Things They Didn't Teach You In Garden School | Marc Boucher-Colbert | Skillshare

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Things They Didn't Teach You In Garden School

teacher avatar Marc Boucher-Colbert

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (1h 51m)
    • 1. Course Ad

    • 2. Introduction

    • 3. Garden Write

    • 4. Presprout

    • 5. Rid of Plastic

    • 6. Light Matters

    • 7. Liquid Lunch

    • 8. Microgreens

    • 9. Making a Microgreens Salad

    • 10. Plant Into Compost

    • 11. Continuous Cover Crop Salad

    • 12. Experiment Like Crazy

    • 13. Conclusion

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About This Class

This course will help you discover a rule-breaking, experimental approach to gardening that will lead you to great vegetable growing results. In this class we’ll get a firm foundation in some of the basics of gardening, rock-solid stuff like light, water, seeds, nutrients, compost, BUT we’ll also open up the field for creative exploration and novelty.

One additional core course principle: all our work will be guided by organic and sustainable gardening practices because as gardeners we want to align ourselves with, and not against, the ways of Nature.

This course is a co-production by Marc Boucher-Colbert and an Instructional Designer, Anne Parmeter.

Meet Your Teacher

I found my calling growing veggies in urban spaces.

I helped get community supported farming to Portland when I ran Urban Bounty Farm in the 1990s; late in that decade I co-founded Zenger Farm, a still-thriving urban agricultural center; in the early 2000s, I did a volunteer stint with my family in Brazil, where I lost many a garden battle to mole crickets and leaf-cutter ants; upon returning to the United States I got a Maters of Education focusing on… guessed it, gardening!

Since 2006 I’ve tended a rooftop vegetable garden at the Portland restaurant called the Noble Rot, and for the past couple years I’ve grown and sold microgreens to the rest of Portland’s top restaurants, which Covid has now mainly levelled, so I eat huge, complicated sala... See full profile

