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Best Organic Fertilizers that SuperSize Plant Growth in My Vegetable Garden

September 4, 2019


This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com,
I have another exciting episode for ya and you know every episode I have is basically
my life gardening lifestyle I mean I live a gardening lifestyle, half my day or more
sometimes or actually out in the garden after I’ve finished with doing the things I have
to do and must do in life because this is my joy, my pleasure, I like to be out in the
garden and get some fresh air and also build some muscles by carting some of these soils
around and whatnot.  So what I’m doing today actually is enriching my raised beds for the
upcoming seasons here and thought I’d share the process with you.  Specifically “Dear
John, do I throw out the soil every season when you’re growing?”  No man, don’t throw
out the soil, the soil is the most important thing you got.  As you can see behind me,
the soil actually dips down so I filled this up to the top and over the season it just
kind of compresses down and earthworms are eating some of the organic matter and it just
compresses down, so I don’t till it up, I don’t like to till, what I do is just add
stuff to the top layer and kind of mix it in just a little bit and try not to disturb
any of the existing soil in there, to destroy the precious beneficial microbes and fungi
and other alive elements in the soil.  So I’m going to be adding new stuff, and another
question I get a lot is “John, what do I add to my soil?”, so whether you’re starting
a new raised bed or filling it up adding to your raised bed you know what I’m going to
show you now is what I use.  You may use some or all of them, some of them I am experimenting
with and some are tried and true and definitely would recommend them.  I will let you know
which ones they are, one by one.  So let’s see, so currently we’ll start off with what
I’ve filled these beds with, some of these beds here are actually derived compost from
Simona compost, it’s primarily the mallard plus compost, it’s mainly made from food scrapes
and yard waste and clippings, everything from everybody in the county.  This is our OMRI
certified for use in industrial production agriculture.
  In addition I have added it some different
points of biodynamic high test compost, which is Demeter, certified or listed also from
Sonoma compost and that makes up probably of 99% of what’s in here.  I’ve also added
things like rock dust, cal powder, and some other things in the past.  What we’re going
to do now is re-enrich for the new growing season.  While yes, there’s still lots of
nutrition in the soil, I want my plants to have everything it needs, it’s like if you
go to a buffet, a shmorgeshborg, you could just, there’s all kinds of food in front of
you man and you get to choose what you want to eat.  I want to give my soil everything
and put everything into my soil so the plants could choose what they want to absorb.  Say
you go to a fast food place and they got 3 options you know you got, I think actually
In and Out burger is like this.  You got a hamburger, a cheeseburger, and French fries. 
I don’t think they sell much else, a coke.  You don’t have too many choices, but imagine
you go to the buffet you have all these different things so I like to just flood my soil with
organic nutrition that’s going to encourage the beneficial microbes and bacteria and fungiis
that are in there, because they are the ones that help break down some of the nutrition
so that the plants could absorb it and let the plants choose.  So that’s what I’m going
to show you guys today, which ones I use.  Let’s start over on this side.  What I like
to do is I like to put all of my different soil medians in little buckets and these are
actually about 1 gallon recycled buckets that I pick up for free.  This actually, I don’t
know what this had in it has a label there.  But different things, I did these from like
a local health food store that they get almond butter and bath salts and some of these, and
they basically would throw these out or recycle them.  I like to take them and reuse them. 
So I want to encourage you guys to reuse and recycle, it is just smarter and actually these
buckets come in quite handy when I’m enriching my bed because I get to put one item in each
bucket and then I sprinkle it on uniform ally to mix it in and I’ll show you that process. 
  In these little buckets, we got all sorts
of cool stuff.  So right here what I have is the worm casing so worm gold, worm casings
and in my estimation these are some of the best worm casings.  I mainly like these because
they are not only worm cassings, they are like 97% worm cassings and just a small percentage
of the rock dust minerals, and also some kelp meal in there as well so definitely really
good quality worm cassings also they are very high in kyantanase content because these worms,
unlike many worm cassings can be fed manures, these are fed vegetative stock so when the
cassings have high kyanase content which breaks down the kyntene and the insect shells like
the avids and the white flies have shells, exoskeletons that are made of kyntene and
when they have the kyantene enzyme it breaks down their shell.  So it’s like when you’re
an insect and you’re eating that plant it’s like pouring acid on your skin, it’s going
to melt, and then guess what it’s going to go to somebody else’s garden that didn’t use
the high quality high chitinase cassings, all worm cassings are not created equal. 
