Today we will be looking at several aspects of what should be going on during this month in your garden in preparation for next year's bountiful harvest.

Oct 04, 2019

I would like to remind you of the need to not clear cut and clean your garden spot and then throw the residue into the trash. You need to preserve the residue and pile it up into your compost pile. The plant residue will provide for mulch and natural fertilizers as your plants will require this as they grow. Also, the residue when composted down will provide for a natural type of inoculation and help to boost the new plant's ability to withstand the typical garden variety of assaults from the bad bugs. As you finish off your compost pile it will help you to do any of the following. First off, you will need to make sure there is a good amount of moisture within the pile. The drier it is the slower the decomposition will be. Also, too much moisture will cause other issues like molds and leaching of the minerals from the material.  The moisture level should be about the same as you would find the soil after a good watering, ie; a good soak, but not running of water from the material.  In most places, it is starting to get cold. The frozen or even cold soil will cause a slowing down of the microbial actions. Also, it will dry out the top level of the material. So with the plastic, like you have purchased or will purchase, (Please, no heckling OK? If you don't like plastic, choose your preference of material and use it. I ask that you refrain from heckling as it distracts from what is trying to be conveyed here in the purpose).  The purpose here is to keep the moisture within the material pile and to keep the top levels from drying out. This will also jump-start the breakdown of the material process. You can leave the plastic there until spring if you want. You just don't want to totally seal it up. The material will need access to oxygen throughout the process. Not much, but some. The plastic will tend to cook the weed seeds and provide for a natural kill off of unwanted bugs. If you have a good level of moisture, then the freezing action will kill those bad bugs, as the good bugs will tend to get some inspiration early on and go deeper for protection. The bad bugs tend to not be very bright in this aspect. Now if you are where it doesn't really freeze, per say, then leaving the plastic cover on would make more sense. But in areas where you have a good snow cover, the plastic would provide for an insulation factor, so in those situations, you would not want the plastic to be there for more than a few weeks in the fall.  So a lot of this has some "it all depends" factors involved. I hope this will give you a rough idea of what to do in your situation.  Once you do this, your compost material pile is pretty much-set for the winter.

Now we will be going into a related part. This is related to two parts of the garden plot. One part is the compost pile and the other part is the soil its self. We will only look at the compost pile in this segment. In another segment, we will look at how it applies to the soil.

Some of you may be familiar with the so-called magic dirt that I have made reference to in past discussions. This is a material that is known as Plant Derived Minerals. It generally comes in solid form or a liquid form prepared for human consumption.  In the preparation for human consumption, a number of steps are carried out to make it "consumable friendly".  But if you are only doing say maybe a few potted plants or some container gardening, then you might be OK with just using the human consumable preparation liquid.  In making the "stuff" for general garden use, you would use some of that dirt and mix it with water and make a liquid slurry type material. You would then apply some of it to your compost pile. In the summertime, you can apply some of it to your plants. Works great. But here is why you use it. Remember that I mentioned something about pee???? Yes, good old urine. In most places, if someone caught you peeing in your garden, you would be arrested for one reason or the other. Also, to collect it is a bit distasteful for most people. So this is where we are going to use the "magic dirt". We are going to make our own Urea. Ever heard of that word, Urea?  Stay with me...

Urea is a product that is similar to urine or pee if you will. Most of the Urea that is used for fertilizer is synthetically produced.  There are close to 200 million tons produced in the world each year and most of it used for fertilizer.  It is basically used as a source of Nitrogen. But in the synthetically produced stuff you sometimes, well you have it, but the sometimes is higher levels, or lower levels of the stuff called Biurets. This stuff will have a counterproductive effect on the plant's reason for using nitrogen. But with the magic dirt, you only have the good and not the bad as it pertains to Urea.  Urea is very important as it carries more than just nitrogen. It carries a lot of enzymes and other particulates that are necessary for plant nutrient metabolism.  What is interesting is that Urea has a pH of around 7.0 or touch above or so and the PDM for human consumption also has a pH level of 7.0 or touch above or so.  So even though it isn't pee or Urea, it will have the same effect in the end as Urea. This is one of the primary reasons as to why it works so well in the liquid form and when applied with other material.  Please, and I know someone will go around quoting me, say that I said that the PMD is pee.  No, I am not saying that. I am saying that due to its unique properties, it will act or have an effect on plants similar and almost identical as Urea will. Very different yet similar effects.

This part of this whole process of Urea use is vital and essential to plant health and growth. If you want me to go into all of the technicalities I will in another discussion. Just ask me to do so. I am avoiding it as many people don't like the long-drawn-out discussions.  Perhaps this aspect is why some people advocate the use of drinking their own urine as a health-promoting drink. I am not ready to go there yet. But just for perspective, Urea (urine) is used in many face creams and anti-wrinkle formulas.  As we age we have less and less of it in our systems, so the end result of it is wrinkling of the skin and just plain dry skin. It is produced naturally in our body systems by the Liver as it breaks down Proteins, Amino Acids and Ammonia.  Then it is transferred from the bloodstream to the kidneys and then excreted.  A normally healthy adult will excrete around 25 grams per day.  So in some perspectives, a considerable amount.

As I close this discussion, I just want to put it in simple terms. The Urea or the Urea effect that is produced by using the magic dirt as I have suggested is vital for plant metabolism of the whole gambit of nutrients. It has everything to do with Carbon utilization and the breakdown of C02 as well as nitrate processing by our body and as well as the plant it's self.

We will close off this installment of the October Gardening Tips. Thank you for your interest and time to study this and consider the use of the material for better plant and human health.  As always, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

 
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