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1. Course Ad: Hi, I'm Mark Boucher-Colbert And I'm here to tell you about what they didn't teach you in garden school. You didn't go to garden school, you say? Right. And most people don't. Still the point about what they didn't teach you in school applies. Whether we learned in the formal setting of a classroom or informally gathering bits of information here and there. We often reach an end of the line point where we feel we know the basics and we keep repeating those things over and over. I'm here to help you break out of that pattern, to restart your learning about gardening, and to help you discover a rule-breaking experimental approach to coordinate that to great vegetable growing results and hopefully to your own discoveries. This class is primarily for experienced gardeners because to break some of the rules at first helps to know them. But even if you've never gardened before, I hope that the material is still accessible enough to pique your interest in going to join. In this class, we'll get a firm foundation and some of the basics of gardening. Rock solid stuff like flight, water, seeds, nutrients, compost, but will also open up the field (all puns intended by the way), for experimentation and novelty. In this manner, gardening becomes a journey where we can generally predict what the landscape will be like. But the details of that maybe new and surprising. One additional core course principle. All our work will be guided by organic and sustainable gardening practices. Because as gardeners, we want to align ourselves with and not against the ways of nature. I'd been a gardener or farmer for almost 30 years. I ran one of Portland's first community supported farms back in the nineties called Urban Bounty Farms. About 20 years ago, I helped start an urban agricultural education center, right in Portland proper called Zenger Farm which is still a thriving enterprise today. In 2005, I took on the challenge of designing and maintaining a rooftop garden and Noble Rot restaurant. A garden which I still proudly tend today, some 15 years later. And during those same last 15 years, I've been garden specialist at Franciscan Montessori Earth School where I teach gardening to kids and maintain a couple of pretty substantial vegetable and ornamental gardens. Most recently, I've taken a deep dive into growing year round micro greens indoors, selling them to Portland's top restaurants. And gorge myself on what I think are the city's best salads. And so here we go together on this great lifelong garden adventure, Things They Didn't Teach You in Garden School. 2. Introduction: Hi, I'm Mark Boucher-Colbert And I'm here to tell you about what they didn't teach you in garden school. In this class, I'll be sharing with you some of my best tips, the things I've learned which have made a real difference in my gardening results by giving you my bag of tricks and explaining why I've come to the solutions I have. I'm hoping to save you some valuable time and boost your confidence. Then when you try your ideas and inevitably make mistakes, and remember, we need to make mistakes to learn and advance, You'll still feel successful enough to be satisfied with your efforts. I hope that through it all, I'll be able to impart my tireless enthusiasm for experimenting and learning. Because that attitude will really be the way you move forward. You may benefit from the tips. In fact, I know you will, but if you pick up the experimental approach, then nature itself will be your master teacher and the rest of that lifelong class is free. Here's how I've organized the class: First, we'll start with a lesson on the importance of record keeping called Garden Write. That will help you keep all your later experiments straight. Now we'll get right to seeds in the importance of the pre sprout process. After that, I'll show you how to get rid of plastic in your seed room by making soil blocks and soil balls. And then it's back to science classes. We first study light in a lesson entitled Light Matters. Secondly, still in the science vein, we take up nutrient boosting and a lesson I call Liquid Lunch. Now I really, really wanted to do a segment on micro greens, but because it threatened to balloon to an entirely separate course, I decided that an instructional rap would be just the thing to whet the appetite and prepare for a sequel. Consider the rap a kind of right-brain seventh inning stretch after all the left-brain learning of the previous sciencey lessons. Following the musical interlude, I encourage you to plant right into your compost and harvest a continuous cover crop salad, two garden practices that will boost your productivity through the whole year. We wrap it all up, as much as one can wrap up a course that encourages continual growth, with the grand finale called Experiment Like Crazy. If your hands aren't itching for a trowel by then, I've done something wrong! So here we go together on this great lifelong garden adventure, Things They Didn't Teach You in Garden School. 3. Garden Write: I once read that the palest ink is better than the most retentive memory. That thought has stayed with me and inspired me to create a three-part garden record keeping system that allows me to track plantings and to be able to review my notes and actually learn from my season to season experience. Let's start our discussion by thinking about the kind of information that will be useful to our gardening practice. Since gardening begins with seeds, let's capture some information about the seed. What I take note of regarding seeds are the following: First of all, I write down the crop in the variety. This is utterly crucial information. Let's say you're growing broccoli and so is your neighbor. You basically have the same kind of soil, fertilize it the same way, hoe it regularly and water it about equally. Your yards gets the same amount of sun, more or less. The late spring into early summer is hot and your neighbor's broccoli becomes yellow, misshapen an utterly covered in a thick sweater at tiny black aphids. Yours, remarkably, produces healthy, waxy, bluish green leaves, followed by proud, tight domes of buds. All other things being equal, this difference is probably due to variety. Your despondent neighbor walks over one day to ask what kind of broccoli that is and you realize you forgot to write it down. Well, enjoy it this year, but don't expect to repeat next because you missed a crucial moment of record keeping. It might be YOU with those nasty, sickly aphid laden broccoli next year, and it didn't have to be that way. Always write down the kind of crop and the variety name because there's no such thing as a generic broccoli, or any other crop for that matter. There are only specific varieties, each with their own traits, which depending on conditions might be assets or defects. Without the variety name, you're stuck in a world of abstraction. Now besides that, there are other things that matter about seeds and that you might want to note: the seed company. Not all seed companies are equal and some have much higher standards than others, which translates into better quality seed. The year the seeds were packaged. Seeds as living beings have a discrete lifespan, they eventually expire, and after that, we'll never germinate, even though they look perfectly good. While there are seeds that can last for 1000 years and still germinate, there are others that are viable or spreadable for only a few days. Fortunately, most vegetable seed when properly stored with low temperature and low humidity, will last at least a couple of years and some will go a decade and still be good. If in doubt, you can do a quick germination test with some seeds on a moistened paper towel all tucked into a Ziploc bag and place somewhere warm. If the germination results aren't impressive, then consider resupplying before the coming season. You may also care to know and note the seeds percent germination, which basically expresses the number of seeds in any batch that will sprout out of 100, even under the best conditions, the better seed companies will conduct germination tests on their various batches of seed and will mark the germination percentage on the package. Some kinds of seeds consistently germinate high in the nineties, the overachievers and others are content with a C as in 75% or lower. Knowing the germination percentage will ease your worrying mind if your seeds don't come up as thickly as you wished. It might just be the seeds fault, not yours. And if you are tracking all this info and find you are planting old seed with naturally low germination. Well, then it just might be time to order some new seeds so your success rate increases. In addition to capturing all this information, I also want to note the date I planted the seeds, especially so that later I can figure out how many days it took from seeding to getting a harvest. Where do I put this all down? Splash some of that pale ink so to speak. I put it in two places: on a plastic tag and in a journal. We'll tackle the tag first and then address the journal a little later. Okay, so the plastic tag, if you've seen this