Now aside from the worm cassings, I’m also adding my favorite thing and if you don’t
use anything else, you want to definately use this one at least minimally, this is the
rock dust.  
In these little buckets, we got all sorts of cool stuff.  So right here what I have
is the worm casing so worm gold, worm casings and in my estimation these are some of the
best worm casings.  I mainly like these because they are not only worm cassings, they are
like 97% worm cassings and just a small percentage of the rock dust minerals, and also some kelp
meal in there as well so definitely really good quality worm cassings also they are very
high in kyantanase content because these worms, unlike many worm cassings can be fed manures,
these are fed vegetative stock so when the cassings have high kyanase content which breaks
down the kyntene and the insect shells like the avids and the wyflies have shells, exoskeletons
that are made of kyntene and when they have the kyantene enzyme it breaks down their shell. 
So it’s like when you’re an insect and you’re eating that plant it’s like pouring acid on
your skin, it’s going to melt, and then guess what it’s going to go to somebody else’s garden
that didn’t use the high quality high kyantenase cassings, all worm cassings are not created
equal.  Now aside from the worm cassings, I’m also adding my favorite thing and if you
don’t use anything else, you want to definitely use this one at least minimally, this is the
rock dust.  This is the really fine powder that’s the azomite rock dust which I like
so much; I also have used other rock dust in the past as well.  Now if you can’t find
a horicultural grade rock dust because it can be very hard to find, if you go to any
big box store, or even most local nurseries, you ask them for rock dust and they’ll look
at you like “Huh”? Or they’ll say “Oh you mean ironites?”  No, that’s not the same
stuff man, you want a wide spectrum of ground up rock dust basically and most nurseries,
places don’t have it so check my where I have a video where I have lowest prices on dust
(delived?) so you can get it shipped directly to you at the lowest price I found, other
than that you can go to a local rock and stone quarry and mine stuff out the ground.  You’re
going to want the rock dust, rock powder, and their finest grade material that’s pretty
much like a dust.  This is actually, literally flour like consistency, its fine like a powder. 
We need this in you know, a small powder form so that it’s most available for the microbes,
the microbes can’t break down pebbles and things like that.  So aside from the azomite
rock dust powder I also have some rock dust powder that was sourced at a local farm, they
have their own quarry here and they grind their own rock dust, and this is a lot finer
texture but there is some fines in there too.  Now you might be thinking “John, why do
you have 2 different rock dusts why isn’t one enough well you know every different kind
of rock?” no matter where it’s from is going to have a different make up of minerals. 
So this one may have a lot of certain minerals and this one may have other minerals so I
want to put all the different kinds of rock dust that I could get as possible so that
my plants have all of the different minerals and once again they’re in a schmorgeshborg
and they get to go to town and eat whatever they want, get nice and fat because nice and
fat plants equals nice and fat yields and more food for me to eat.
  So aside from the rock dust, I got the next
one here which is also another good source of trace minerals because this is actually
from the ocean.  You can also use some things like ocean solution or C90 for your minerals
which I feed in later in foliar feed; these ones actually go in the soil.  This one’s
actually kelp meal, so actually if you go to the health food store you can buy kelp
meal and sprinkle that on your food and I recommend that as an excellent alternative
to salt, it’s much lower in sodium, but also has a lot of the other trace minerals in it,
so it’s good for us and it’s also good for it to put in our garden and soak them in our
soil with.  Next we have these 3 items right here, and these are the John and Bob’s products. 
