Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Green Friend and Foliar Spray

My friend Linna was on Emeril Green recently as a gardening expert. She is truly passionate about the subject, and in fact, she was the one who turned me on to Square Foot Gardening about 6 years ago. She convinced me that I could in fact go buy some soil, containers, and seeds and grow veggies on my deck! That first attempt at gardening had more failures than successes but it didn't matter, I was bit by the gardening bug.

So here she is, her TV debut:http://planetgreen.discovery.com/videos/emeril-green-2-indoor-gardening-tips-from-the-expert.html

I went to Brix Bounty Farm yesterday evening for a talk about Foliar Spraying. It was very informative and I really enjoyed going for a walk through the fields to see some of Derek's battles with the soil. (Late Blight has made it's way to his farm as well, though just recently from the looks of it.) Here is some of what I took away from the experience:
  • The purpose of foliar spray is to stimulate or nudge the roots to put out exudates (or acids). The exudate help various exchanges take place and break down the minerals and other matter in the soil making it easier for the roots to take it in. This does not require fertilizer or nutrients, it can be done with water mixed with sugar or a small amount of vinegar.
  • The best time to spray is when the stomata on the undersides of the leaf are open (under clouds or fog, early AM and later in the evening).
  • Recommended frequency: one time per week is ideal, but every two weeks is also sufficient.
  • Humic Acid can be added for "chelation". Chelation has to do with ions and is quite complicated, but in short it helps make substances more available to plants and stabilizes soils.
  • Organic Molasses provides sugar for the microbes.
  • Ocean water can be used in diluted quantities to provide trace elements. (I now have a new use for my aquarium water after a water change!)
  • Fresh grass clippings can be added to water to steep for about 10 days, then added to foliar as a Nitrogen source.
  • The finer the mist the better= pump or back pack sprayers best.
  • Lancaster Agriculture is a good resource for bulk natural and organic gardening products that can be hard to find elsewhere. He uses this company for things like organic molasses and mentioned there is a greater market for their products in PA from the Amish. They have a great reference on Soil Nutrients on their site.

Basically I am not spraying frequently enough. Past references had talked about spraying every couple of months or at certain stages, such as transplant, bud or fruit set etc...so I will be increasing my frequnecy along with adding some molasses to the mix. (In my opinion the best part about the molasses is its ability to cut down the yucky fish smell!!)


Ruralrose said...

Best garden post this season, thank you. Peace for all

Kelly said...

Thank-you, and thanks to Brix Bounty for the education!