segment on making soil balls, you're probably wondering how I can be so two-faced because there I'm damning plastic and here I'm embracing it. There's a reason why I like plastic tags for my indoor recordkeeping. First of all, they are impermeable to water. I have tried various wooden tags and popsicle sticks and tongue depressors as alternatives to the plastic tag. But they're all porous and start to wick water from the moist soil immediately upon planting. As this water wicks up the stick, it can discover or completely erased the information written there on, thereby erasing our capacity to learn. Plastic is impermeable, of course, never wicks and always yields the information reliably. Note also that I said plastic tags for indoor recordkeeping. There's no UV light indoors. And so basically these plastic tags are endlessly reusable. I write in pencil and keep a good rubber eraser nearby. When I'm done with the tag, I'll give it a pass with the eraser and it's ready to go again. One pro tip: Always erase with a motion that only goes away from you. If you go back and forth, you'll snap those thin little tags every time. The other thing that I like a little plastic tags is that they come in various colors so I can color-code different things that I'm tracking. For example, I use a basic white tag for the date, the variety, and the crop name. Sometimes for example, I experiment with different potting soils or different elements added to a standard potting soil. I tend to use a yellow tag for that. Noting the manufacturer of the soil or the type of amendment that I added. Other times I'd try various treatments such as a nutrient soak or longer or shorter light schedule. For these, I might use yet another color tag, say purple or whatever I have at hand. By the end of my indoor growing time, whether I'm eating the plants right there and then as micro or baby greens, or whether I'm ready to plant them outdoors, I might have a whole rainbow of tags telling me the history of that tiny plants first days. And that way it's kinda like a newborn baby's journal where every first is documented in great detail. Alright, so I have all these bright, pretty tags in hand telling me so much information about my plants. What do I do with it? Once again, it's the palest ink approach. I write it all down. Tags, remember are destined for erasure, so now I have to capture that information in a more permanent fashion, one which will allow me to access it, think about it and make further ruminations on it. There are a lot of what the brilliant organizational and communications consultant Anne Parmeter has called capture devices. But the one I like the best is the good old-fashioned journal. I buy something unlined and blank that I like the look and feel of and write everything down on the right-hand pages only. The left-hand pages are reserved for updates in annotations, allowing me to track the progress of the planting. Both lauding successes and admitting defeats. Occasionally at moments when brilliant strikes or dejection stings, I might go into full Liberal Arts mode and write out narrative paragraphs to process the garden related feelings. But mostly I keep it brief, snappy and just the facts. Okay, we have one more documentary stage to describe here and then our system is complete. Many plants that we start indoors are destined not to have their lives cut down in the prime of youth, but rather to attain a ripe maturity outside. So we need a capture device for outdoors as well. And here I'm going back to full anti plastic crusader. When we're outside, we do have to contend with that most powerful ultraviolet ray producer, the sun. Normal plastics don't have UV inhibitors and so they are guaranteed to begin to snap, crackle, and pop as the season progresses, leaving a trail of garden waste in their wake. Here's where I go back to wood. My outdoor system consists of some sturdy wooden stakes, a sharpie marker, and a sponge sander, all kept in a bucket. When I plant outdoors, whether I am direct seeding or transplanting, I can record all the relevant information on the stake with the Sharpie. I face the written information away from the sun because those powerful UV rays will bleach even the darkest ink if the crop is in the ground for months. When I change crops in the same bed, I can just rotate the stake and write the new information on another side, keeping a record of up to four crops in sequence. If I do need to erase, just a few passes with the sanding sponge will make one of the wooden surfaces as good as new. And if I bring the stakes in for the winter and dry them, they should last for years, if not decades. Of course, any outdoor planting information should be recorded in the journal as well. And in some cases, it can be helpful to keep a separate outdoor journal. When inclement weather strikes, a paper journal is a very sad thing indeed. So you might benefit from keeping notes in one of those waterproof notebooks, then transferring these to a master journal or spreadsheet later on. One more thing about journals. I have recently discovered the multi-year journal and love this way of capturing a record of what I planted and when. In addition to be able to note seasonal and annual variations in the life of the garden, reviewing past years jottings which are right on the same page, can serve as a prompt for what to do this year. Let me be inflexible in saying that you must record things at the time of planting, otherwise, you will probably not do it. I'm lazy, you're lazy. I'm busy, you're busy. I'm distractable. You're distractible. Write it down now. Keep what you need close by, such as on a tray or in a pail and get in the habit of making those tags at the moment of planting. Because let's face it, good information is a terrible thing to waste. If you have a little additional time, maybe on a Sunday morning while contemplatively sipping the morning cup of joe, It can be helpful to take your master journal and note the progress of your plants, whether in the seed room or in the garden. It can also be a moment of joy when you relax from the duties of the garden and just take a bit of time to contemplate it. And enjoy the plants, the other creatures, the moment. This kind of big picture reflection will help you later on when reflecting on the season and preparing for the next journal in hand, you'll be able to answer questions like, did my experiment with fertilizers show any difference? Did this variety live up to the claims of the seed catalog? Did I like the taste of those carrots? Should I plant my lettuce earlier next year? I haven't really mentioned technology here except of course for the Neolithic stuff, Sharpies, plastic tags, paper journals. I do use my phone a lot to record little voice memos and will often snap a picture or make a pass with a video at different times of the season. These records can be very helpful, especially the visual ones. Still time-bound records like audio and video are required time to review. So I'm still partial to the written word which can be scanned quickly and where it's easy to jump from page to page, from day to day and month to month as it were. I find gardening to be like seeing a friend with a new haircut or style after a moment, get used to the new look. It's hard to remember what the person looked like before. The new becomes the norm. Same in the garden. After you've ripped out or mowed down a planting and have something new in its place, it can be pretty darn challenging to remember what was there prior, Not to mention in prior years. Plan on the fact that you're going to forget and write it all down. Use the three-prong system: plastic tags in the grow room or seeding area, wooden stakes outside, and some kind of a master journal to capture it all. Then as with all data, you have to read it, think about it, and use it to help you make decisions for the future of your garden. That's what winter and fireplaces and warm cups of tea are for. But you can't do that unless you have, at the very least, the palest ink. Okay, so we've just finished Garden Write. Yeah, that's an important one. It's the kind of the sense of framework for everything else. Capture stuff. Yeah, I don't want to float away. I've been needing to do this. Sorry, that applies in other parts of life too, but you can do so much in the garden and then it's forgotten. Its just vaporizes. Yep. What was that? But it I plant variety. How much did I fertilize? Why why did this come out good? Why did this go bad? Yep. Well, what should students start doing? Notebook, start writing down, just get a notebook that you like. And it's one of these Italian notebooks. So I paid a lot for, but I like it. So I'm going to use it, I'm going to hang onto it. This isn't for gardening, this for this course. But write, write stuff down, write your ideas down, go out in your garden and look around. Yeah, I just power things doing when you plant put it down. Yeah. I mean, we have some other specific I show a couple of the notebooks. This would go to pieces in the ring, so yeah. I mean, this is your Sunday morning stroll notebook, but not the actual purity down and dirty when you're planting notebook