Soil Preparations

| April 19, 2012

While I’m waiting for my bokashi to complete its fermenting cycle and the weather to warm up enough so I can plant items in my containers, I’ve been spending time reading and learning about how to organically improve the quality of my soil (forgive the long sentence).

My “From Scratch” personality has a hard time purchasing potting soil that’s pre-fertilized or fortified with chemical enhancements. I opt for the cheap common everyday soil. A long time ago I tried potting plants with soil from the yard but didn’t like the fact that grass was growing along with my houseplants, so I started purchasing potting soil.

Natural and Organic FertilizingPlant Sprayer

Discovering bokashi has me on a whole new adventure. The bokashi tea is doing wonders for my plants, but I’ve learned the beneficial microorganisms in the bokashi tea need to eat too. The existing soil in my houseplant pots has little to no nutrients (I wasn’t good with fertilizing them, and that’s probably why they looked so ill).

I’ve since learned that adding natural ingredients such as molasses and seaweed does much to improve not only the mineral content of the soil, but it gives the microbes something to snack on. A happy microbe creates happy plants.

Even More Experimenting

I’m now testing a homemade fertilizer consisting of molasses, seaweed water, bokashi tea and filtered (non-chlorinated) water. Chlorine kills the microbes so I have to use the filtered water from the kitchen spigot.  I’ve also found that water from the basement dehumidifier is another good source of non chlorinated water.

Fortunately, I already had the other ingredients in the house. The amount of each ingredient varies depending on my memory.I've killed the easiest plants in the world to care for

I mix the concoction in a 2-gallon sprayer. I use about ½ to 1 cup of unsulphured blackstrap molasses, about a cup of or so of seaweed water, about a cup of bokashi tea (depending on how much tea the bucket is willing to release) and the rest is filled with the filtered water. I’m watching the plants closely to see how often or how diluted I should apply the mixture.

BTW, making the seaweed water was easy. I used the Nori seaweed I purchased quite some time ago when I was going to make sushi California rolls (which I never got around to making). I put the Nori sheet and water into a Magic Bullet container and mixed it until it was liquified. Even though it was well mixed, I strained the seaweed water before pouring it into the mixer. I didn’t want the particles to clog the sprayer.

If I lived close to the ocean, I would pick fresh seaweed, but I don’t so I have to improvise.

Time Will Tell

I’m using the concoction on the plants and I’m also applying it to the containers of dirt I have sitting outside waiting for the bokashi to be ready. I’ve also applied some to a small portion of my lawn to see how it responds. I don’t have enough to apply on the entire lawn. But, if I find it works well, I’ll figure out how to make enough for the entire yard.

The worst that can happen is my previously sickly plants start to look sickly again. Let’s face it, they’ve looked sick for years. It’s a good thing I know how to bring them back.

I love experiments. I’ll post updates whether the results are good or bad.

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Category: Container Gardening, Fertilizers, Gardening

About the Author ()

Felicia is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment.

Comments (4)

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  1. Crystal says:

    I have a houseplant I got over 35 years ago and am amazed at how long a plant can live despite my attention or lack thereof! It has survived a few moves, several repottings, being cut to the ground twice due to scale (the insects, not the size of the plant), and a variety of other happenings and mishaps. Although it has nearly reached the ceiling three or four times in the past 3+ decades, it now seems content to be more like a shrub than a tree.

    • Felicia says:

      Isn’t it amazing how well some plants do when we just leave them alone? I think I’ve loved some of my plants to death. 🙂

  2. Joni says:

    Do you bring them back like I do, by ignoring them? LOL. You are so patient. I want to be just like you when I grow up!
    Joni

    • Felicia says:

      LOL. Joni, is there any other way to bring plants back to life? I think the ignoring process works so well.