Salvaging the Situation

Keeping his ultimate goal in mind, the Servant of Gomi Sama navigates the waste stream with aplomb.

He surveys the flotsam and without prejudice, salvages that which he recognizes as valuable.

He imagines a thousand new uses for these discarded things.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Compost Tea Irrigation

I have not written an entry for this blog in some months. My apologies. Events at Fukushima, the devastating tornado rampage in the US as well as the deteriorating financial situation, have forced me to prioritize. I have been very busy preparing a life support system for myself and my family. I urge you to do the same thing. It's time to buckle down and "git 'er done" if you take my meaning.
    Composting is a wonderful means of fertilizing your soil for gardening. The biological action of fungi, bacteria, worms and insects breaks down organic matter into forms readily absorbed by plants. Agitation or mixing increases the rate of decay; as does mulching, grinding or otherwise breaking down the materials prior to incorporating them. The addition of urine to a compost pile is a great way to increase nitrogen content. It also accelerates the transformation process. The finished product can be spread on your garden patch enrich the soil and grow larger, healthier produce.
    An alternative method of delivering nutrients to your plants involves a preparation called compost tea. As the name indicates a "tea" is brewed. Water is added to compost, allowed to "steep" and is then drawn off. Plants can then be watered with this rich mixture.
    My good friend Mundafar, currently preparing to cycle across Canada to help connect needy, hungry people with food producers, provided the impetus for this project. He spent an evening here last year and mentioned a compost tea trough he had seen another gardener using. The system he described was simple and effective. I was enamored with the idea and I gave it much thought. I used materials I had to develop something similar.
    I have recently (today) begun assembling this irrigation system to distribute compost tea throughout my 20X25 garden patch. It incorporates a bathtub, which will hold the compost and permit flooding it with water. A screen will help keep solids out of the pipes. The tub I'm using had a brass tailpiece attached and I needed four or five fittings to get to a point that allowed attaching poly pipe. Ask for help from your hardware dealer. Mine is a goldmine. I had some 1 1/2" pipe which I then reduced to 1". I used eight (8) 1" barbed T-connectors and 2' lengths of 1" pipe to fabricate a manifold ending in a 1" barbed, elbow connector. The nine resulting 1" take-offs were reduced to 1/2" to which will be attached 25' of 1/2" poly and plugged. Drip feed hoses will be attached as required by individual plants in the garden.
    As usual reclaimed materials were used wherever possible. The fittings for the tub cost about $8 and the rest of the manifold fittings will amount to about 30$. The tub was a freebie as was the pipe, reclaimed from an old well pump. Unfortunately I will in this case need to purchase some rather specialized irrigation hose and drip feed fittings. These will significantly increase my financial outlay. Perhaps another $100. Sometimes it can't be helped. I expect such items will shortly become much harder to locate. The important thing is to know when it's time to spend a few bucks. And when to get cracking. Good luck folks. The hour is getting late.