Wednesday afternoon or evening. But all the same. Gotta write it down. Yeah. Well, I'd like to do that. You can start writing your notebook anytime of year. Yeah. Why season right now? Now is the time. Yeah. Don't wait. 4. Presprout: In this lesson, we are going to learn how soaking seeds in a jar of water for some hours prior to planting can dramatically increase your germination success, which really means your garden success. This is going to be an important strategy for spring, summer, and fall planting. But first, let's understand a little more about the seed and what germination means. Imagine if you will a familiar sci-fi scene. A spaceship has made a long voyage across the vacuum of the galaxy, and to conserve valuable resources, astronauts had been induced into a dormant state. Now with some planet or object to be explored approaching, astronauts are awakened from their torpor to resume their normal functioning. That, my friends is not far off from the reality of a seed. Let's consider what a seed really is. A seed is an embryonic plant with very low metabolism, packaged with food reserves and enclosed in a hard outer coating. Just like the astronaut relies on the spaceship or space suit for protection from the harsh outer world, not able to walk and live freely until the new environment is deemed safe. So too, with the seed. In a world of harsh temperature extremes in varying amounts of water, the seed needs to be confident that it has found a hospital environment for growth. One of the ways it gains the confidence to slip out of its spacesuit, so to speak, is by being able to take up an adequate amount of water. This process called inbibation, causes the seed coat to soften and enlarge. If there is enough water in the environment to cause inbibation, then generally that's a signal that there'll be enough water for the young plant to set up shop. Also, many seeds have chemical inhibitors that need to be dissolved by water before germination can be activated. Correct temperatures, the other crucial factor in seed germination, too hot or too cool and the seed says, "Just say no to the grow." You may wonder how the seed knows this stuff. It's basically determined by chemical reactions, many of which are highly temperature sensitive. Water and correct soil temperature activate the embryo to begin to grow. And soon we see the fascinating process of the root and shoot emerging from the torn seed coat. Our plant has begun its new life in our garden. When we plant seeds in the earth, we are relying on adequate soil moisture and temperature to initiate germination. But often that's a crap shoot. For example, in my part of the country, the Pacific Northwest, in the spring water is abundant because it rains a lot, but soil temperatures are cool. In the summer, we have the opposite problem. Soil temperatures are consistently warm, but we have a seasonal drought, so no rain and soils get dry. Come fall, by the time rain returns, it's getting cool again and light levels are starting to get too low to support good plant growth. Planting seeds directly in the ground at any of these times, which means basically anytime during the year may compromise the seeds ability to sprout and vigorously grow. What's a gardener to do? Practically, there is no good way to warm up the soil, at least if you have a lot of it. And of course, we all know that we can wet the soil as much as we want. But when conditions are dry that can be pretty time and resource consuming. Luckily for us, we can control both moisture and temperature If we just soak the seeds in water indoors before we plant. Here's how it works. When we soak the seeds for a set time in water, they are literally surrounded by the stuff and they get the message that conditions are perfect for growth. At the same time, if we do it indoors, we're giving most vegetable seeds their ideal germination temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit, as you probably know from some paper towel and plastic bag experiments you did back in childhood. You don't need soil to sprout seeds, just moisture and correct temperature. When we soak seeds for a set period at room temperature, we have broken their dormancy, woke the astronaut up as it were to start the mission. And the mission from our perspective is to grow tasty food. When we talk about soaking, I keep saying "for a set amount of time." And I say that for a reason, seeds are alive and as they begin to grow, they both need oxygen to use their food and they give off carbon dioxide as a cellular waste product. If they can't get enough oxygen or can't get rid of their carbon dioxide, they will die. So yes, you can drown a seed. There's one other cool fact that I've got to share right now that makes this seed soaking tip pure gold. Once seeds germinate in their ideal temperature, which remember is about a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The young plants can actually grow in a much wider range of soil temps. That's huge because it means that we can jumpstart the germination process in the cold spring or the dry summer, and rely on the germinated seed to take it from there once planted into perhaps not ideal ground. Let's look at this little experiment I did to prove a point. Here I have two containers of pea seeds in soil which I refrigerated right after planting. In one container, I just put the dry pea seeds in the soil. And the other container I soak the PCs for six hours prior to planting. But after that, they have both been growing at the same refrigerator temperature, about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about the temperature of our soils in the spring. When you presprout seed, you take on an additional level of responsibility for them because once you have called them out of their slumber, there's no going back when the seeds have completed their soak and you've drained off the water, that is the ideal time to plant them. But for many seeds, you have a couple day window in which to plant. When you soak seeds and don't have time to plant them immediately, you'll need to treat them like seeds you are sprouting for a salad. They need to be rinsed with water twice a day and drained immediately. As you observe your soaked seeds, you may notice a small white pointed projection appearing through the seed coat. That is the radicle or baby root. The first thing to break through the seed coat. That's also your warning sign that you must plant soon or prepared a forfeit the batch. As the roots emerged, they will eventually tangle altogether, making it nearly impossible to disentangle them. It's a bad plant hair day if ever there was one. At that point, you have to compost the mess and start over. If you plant the ball of tangled seeds, there'll be just too much competition and you'll wind up thinning out most of the young plants anyway. Let me give you another pro tip for dealing with really small seeds. Big seeds like peas and beans are easy to plant after they'd been soaked. They are moist, but they don't stick together. Little seeds like carrots, for example, whole different story. While we don't really think about it in this way, water is electrically sticky. And when it touches small things, it's sticky. Power tends to hold them together. If we try to plant the carrots even after pre sprouting, they'll stick to our fingers and each other, resulting in seed all over us and a very clumpy distribution in the row. For small seeds like carrots, I find it helpful to mix the moistened seeds with very fine peat moss or coconut fiber, which then absorbs the moisture and helps the seeds break free of each other and evenly distribute through the fiber. On an unrelated note, sifted coconut fiber has a very calming and soothing effect on the personality. During my teaching days, I have seen some very rough, macho types virtually unable to stop running their hands through the coconut fiber and exclaiming "Ah this feel so good, I can't stop." Okay, enough talk. Let's review what you need to soak seeds and go through the entire process, visually naming all the equipment you need an exactly how to do it. First I'm going to open up the seed packet, pour the seeds into a mason jar, and use an elastic band to attach the seed packet to the jar. I like to keep the seed packet handy so that I remember what variety of seed I'm planting. Sometimes I'll also drop a plastic tag in with the seeds, which can follow the seeds outside later when I'm ready to plant. Then I fill the jar up with water and set a timer so I don't forget to drain them. I like to leave the jar on the kitchen counter is a failsafe. If my alarm doesn't go off or if I don't hear it when it does, I'm going to come back to the kitchen before the end of the day or before I get going in the morning. And I'll be able to see my soaking seeds and rescue them from drowning. At this point, you may be asking, "But Marc, there are so many kinds of seeds out there. How do I know what is the most effective time to soak each seed?" Soak times do vary, and a little internet research will indicate how long your particular seeds might need soaking. But a good general range is anywhere between 4 to 12 hours. That