So I think we got the Soil Optimizer here, and basically these some of these products
are food for the microbes, some of these are actually mild fertilizers and actually the
next one is the trace minerals and the microbes so let’s get into that one next.  The John
and Bob’s product that I like the most is actually called Minerals and Microbes, it’s
once again rock dust, trace minerals, and the beneficial microbes that are going to
help break down and allow your plant to absorb them more effectively.  This one is actually
called the Nourish Biosal and so on the John and Bob products I’m currently experimenting,
this is my first growing season using them.  I’ve read up a lot and I’ve been testing them
in small amounts and I definitely agree with whole principles of the John and Bob’s and
so far, I’m having good results.  It’s totally inconclusive at this point because I’m not
sure, haven’t really used it a full growing season.  The last bucket of stuff I got is
this stuff right here, it’s the Sonoma Compost Biochar, and Biochar is 100% carbon.  If
you’ve done your research, there is this soil called Terrapreta soil, a really dark rich
soil and they used to add Biochar to it.  So now, I’m starting to add the 100% carbon
to my soil.  That being said you want to do Biochar in moderation, you don’t want to
put too much Biochare because Biochar charcoal, which is what this is used in air cleaners
all the time because charcoal will absorb odors and so also it will absorb the nutrition
in the soil, but it’s good to have there in any case in my opinion.  So I’m gonna add
just a little bit of Biochar to this whole raised bed to inoculate my soil with some
Biochar to put some carbon back in my soil in a big way.  These items I’ve put in small
amounts you know, 1 gallon buckets.  And there’s no real rhyme or method to how much
I’ve put in I just go okay, let’s use a little bit of this, a little bit of that and just
like make an elixir in like the witch’s brew you know.  Some of the things I like to use
more of like I like to do a lot of rock dust and especially depending on how much of that
I have in inventory right now and how much I don’t.  I don’t have a whole lot of kelp
meal and it tends to be very expensive, whereas, I have a lot more rock dust so I’ll put a
lot of rock dust and a little bit of kelp meal.  I always recommend if you don’t know
what you’re doing (this is very important), read the label, read the directions.  I’m
not good for reading directions but I could have the gardener intuition and could like
know what I should be using, and I do kind of look at the labels to get some kind of
general guideline before I just start throwing stuff in because if you throw too much in,
you know in general, more may not be always better depending on what you’re going to put
in.  You know I’ve thrown in 50% rock dust before and thrown in a large high percentage
of worm cassings with no problems.  But I don’t necessarily recommend you do that, you
want to add these things supplementaly into your garden bed.  So actually, these are
my supplements and let’s get into the main components of my soil that I’ll be adding
in for this upcoming season.  First, we have this one right here; this is Biodynamic Demeter
listed compost.  So this is actually from Sonoma compost, this is actually called the
High Test Biodynamic compost.  In Biodynamic compost, they put in some like tinctures or
whatever like do all this kind of stuff and it’s actually composted longer than their
standard OMRI listed organic high test compost.  So I like to use this stuff sparingly, I mainly
like to use the Mallard Plus but optimally I like to mix the Mallard plus with this and
you know one to one and that would make a awesome blend today because I’m just enriching
my beds.  I’m using this guy, and this is basically bacteria based compost, this is
made at high temperatures and has a lot of bacterial matter.  Now to be really good
in your garden besides the bacterial matter, you need the fungal matter man.  So that’s
what we’ve got next right here, we’ve got some fungal dominated compost man and this
is the bomb stuff right here.  This in my opinion is what most people are missing in
their garden, and this is the good stuff the good shit man.  Mmm nice smell.  And this
is the Boogie Hummus here and basically this is a wood chipped based hummus, so what they
did was, as I said the regular compost is with the bacterial process with high heat
and it breaks down over time.  How this works is this is fungal dominated compost, so they
take literally wood chips and they sit it in a pile for months and months and years
and years and it basically just composts down and breaks down over time.  So this is a
low heat process so the low heat process, so the low heat process creates different
micro-organisms and encourages different micro-organisms in this mixture instead of the high heat mixture. 
