting
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Creative Composting

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Making compost can be easy. The following charts gives examples of ingredients that can be used, their C:N (Carbon:Nitrogen) Ratio, and how to determine the final ratio.  Ideally the compost will have close to a 30:1 Ratio which is the ratio of humus.

 

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Composts can be created to benefit different groups of plants. The following charts shows the F:B (Fungi:Bacteria) Ratio preferred by plants. The ingredients of a compost will increase fungi and/or bacteria. For example a compost with higher carbon material content will produce more fungal hyphae, while nitrogen material will produce more bacterial growth.

 

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Category(s): Composting, General Stuff, Uncategorised
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Amazing information about why some pests cannot eat healthy plants!

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Sometimes information becomes available that make you say ‘Hummmm’, and this is that kind of info.  When we test our produce or plants for their level of health/nutrients we use our Brix tester. This tool gives us the level of sugars contained in the plant/fruit/leaves, which in turn tells us the level of health in the whole plant. When a plant reaches a level of 12 – 13 on the Brix scale, the plant becomes toxic to some of our crop pests. Why, you ask??  Pests such as aphids do not have a pancreas and therefore cannot metabolize large amounts of sugars and they die if they eat healthy plants.

Now this information in conjunction with the information about plants giving of gases when they are stressed and therefore attracting pests to ‘take them out of the food chain’, does a lot to explain why we need to strive for nutritionally charged plants and not artificially pumped ‘pretty’ plants

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Category(s): Uncategorised
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I have Chlorinated water, what do I do??

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This is a real problem and in the world of microbes it is death!  So what is the solution?  For starters mulch, mulch, mulch. This will ensure that you will have to water far less than what you have been watering. Up to 80% less!   Now that you don’t need all the constant watering, some of the other water options become a lot more appealing such as rain barrels, rain water storage and ponds. If you must use the chlorinated water, it can be neutralized by adding humic acid. This can be purchased as a powder or it can be obtained by running the water through compost that is high in humic acid.

To determine if you have humic acid in a compost take 2 cups compost and run 16 cups of water through it. If the resulting water in a dark chocolate colour, you have humic acid.

So if you have a good compost you can put it in a mesh bag and passively run your water through it and the resulting water will have the chlorine neutralized and will have a good amount of humic acid in it for the bacteria,,, win win!

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Category(s): Uncategorised
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Creative Compost Workshop updates and answers

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Further to our Composting Workshop of Feb 28th, an update about the Compost pile that was built by a joint effort of all in attendance.  The pile, as I mentioned, was a little too dry on the day it was made and it needed to be mixed better.  I promised to rebuild it with a higher water content the following day. Prior to rebuilding it I took a temperature reading and it was at a tepid 80F after 24 hours. This is not what would normally happen if the right moisture and mixture was achieved from the onset.  After I took the wire cage off, placed it along side the pile, forked the material back into the cage while spraying with water (in a rain storm!) and replaced the tarp, I re-inserted the thermometer and waited. The next day, Tuesday, the temp was 132F, Wednesday 140F and today, Thursday, a lovely 144F.  At this temp I will leave it until Saturday before I make the first real thermal turn.  If the temp goes up to the 155F to 165F range I will turn it tomorrow.  So far it is doing splendidly!

Now, as for other questions from the workshop…

Question:  Why do you water the materials prior to building a pile? Answer:  All dry, carbon ingredients benefit from being wetted down for 3 days prior. This is not a rule, it is just a really good idea, as the microbes wake up and are ready to work.If this step is ignored you will be waiting longer for the temp to rise.

Question: What was the purpose of putting greens in a bucket of water?

Answer:  If you take a 5 gallon pail, put fresh greens in to the 1/3 full mark, fill with good water (not chlorinated) and leave for 24 hours, you will have a very good protozoan infusion to apply to your soil or compost. The protozoa family that results from this process is flaggelates.  They are part of the group that consume bacteria and are very important for the nutrient cycling process.

Question:  Where do the initial microbes come from?

Answer:  The microbes that we are growing, promoting and incouraging are all around us all the time. Every surface of every piece of material you use in your compost (as long as it isn’t exposed to pesticides) is covered in all the microbes you will need. We are just creating an environment where they really get to reproduce and flourish.

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Category(s): Uncategorised
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Testimonials

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I thought I would save some of the great comments made by some of the folks that have attended my workshops/talks.  Thank you!

I’ve had my gardening turned on its ear…new ideas introduced during Arrowsmith Organic Gardening talk you gave were compounded upon today..and I have a clearer direction of how to let the garden teach ME.(and I have some tools for sale!!!) SO glad we had sun blessing the new compost pile created, and the tornado only took out the neighbour’s tree!! thank-you Debra Contreras.  –  Joanne

 

Lots of incredible information provided that can only lead to more work for me! But in a good way. Many of these concepts are new to me and I now realize that I have been making compost in a very inefficient manner since the 80’s! My tea has had an increase in air bubbles and I now have plans to convert my mini-orchard from a bacterial biomass into more of a fungal biomass using some of the ideas shared. Thinking of dollar value, this was the best money I have spent in a long time – well done and I highly recommend that we all take this short course…  –  Alan

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Category(s): Uncategorised
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