gives you a lot of leeway and gives the seeds a lot of what they need. If you're curious about the optimal soaking time for each seed, then you can also design your own experiment. And I illustrate this in this section, Experiment Like Crazy. After the soak is finished, if I can, I'll just go ahead and plant them right there and then, if I can't, I'll keep rinsing them two times a day until I can plant. If my seeds are small like those carrots I mentioned, before I plant them, I'm going to mix them with some sifted peat or cocoa fiber, which will allow me to plant them smoothly and uniformly outdoors. And then I'm going to sit back with a big smile on my face, knowing that I've just helped my garden plants overcome one of their biggest hurdles in life, getting going. And that they will reward me for it with a much faster harvest no matter what time of the year. We just finished the session on presoaking your seed, right? Get some seeds and sprouting. And I recommend peas, they are gigantic. They're easy to do, they're easy to see, they swell up. It looks dramatic. You can recognize that the seed is on its way toward sprouting. Yeah. You can hold them for a couple of days if you if you rent some after the initial soak, you don't have to plant right away. You can rinse them and twice a day just like you would for alfalfa sprouts or something if you want to add them to your salad. But this is with the goal to plant them and get ahead of the game. Yeah, right. So that's the idea. I don't don't use these for your sprouts, for your salad. Get him out in the garden and get ahead of the game either in the spring or the fall or the Summer? Yeah. They'll just help things go. I usually when I'm prescribing and as you do in mason jar, right on my kitchen counter, yaks and always in the kitchen. If I do it somewhere else, I tend to forget. And then two days later I got a nasty stinking pile of fetid water. Don't want that when seen from the bottom, you ruined it. So just keep it somewhere. You're going to encounter it. Yeah. And just say you go to work but your seeds in water come back from home from work, you drain and then plant or strain a strain for a few days and get him out of the currency. 5. Rid of Plastic: I'm Mark Wu Shea, cold bear, and I'm here to help you get rid of plastic pots forever. And one of the gardeners I know, including me, garden because we want to live right by mother nature. We may be growing our own food because we want to avoid the pesticides on commercial produce. We may be vegetable gardening because we want to avoid the pollution caused by trucking our produce across the nation. We may be tending the patch organically to nurture all the other creatures which live in and make the garden productive. Doing our part to create a complex ecological web. And then we all get our plants at the nursery and plastic pots, start our seedlings in plastic trays. And over our gardening lifespans, collect a real heap of garden related plastic. Plastics take on the order of 500 to 1000 used to grade in the environment. And even though we can recycle many kinds of plastic, a lot of people still just trash them. And as they break down, they release compounds harmful to human and animal health, as well as causing all kinds of pollution wherever they collect. How many Texas as big as that plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. Now, let me tell you about how I discovered soil blocks and then let me show you my own little modification of them. Hand form soil balls. Both of these let you garden plastic free and they promote even healthier seedlings in the plastic pots. Ok, let's back up for a minute and talk about potting soil. Potting soil is usually a mix of water draining elements. Think sand, pearlite, pumice, and water retaining elements. Think peat, moss, coconut fiber, tree bark, compost. When properly moistened and compressed the fibrous elements of the potting soil, the water retaining stuff interlock and hold together in a surprisingly durable way. Some time ago, a keen observer noticed this and realized that with a proper press like this little device I have here, a gardener can make soul blocks ad infinitum and essentially be done with plastic. Let's see what advantages these things happen. And then you can see I give it a rock and I give it a wiggle. And then I'm going to look and test, and I'm going to compress each one and see if it can take any more. You want them to be really packed to get a good soul block. And I'm going to make a space here where I'm going to put them. And you're just gonna see how charming there. So I'll pack them in sometimes even with the bottom of my hand. But I can also packet like that, give it the wiggle. And then when I'm ready, I carefully squeeze, gently release legged those little beauties. I mean, they're absolutely myself one. I just I just can't get over every time they come out, they look really amazing. You can see the temple there for the seed, right? That's going to hold onto the seed. So you do wanna go gingerly when they're wet. But as, as they dry out, they, they tend to stay very solid. And then of course, once you put a plant in there, the roots start to hold it together for you, the roots will stabilize. So that's really wonderful too. So you know, you can make, let's make one or two more. So you know, between I'm gonna dunk it and then I'm gonna make a magnum. And I'm going to show you that. And so here, you know, I can see if I, if I push the, you look at that one, hopes not enough soil in that one, it's not going to come out well, that's not enough. It has to be really tightly compressed. So if I have two that are okay into the neuron, I can just take my hand and I can just smash a whole bunch. And, and then again, do my rock and my wiggle Iraq and wiggle, if you see a little water oozes out, that's good. That means it's being compressed. And again, I can test tightly packed gonna squeeze. And there you have it. So you know, if you put these close enough together, you can pack them in very nicely and tightly. They all stack very, I mean, they don't stack, they kind of align very nicely and you can get the maximum amount in whatever size, tray or container. The people who developed soil blocks where no dummies. They realized that there needed to be a system to allow plants to grow bigger endures while waiting for conditions to be right outside. In gardening, This is often called potting up. And in the world of plastic pots, it's accomplished by just getting a bigger size pot, putting the smaller plant in it, and adding extra soil to fill in the gaps. The soil blockers accomplish the same effect by offering a number of different size forms, the smaller of which cleverly fit exactly inside the larger. So as I said, let's say you're growing a broccoli, start a cabbage, started tomato, a pepper or whatever. And you've planted it and say March and now it's April and the things big. But it just doesn't seem like the right time to put it out yet. You can keep going and you grow room with the next size. This is like the cow bell. Like you know, are the farmer is by listening for the cow bell. So I'm going to just moisten that. This one is much harder to just jam it unless you have a very deep container. So I'm going to really just pack this one with my fingers. Pull away slowly. Look at that. It is like a creation from like an Aztec pyramid of something. And again, this one even more gingerly. But let's watch how this, the genius of the system. Here's your plant that you have growing up getting too big for this one. At a certain point, it just dovetails right in there, press it together, those roots can just start to grow right out. And now the plant has this volume of soil to grow in. Any downsides to the soul block system where you do need the forms in the forms costs, money. Wouldn't it be great if there were a way you could just do it yourself without any really specialized tools right here. Like it that we're gonna make solar balls. So we're basically just going to take same thing. You just mix the same mix. You've already sort of pre-tested it with the snowball. This is kinda like got me thinking about this. It's like wait a second, if I'm making the snowball, why not plant right into the snowball? So look, I'm squeezing. I kinda roll it around in my hand too, just like a snowball. Alright, now, here's the key thing you can make the snowball look at that. There it is. That is a soil ball, right? Nothing doing. It's just, it's kinda pretty, it's beautiful. It doesn't have a flat surface. So you can do one of two things. You can kind of create a little flat by pressing down on wiggling a little bit. And it doesn't have a temple. The temple, you have to sort of form. If I press too hard on this now, I will cause it to collapse once it's been completely compacted. So you have to start to make the temple halfway through so there's an error, so no problem, we just throw it right back into the mix. Gedaliah, moral, more this like we're making pasta here we should ask some Italian music ons and accordion. Alright, so watch this now. I'm going to start just like tapping here with my middle finger, like that. See