So I’m going to add both these together so you know optimal growing results so we’ve
got the fungal dominated and the bacterial based dominated compost and once again this
is the Boogie Hummus.  I haven’t seen the tested results from the Boogie Hummus yet
but I’m highly confident it is quite active in all the different microbes.  Besides it
just being the soil and it just plays for the plant to put its roots, and the plants
roots grow between the soil not through the soil, the airspace in the soil, it’s also
going to have a lot of the nutrition, bacterial, and fungal microbes that make the whole system
work, that make the plants roots work.  The plants have been on earth for millions of
years and they’ve learned to work in a system of this whole soil microbiology.  So besides
the soils I’ve got this last one here.  This is also very important, I have been primarily
growing in the compost and I do notice that in the summertime they do dry out a little
bit so what I recommend for people and new gardeners is Mel’s mix, Mel’s Bartholomew
who got the square foot garden method going.  He basically recommends 1/3 of compost, 1/3
of vermiculite, and 1/3 of coconut core, or Pete moss.  What we’re going to add in here
is a bag of stuff I got, this is actually coconut core, and some pearlite which is similar
but not exactly the same thing as the vermiculite.  Also I actually used enriched with the rock
dust here.  So we’re just going to go ahead and add this one bag in and adding just some
amounts of coconut core, I could add a lot more but I don’t want to displace too much
of the other stuff I’m adding to my beds.  It’s going to help the water retention so
that my garden doesn’t dry out as much in this upcoming summer season.  I know what
you might be thinking; you’re thinking “John, should I add all of those to my garden?” Well,
you know what; let me tell you the beneficial ones.  The beneficial ones are #1 a compost;
you want to try to get a good quality bacterial based compost (hopefully locally) and also
fungal dominated compost.  Those are the most important.  Next in my opinion, the
most important, the rock dust of the ezomite you want trace minerals in there.  If you
want to stop there that’s great, if you want to keep going you probably want to add the
coconut core or the Pete moss, and then you want to add the vermiculite.  Then that’s
probably like all you need is as the base line.  If you want to take it to the next
level then add the worm cassings, then I’d probably add the kelp meal.  Each of these
different nutrients you’re adding in I mean, literally what I’m going to be doing next
is mixing these into my soil and it’s almost like baking a cake right, if you leave that
one ingredient in a cake out it could mess up the whole recipe.  This is what I’ve found
what really works and it’s only going to help the beneficial microbes.  Several of the
products are going to populate the microbial, and fungal and bacterial action in the soil
even more including these two composts and the microbes and minerals product and that’s
what you really want to do.  I always encourage you guys to do the best you can but at minimum
do the compost, the rock dust, and the work cassings basically to sum it up.  The other
ones if you’ve got extra money to spend you know buy it and try it and see my videos when
I actually go over the results on some of the John and Bob’s products.  Now we’re going
to mend my raised bed, as you can see I’ve taken out the irrigation system and kind of
draped it over the side temporarily so I can get in here and work this cause what I like
to do is just layer on all of my nutrients and all of the different amendments that are
going to add and kind of mix in with my hands, I like using my hands in the soil I don’t
like using spades or shovels I like to just kind of get my hands dirty (well I’ve got
gloves on because I’m a wuss like that).  But anyways we’re just going to mix it all
up and layer it on and just kind of mix it and fluff it all in and at the end we’re going
to make sure it’s level with the top so that it has a nice finished look in my garden. 
You know for me, if you have a raised bed garden in my opinion for the most part you
should always fill it up to the top because then if you fill it up to the top there is
most soil and most different nutrients in the soil so your plants could have that schmorgeshborg
that we want them to have.  So first what we’re going to do is we’re going to go ahead
and add the worm cassings and what I like to do is I like to just take a bucket, and
this bucket makes it very convenient to just shake a little bit of it out over the whole
bed so we get this stuff evenly distributed.  Now we’re going to add the kelp meal and same
thing, this bucket here is going to serve as the L part of the bed so we’re going to
put about half of this stuff in there (oh, a little bit too much).  I just like to just
kind of go along and evenly distribute it in the bed.  Next we’ve got the Biochare,
and some of these materials you know do tend to clump up so I like to just get my hands
in the material with the gloves on and actually just break it up into nice, fine particles
before you know spreading it in.  Be aware that the carbon or the biochar will definitely
stain your hands black so you might want to wear some gloves for that so we’re just going
to break that up a little bit and spread this out a little bit in my garden.  Next we’ve
got the rock dust, this is a very fine powder so you may want to use, and actually I encourage
you guys to use a dust mask so that you don’t breathe this fine particulate in or minimally
hold your breath or put a handkerchief over your nose and mouth so that you don’t breathe
while doing this.  I’m going to choose to hold my breath today.  Can’t breathe uhh,
alright after the dust cleared, I can inhale now whoo.  Next, we’re going to use a second
rock dust (not totally dust but a little bit dusty), going to spread this guy out.  Next,
we’ve got the John and Bob’s products; I believe it’s the Nourish Biosoil.  We’re just going
to go ahead and shake this stuff out, don’t want to shake too much out in here, you need
very little of these products here. 
