Spring Training for Swami
We live in Laytonville, after all, so you can’t expect us to always be on time. It seems like we are busier than ever, at the time of year when one should just be hanging out inside by the fire.
Nevertheless, now is the time to be getting your garden in order. To that end we invited Mike Lewis to come out for a consultation. He has a company called Synergy Agricultural Products and makes compost tea brewers and brews. (We’ll post a YouTube video of our interview in a day or so.)
If you have been reading our blogs, you know that we are undertaking a major remaking of the garden, with the aim of increasing yield, saving water and moving toward sustainability. I have been talking with many people up here on the hill and down in the valley about their practices.
Some have said, “Don’t put them in the ground, there are all sorts of problems that arise when you do that.” Others declare, “Put them in the ground! It’s the only way to really save water and be sustainable.” One says to use the Smart Pots until they absolutely disintegrate. Someone else chimes in to say, “No! Hugelkultur is the way to go!” Then the practical voice of reason warns, “Best not gamble your whole cash crop on an experiment,” or a new and unfamiliar methodology. But then: Fortune favors the bold!
Surely, many of you have been going through similar dilemmas. Still, one of the things I like about cannabis growing is you get to do it again. It is the feeling of spring time and the eternal hope that one can do better, now that you figured out how to solve last year’s problems. It’s really just like baseball. We are now in spring training, selecting seeds, getting the line-up together, organizing the coaching staff, pondering fertilizers, turning beds, adding amendments, like the grounds crew at the stadium. All is anticipation, speculation, imaginings of bountiful harvests and World Series in October.
I suppose that my own personal learning curve of growing cannabis parallels many others. I’m pretty sure I remember using Miracle Gro on my house plants and my first pot crop, waaay back when. But I also remember coming to the stunning realization that plants needed to be fed! Who knew? I just took it for granted that they grew. Plant food came as an epiphany. And those epiphanies keep coming, as we all learn more about how to grow sustainably. It’s wonderful, how cannabis teaches us how to care for the planet, by growing responsibly.
Now I am learning about brewing compost teas, which seems to be the best way to feed the soil. This brings about a bounty of microbes, microorganisms, protozoa, nematodes, mycorrhizae, insect frass, fungi, etc., which then become available for the plant to use. So, the plan is to layout a new garden design based on the Sri Yantra, a sacred geometry symbol for the interchange of the Divine Feminine with the Divine Masculine. This Sri Yantra is aligned with the North Pole.
Holes for the plants will be dug at the power intersections of the Yantra. Then, I will re-use the soil from the Smart Pots, putting it into the new holes and possibly setting up a drip system with a water meter (required by the Water Discharge Board) to reduce watering. It is not too late to plant a cover crop to be harvested in mid to late May, just before transplanting the females to the new ground plots.
Next, a compost tea brewer will be installed, enabling me to finally move beyond powdered and dry amendments, since I found out about the habitat destroying methods of harvesting bat guano and sea bird guano. A key element will be the watering and feeding schedule. I have been told by people who seem to know, that we have all been feeding our plants way too much. Mike Lewis recommends using the proper compost teas that have high oxygen content from brewing for 24 hours. This causes the good bacteria, microbes and fungi to grow strong so that they will keep out all the bad organisms without using any pesticides and with minimal outside content. The idea is to help nature do what she does best: grow healthy soil and plants.
Soon it will be time to conclude the musings, the planning, the designing, the day dreaming and get back to work with hands in the soil. I can almost hear the crack of the bat up here on the hill.