create the Dembo. And then I'm going to squeeze again once or twice. Tab, tab, tab. So it's already the, the dimpled kinda disappears but it's still there. And when you tap it again, it comes back, squeeze once or twice, tap, tap, tap, boom, that temple. Now it doesn't really have a flat surface, but if you can again, give it a little pressure down and there it is, the freestanding soil ball. Now this will not necessarily dovetail into anything else. I mean, it would be hard to make a bigger one or a smaller one. But it's big enough to support a lot of plant growth in there. There's a lot of potting soil there. And that will take a start a seedling any anywhere from four to six weeks to totally fill in. Once they dry out there, keep their shape. So potentially you could make lots in the gardening downtime of winter and have them available all summer. Second, they actually encourage the plant to have better root distribution by something called air pruning. When soil is enclosed in a plastic pot, it's eventually going to pull away slightly from that pot due to the way the soil and the plastic expanded contract in slightly different ways. That gap is where the water tends to run. And we're roots tend to circle around and around and around, leading to a plant's condition of being root bound. You plant a root bound plant in the ground without correcting the problem, and it may never develop a fully branched, healthy root system for the soil block. When a root grows to the outer layer of the block, it needs a layer of air. The route stops growing at the soil air interface, essentially being pruned. And this encourages the route to branch out behind pruning site. So in a soil block, plants roots spread through the entire block and can use all the nutrients there. Plus when you do put that soul block and the ground plants roots are right at the surface of that cube just waiting to grow outward when they come in contact with the moisture. I hope I've convinced you to give soil blocks and soil balls a try, given the overwhelming amount of plastic being generated right now. And aware that so much of it never gets recycled, even if it can be, I think we'd gardeners have got to take up the challenge to keep our hobby and industry as plastic free as possible. Okay, getting rid of plastic was their homework told me and this was a big one. Soil balls. Yeah, you're going to get in there with you just kinda get to products. So and you're going to start making those things. I mean, so easy. If you want to get those more elaborate forms, more power to those are cool. And you can pack them a little tighter, but that's money spent. Yeah. You probably has more potting soil right now. Skip down there, get it all moist. If it's got a lot of bark, look at key ingredients or if you suspect that it does and you get yourself some rubber gloves because I've gotten a little splinters. Yeah, it's kind of uncomfortable. But if it's got a lot of coconut fiber, that's us nice and songs to get in there and get it all wet, squeeze them up, make them Temple in there. Put some phenomena. Yeah, get it. Do it. No plastic. 6. Light Matters: What could be more basic to gardening life, right? It's probably the thing we think at least about because it's always there for us. If you garden only out of doors and start all your plants directly from seeds planted outside. Then you get a pass on this lesson because you've got the sun, the most complete light source there is. And that's pretty much all you need. No artificial light can match the Sun. And the Sun's light is of course free. But if you start seeds indoors, striving for healthy, strong starts to get a jump on the season. Or if you're trying to grow some micro greens during the offseason to supplement your diet. And if you're in the market for grow light but are confused by all the options. Then proceed. Oh, seeker, the light. Physicists tell us that light behaves like a wave. And in that way it joins all kind of other electromagnetic radiation in the universe. Stuff like radio waves, microwaves, X-rays, infrared, ultraviolet, gamma rays. They're all manifestations of cosmic energy that have wave-like motion in common. Life just happens to be the kind of wavy energy that we humans can sense with our vision. Waves, as we probably all know from the ocean, traveling peaks and troughs, the peak being the high part and the trough being low. The distance from one wave peak to the next, or for that matter from one trough to the next, is called the wavelength. Wavelength determined the name we give to each kind of energy and how frequently it pulses. Visible light spreads out along a rainbow spectrum of colors, all determined by wavelength. I remember the order with the acronym roy, g, biv, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. At the violet and wavelengths are the shortest, measuring up at 400 nanometers, that's billionths of a meter long. And at the red end, wavelengths are longest, coming in at 700 nanometers long. Here's where all this wavelength because affects plants. Plants have pigments are colored molecules that absorb different kinds of light energy. And the light energy that plants like most is green, right? Because plants are green. Nice try but wrong. Plants are green because they use Greenlight the least. They actually bounce back most of the green and the complete Light of the Sun. And that's what hits our eyes. Causing plants, or most plants appear green. Plants use a lot of light near both ends of the spectrum, the reds and the blues. And they don't use much green in the middle, which therefore doesn't get absorbed and winds up back in our eyes. Freaky, right? Humanized, like plants also have pigments that absorb certain kinds of light. But our eyes are best at absorbing green and yellow wavelength light. So here's the first thing to know about light for plants. The light that works for people doesn't work for plants and vice versa. If you're looking for an indoor plant light, you're pretty much going to have to skip any kind of light bulb you choose for your living room. You know, the kind of gives that nice warm feeling to a room. Have come from the sky. No, light is utterly inadequate. Fair plants need the kind of light your plant would say yummy too. A red or blue or even purple, red, blue combo. Under that color light, we would have a hard time seeing well, and things would appear to have odd colors because our eyes don't function well at those wavelengths and come to this strange way of fans who love everything. So you see, light is all about wavelengths, and plants and humans have some very different abilities to absorb light wavelengths. Another thing that I want to mention is that plants use different color light to trigger different responses. Blue light stimulates vegetative growth. So it's ideally suited to growing starts, plants that are far from flowering and fruit bearing Maturity. Later stages such as flowering and fruiting will require red light. For the most part as winter and spring growers of plants starts to get a jump on the season. And also as potential year-round micro greens producers will be concerned that our plant lights have enough Blue to support good vegetative growth. But the more well-rounded the spectrum, the better and healthier or plants will look. Let's take a minute and review a couple of different lights. And as I showed you these lights, I'm going to also show you an image of the kind of light they produce, something called their spectral output, which will help you visualize what range of wavelengths each light generates. First, I already mentioned that you could pretty much skip the light. I'll at your local big box store. Because all that light is going to be optimized for the human eye. It's mostly garbage to a plant. Even the Kelvin temperature numbers the range from 2 thousand to 7 thousand or so, which tells us that a light sources warmer, redder or cooler bluer is relative to visible light. And so not that useful for our purposes. I've grown a lot of veggies starts with full-spectrum fluorescent grow lights over the years. And although they have some drawbacks, they're cheap and a good basic starting point. You can see from their spectral output diagram that they deliver a nice solid punch in the blue zone, which means they are great for stimulating vegetative growth. But they also have some peaks in green and red leading to healthy overall growth. These stocky little fluorescent tubes called T 5's in the industry are excellent quality grow lights considered the standard among fluorescent lighting. They are work horses and we'll provide excellent quality plants for the money. Unfortunately, as with all fluorescence, they contain mercury, which makes them an eco hazard at the end of their lifespan. Even better for plants and harsher for humans. Or the garish Lee purple yet highly effective LED grow lights that are seen in large commercial IRB growing facilities. Leds stands for light emitting diode especial lighting device that can produce specifically colored light wavelengths. With LED lights, it's a kind of buffet of light color options because LED light fixtures can be made up of lots