Next we’ve got the John and Bob’s Soil Optimizer, once again we’re just going to shake this
stuff out just a little bit everywhere (just like baking a cake).  Next we’ve got the
microbes and minerals maximized by John and Bob’s and this actually tends to clump up
a lot, so before we actually dump it in there, I’m just kind of squeezing this up in my hands. 
This is one of the funest things I like to do while I have gloves on anyways is just
squeeze these up and just feel the soil man.  Squeeze it up in a nice fine particulate so
that it’s evenly distributed in your soil instead of big large clods.  Did you ever
have like dirt clod fights when you were a kid?  We used to have dirt clod fights and
chuck them at other kids, that was not a nice thing to do but probably everybody does that
when you’re a kid.  We’ve got this in a fine texture here, we’re just going to once again
we’re just going to take it and just kind of sprinkle it daintily throughout my raised
bed.  So those are all the ingredients that I’ll be adding.  You know the main single
ingredient that I’ll be adding is I’m going to add the 3 bagged products.  Now you know
once again I’m going to say this is what I’m using at this time based on what I have quote
unquote what I have in stock or what I have extra bags of.  You know if I only had compost
I would use the compost and the rock dust without anything else.  That being said these
are maybe things beneficial for you to use.  I mean once again my goal is not to be gardening
on the frugal I mean that’s one of my goals but it’s not one of my highest goals.  My
highest goal in why I’m growing food is to make nutrient dense food and so I want to
have the highest quality food because in my opinion the food you eat becomes you, and
when you eat the highest quality food, you’re going to be the highest quality person you
could be.  So I want to have the highest quality health and highest quality everything
and I could only do that by growing my own food, adding all these minerals and different
things in my soil because frankly most conventional agriculture even organic agriculture is not
taking it to the level that I am.  #1 It maybe unsustainable, adding some of these
things in large quantities to fields.  Some of these things can be very expensive to add
so I mean I think every farmer should add minimally like sea water to their drip line
or when they’re watering, and I definitely think that they should add the rock dust that
alone, should make an amazing difference, plus you could use some of the other things
like the fungal dominated compost and compostees that I’m getting ready to add later in the
season.  So next let’s go ahead and add those bagged products.  Now we’re going to
add the coconut corn pearlite.  Next we’ve got the big boys, here’s the high test biodynamic
compost.  Now biodynamic compost is actually fairly rare.  I’m lucky that I have a local
source, I’m really glad for that, and this gets added into much higher quantities. 
It’s basically going to get added all the way to top off this whole bed actually. 
And now we’ve got the Boogie Hummus, now I want to take a second to talk more about the
Boogie Hummus you know, there’s an episode I did while back at my friends place and actually
the title of the video is called Super Size Your Vegetables With Wood Chips and Rock Dust. 
My friends in Oregon, all they’re growing in their compost is wood chips that they grow
on their own property.  You know I don’t have a large property where I can actually
sit and compost wood chips for like 3 years to make this stuff, so I’m getting it from
the Boogie Brew Company the Boogie Hummus.  This is some really good stuff, so we’re going
to go ahead and add that stuff in there and hopefully this will supersize my vegetables
along with those trace minerals to get me optimal growth…and maybe even optimal girth. 
Okay so the main deal is once you’ve got all of this added you’re probably going to have
to add more later but just to show you guys, I got to roll up my sleeves and take my gloves
and just get these big particles and just break them up because I don’t want big chunks
in the soil.  So I’ll be here with my hand just kind of going through and breaking up
any large chunks of stuff.  What I’m doing is just basically just waxing on and waxing
off, much like that movie, wax on wax off.  I’m just going along the surface not to disturb
the underneath soil layers and I’ve never really seen anybody do this so you don’t have
to do it like this but this is just how I like to do it you know this is my garden Zen
meditation you know, wax on wax off….I like waxing off more than I like waxing on.  We’re
just going to go ahead and mix all of these different amendments all together so we have
a nice evenly distributed mixture, and you can see that because of all the different
rock dust patterns have a different color and you can see the pearlite get mixed in,
so definitely really cool.  As you guys can see I’ve got the soil pretty much filled up
and it’s a little bit high and saying real quick is just the way I do it doesn’t mean
you have to do it.  Another alternate way to do this is to have a nice large wheelbarrow
and mix all of your different soils all up in there and then fill that on top.  I kind
of like to get my hands in there in the soil and mix it all up even if I’m mixing something
in the wheelbarrow I prefer to mix it up with my hands instead of using a shovel I mean
I just like digging in the dirt much like I’m a kid again.  The final step you see
is like all uneven, I really like to have that nice finished look especially in my front
yard garden even in my backyard garden or wherever I garden I just like it to look nice
and neat and tidy like Europeans.  So what I’m going to do is what I call Screech., Screech
is not the dude that was in Saved by the Bell sitcom thing, it’s what I do to my raised
bed after its full I take like a 2 x 3 and what we’re going to do is just going to take
this down and I like to kind of run it all the way across the bed although I have a trelless
in there.  I just take it and squeegee it across the top so that I could make sure the
top is completely level and all the soil is level, it gives you that nice and finished
look.  I’m going to go ahead and Screech the top of my bed to make the soil level and
I’ll be back at ya in a minute.  So now you guys could see that I’ve got this all Screeched
out and I’ve got my irrigation drip system back on top.  One of the things I actually
like is the sub soil irrigation system I’m going to hopefully test real soon.  With
that system you got to just move all that irrigation stuff and you have the flexibility
of being able to freely plant wherever you really want with the wicking action that it
has.  I know you guys might be thinking, you country gardeners “John why the hell are
you screeching the bed and making it look all pretty?”  This is actually at the sidewalk
in the front of my house, I mean I want this to look nice and pretty and neat for me and
for people that come over and look at it, the people driving by.  You know if I did
live in the country and had 40 acres and had no neighbors and I didn’t really care, I’d
probably just do a close enough job and just leave it but you know it’s in my front yard
and I’m going to be looking at it a lot and just kind of like OCD like that.  I guess
the last step I like to do is just take my hose and I like to spray this down evenly
with water and prep this bed and get it ready for the new plants that are going in.  The
soil is actually dry, and I find if the soil has been dry for a long time the water tends
to run off instead of soaking in so I want to get the water soaking in the soil so when
I do plant the (starts?) it doesn’t run off and soaks in much better.  Once the soil
does get wet it tends to hold the water better than when it’s fully dried and kind of just
runs off.  Alright, so we’ve wetted it down enough and I mean that’s pretty much it. 
Now we’re ready to plant out for the new season.  So for those guys that were wondering that’s
how I enrich my bed, I use a lot of different things.  Now, you don’t necessary need to
use all of these things for great gardening results  you know if you just get some bed
compost and start doing it you’re going to be great but if you want to improve, I always
live my life by a principle called CANI (C-A-N-I) It stands for Constant And Never ending Improvement. 
I want to always improve what I’m doing and get that much better, if it means I got to
spend a little bit of extra money and some things to add to my soil to make that much
better so I can have more nutritious produce, I’m going to definitely do it.  That being
said you know you need to figure out where you’re at.  At the bare minimum I’d recommend
compost and the rock dust and then you know from there you could add in the vermiculite,
the coconut core or Pete moss and then the worm cassings and you might feel comfortable
stopping there or adding different varieties of rock dust and getting more crazy like I
do.  Hope this sheds a little bit of light on what I do to enrich my raised beds after
each growing season and some of the things I use.  Of course it varies depending on
you know what I have in stock you know I have these other things like zyolites and all kinds
of different things in the past but these are some of the basic things that I generally
always use.  So I hope you guys have enjoyed this episode and it was quite enriching to
you like it was enriching to my raised bed.  Once again my name is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com;
we’ll see you next time and remember….keep on growing!

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