of individual diodes. And by varying the percentages of each kind of diode in the overall light fixture. One can vary the effect on the plants. Purple LED lights made up of so many red and blue individual diodes throw a home run pitch to the plants, giving them exactly the colors of light they want. But it's harsh, harsh light to the human eye. And a purple light grew Room is a strange kind of visual funhouse where what is normally Green appears black, and the details of plant leaves and stems just vanish from view. Clean, bright, complete light, often referred to as white light, such as that being produced by this LED light allows both plants to grow well and as a side benefit, allows humans to see well. Though complete LED light is nice for human eyes as it has some of the yellow-green that we prefer. It's really targeted for plants and his loaded with the blue and red wavelengths at they prefer. Please note that although I said plants reflect a lot of Greenlight back, they do use some same for the other middle colors we haven't really spoken much about like yellow and orange. So the complete LED light is not just for humans. Once they get their basic diet of red and blue satisfied plants do put the other wavelengths to productive use as well. Compare this all with the sun. It is a solid, massive mountain of spectra peaking at blue, but only sloping gently after that and making a strong finish all the way down through red. Remember though, even though the sun's light offers it, all, plants take energetic nourishment mainly from the red and blue spectra. Most gardeners I imagine are really only looking for starts and young plants not trying to grow plants indoors through their whole life cycle. So blue light will do. If you're new to gardening, I recommend you get a good-quality fluorescent light, which will be pretty reasonably priced and long lived. These lights are readily available at most planners fees and its specialty garden shops, both brick and mortar and online. Later as your other skills mature and you're looking for something a little more power efficient, long-lived, eco-friendly, and customizable. You can switch to LED lights, which will boost your growing game. Spoiler alert, better quality like costs more. It just does. The plants I grow under LEDs, for example, have vibrant color in healthy tissue development. And they taste more succulent and flavorful. And yes, the quality of light can help accomplish that. Since one of my objectives is to grow salad greens endures year-round. Investing in a high-end light made sense for me. Also, since I sell some of my micro greens to chefs, I wanted to offer them the tastiest, best looking product I can. And LEDs really deliver the goods. So when your budget can take it, start investing in LEDs. So I guess that's a wrap on this lesson. See you at the next one by Thanks. And you still hanging around. Is that because you think I made the whole lighting things seemed too simple. Well, it looks like I can't fool you. I guess I did. Listen since you're so savvy and not easily shaken off. Here are a few other things to think about when thinking about light. Among light, there's also a point of comparison based on shear photon output. It's kinda like spitting watermelon seeds. Some lights will spit out a whole bunch of photons per watt of electricity, and some not so much. Lights that are not as powerful will need to be hung very close to the plant canopy so that the leaves capture every precious photon. More powerful lights can be suspended higher, where they may have similar or even better effects. They're just better photons, speeders. Some lights have lenses which helped focus their beams, while others helplessly in helplessly and dare we say hopelessly let their light diffuse willy nilly. And don't forget that light intensities vary with the square of the distance between source and object. There. Do you feel better now with all that nerdy little information about light? Can you see why I had to simplify for the little people, the ones who didn't stick around and don't care to know the full story. Look, no one said gardening and to be simple, right? While I could never expect to exhaustively treat such a complicated subject is light in a 10-minute video lesson. I hope this segment has given you the tools to get out there and do a deeper investigation on your own. After all, that's the whole theme of the course, right? Good luck. And may roy g biv be with you. Okay. Light matters when you read it does this. We're gonna give you two articles to read. So you have to do some reading here. There's a lot of pictures though, don't worry. No, that's a really important. One of them is these things that I found looking and the Internet. And one of them is for orchid growers. So you might think I'm not growing, but it's, it's all the stuff about light is spot on. So that's what you want to look at, some really beautiful diagrams if you're into that of spectral analysis of different kinds of lights will refer, we refer to those in the chapter, but you can look more deeply at that. And then the other is a guy who's got a science background and he's written hundreds of posts. I mean, he's really a wonderful authority on the subject and of any subject of gardening. And I think he's got like 10 million views. So kind of people are going to this guy to, to look for garden in fall. And he's got a particularly good posts on light as well. So we just want to refer you to that. Do some reading is a world of information out there. Some of it's confusing. Like anything. You try to find something out. There's conflicting points of view. So these I hope, will steer you in the right direction. And then after that you can fish noon kinda go for more information. Yeah. Okay. 7. Liquid Lunch: Let's do a what if, what if you were running a marathon? Someone approaches you with some food midway through. In one hand is a butter bagel, in the other, a glucose gel pack. Which one do you take in y? Hopefully the answer is clear. You're going to take the glucose gel pack because it's simple sugar molecules are usable immediately by your body, providing a net energy boost to your R1. Whereas the fats and complex starches of the buttered bagel will require energy first to breakdown before they yield there chemical energy back to the body. So let's translate that into plant ease. Many of your garden plants are running the equivalent of a garden marathon, a multiset season long haul, dominated first by vegetative growth, then by hopefully an equally long season of harvestable product, whether they are pumping out fruit like tomatoes? Yes, that's potentially a fruit. Or bulking up there vegetative bodies like celery. Long growing plants may need some extra oomph during their run to the finish. That's where liquid fertilizers come in or liquid lunch, as I like to call them. Let's take a step back for a minute and think about how fertilizers operate. First of all, fertilizer provides nutrients and nutrients are things plants need to grow. Surprisingly, a plant gets all of its most important components from water and air for free. No fertilizing required? Yep. Last time I checked water and carbon dioxide were free. And from those, a plant builds the carbohydrates which fuel its growth, and which get combined to make structurally stable elements like Woody tissue. So those would be the most abundant elements in plant bodies, Carbon, Hydrogen, and oxygen, all free for the taking. No fertilizer required. Beyond that, plants need six more elements called macronutrients in fairly large quantities. The three most significant being nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, followed by sulfur, calcium, and magnesium. In addition, they need eight other elements call micronutrients in much smaller are miniscule quantities. And we're not going to worry about those here. Only the first three large quantity elements, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, will concern us. These may or may not be found in the soil, either in the mineral portion, a part made up of the ground rocks, or the organic portion, the part made up of the dead things that were once alive. If they're not there and the plant needs them, then guess what? The gardener needs to add them, which is called fertilizing. Another big reveal. In order for a plant to get a nutrient, it's got to be dissolved in water. That's the way a plant can grab it from the soil and send it on up to support vital functions. Let's review what it means to dissolve. When you have a minute, get two glasses of water in one drop a marble, paperclip or pebble in the other teaspoon of sugar or salt. Then stir each a bit with the spoon. I'd predicted all my garden wisdom. You will see the following happen. The marble clip or Pebble will sink to the bottom of the glass and no matter how much you stir it, it will remain a clearly visible and identifiable marble clip or pebble. The sugar or the salt will start to sink. Some will seem to disappear. Some will settle on the bottom of the glass. And with a little stirring, it may all disappear. In addition, the water will discover slightly or looks somewhat different. At this point, you're like, I paid $30 for this. No. This is just a reminder about what dissolving means so that you don't have illusions later about fertilizer. Get any fertilizer you want and do the same little experiment with another glass of water. A spoonful of the fertilizer, dropped it into the glass of water, stir a couple of times and see what happens. Does all the fertilizer either sink to the bottom or float on the top while water remains mostly clear, probably not allowed to dissolving going on there. And what might that mean for plants? It would mean that if you added this to the soil, plants could not get a hold of it right away because it is indissoluble are not soluble in water. If, on the other hand, some of the fertilizer seems to disappear as it's falling down and the water discolored slightly or a lot. You know that something has dissolved and that this fertilizer has the potential at least to be liquid lunch material provided what's dissolved as one of the needed plant nutrients, then it's conceivable at plants could be feeding on this stuff minutes, if not seconds after applying. So as the plant as running it's race, giving it soluble fertilizers are like giving a runner or glucose gel pack immediate payoff, and giving it insoluble fertilizers. I like giving it a bagel, which must first be digested, in this case by soil microbes before the nutrients become soluble and therefore usable by plants. Because you will earn the scorn of your housemates, spouse, partner, et cetera. If you go testing all your fertilizers in the supply of kitchen glassware. There is another way to decide what's soluble and what's not. There is a label on all fertilizers that tells you every package of fertilizer has printed on it. In addition to other material, the amount of the three most important plant nutrients that the plant can't get for free, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in that order. In garden lingo, it's called the NPK numbers. And those numbers stand for the percentage by weight of that product in the whole fertilizer. So find a fertilizer with numbers like 5.1.1, like a jug of Fish Fertilizer. You can tell that it's got a lot of nitrogen, that N or first number, a little phosphorus and a little potassium. If it were a 100 pound jug, it would have 5% or five pounds of nitrogen and 1% or one pound each of phosphorus and potassium. And if I had a fertilizer with numbers like 0120, that would contain lots of phosphorus. The middle letter p and Zippo of n and k, the nitrogen and potassium. Aha, gotcha. That's potassium. Remember that even though the chemical symbol is k, If the fertilizer company is responsible, they will clue you into how quickly the plants can get the nutrients by indicating how much of the nitrogen and potassium is soluble. Soluble phosphorus for some reason is described as available, but that's clear enough. I think if it's available, it's soluble. If it's soluble it's available. So now you have a little bit of a clue about what kinds of fertilizers plants can use immediately. The soluble ones or ones that dissolve. Okay, real life problem. If you apply a fertilizer that's 8% nitrogen, but only 4% is listed as soluble. What happens to the other 4%? It's there in the soil in a form that will need to be broken down later by microbes into smaller molecules, which then will be able to dissolve in water. Generally, liquid fertilizers are good candidates for liquid lunches. And some dry fertilizers can be two if they are highly soluble. Another thing we want to and need to know about fertilizers is how the various major elements support growth of various plant parts. Basically with liquid lunch fertilizers, we're mainly going to ask an either or question. Do we want the plant to produce mainly leafy parts like lettuce or cabbage? Or do we want the plant to produce flowers, fruit or seeds like tomatoes, peppers, or corn. If we want leaves, we're going to use a liquid fertilizer, the tie in nitrogen. And if we want fruit, flowers, or seeds, we're going to use a fertilizer, the tire and phosphorus P, and with some supporting potassium K. Sometimes over a plant's life span will start with the nitrogen fertilizer to encourage a plant's leafy growth in the spring, then shift to a phosphorus potassium fertilizer in the summer when it starts to bear fruit and seeds. That fish fertilizer I was talking about earlier, the 5.1.1. That's a great fertilizer for keeping lettuce growing strong during spring, summer and early fall. It's all about the leaves with lettuce. So it's got to be all about the nitrogen with the lettuce fertilizer. I also personally love bat guano, especially for indoor use, because it delivers a soluble nitrogen boost without much burden to the nodes if you get my meaning. Now how about something for peppers that are just starting to bear flowers and hint, hint and food are coming up. I use a 1.3.1 liquid fertilizer for peppers during the latter part of the season to allow them to focus on fruit production without stimulating a lot of new stem and leaf growth, which is the role of n in this fertilizer. The 1.3.1 phosphorus in the middle is the heavy hitter. And that corresponds with the plants use of it for fruit and seed production. One thing to notice is that even though all three elements may be present in a fertilizer, one will usually dominate and that will influence what the fertilizer does. Where does liquid lunch fit into an overall soil fertility program? In my gardening, I apply solid granular fertilizers directly into the soil at the beginning of the season. Something with balanced numbers like 432. But I know it may not be available to plants right away. In fact, I'm counting on it to be released slowly all season long. I supplement this background fertilizer with liquid lunch when I know conditions are not prime from microbes to digest and release nutrients. For example, in order for soil microbes to do their best digesting. Soil temperatures need to be warm. You may remember the biological reactions are driven by enzymes, and enzyme activity is temperature dependent. In the cool spring and the cooling fall, soul attempts may sink. And even if there's a lot of nitrogen in the soil, for example, bacteria and their enzymes may be on strike due to the cold and may not be liberating it into a soluble plant friendly form. That's a great time for a nitrogen heavy liquid lunch, which will ensure soluble nitrogen gets to your plants for strong leaf and stem growth. Later on, as I indicated, it may be time for a phosphorous liquid lunch. I do this for peppers in July, August, and September because I grow a lot of my peppers in five gallon pots. And that means that beyond their pot, they can't just rummage around the soil and get what they need. And that's a point I want to reiterate for all container gardeners out there. When you garden in any kind of container, which so many people do and successfully do, you have a greater responsibility to manage nutrients? The longer the plant is in a pot, the more often you will need to feed and liquid lunch on a regular schedule is just the thing for container gardening. If a plant seems to be indicating a deficiency of a particular nutrient, say yellowing leaves signaling perhaps a lack of nitrogen. I may give it an appropriate liquid lunch to see if I can correct the problem. Do be aware, however, that it can be hard to diagnose a deficiency correctly from just a single symptom. And thus the liquid lunch remedy might have no effect. Ok, you know your plant, you know your target plant part that you want to encourage and you have a fertilizer with the appropriate numbers. Now look at the package and find the mixing directions. Liquid fertilizers are generally concentrated and need to be diluted to the correct level. With fertilizers, more is not necessarily better. Mix to the recommended dosage and apply it the interval specified. Gardeners are well advised to get a soil test and, or to apply a balanced organic fertilizer at the beginning of the season or at the beginning of the crop cycle. However, there are going to be times when your plants need a boost. The liquid lunch philosophy allows us to meet the plant right where it's at and give it what it needs to succeed. And if a plant running a fine race and committed to finish, looks like it needs a quick energy glucose gel pack. Would you give it a butter bagel instead? Okay, liquid latch will not go into the bar for the new time meeting. This, this setting yourself, a garden are for you. This is getting yourself some jars or jugs of fish fertilizer, some a bag of, or box of bat guano, whatever it is, it's going to be your liquid lunch that you're going to dissolve in water and give to your plants. You gotta have this stuff in, stop kindling stock in your pantry, right? You've got to have the stuff to make that dinner easy at night. You have to have this ready to go when you plants need it. So go out and get a jug of something that's got higher nitrogen like a fish fertilizer and higher phosphorus for Bloom's and fruit set. So you're ready to go when the time in the season comes, not scrambling around. Yeah, great. Get it stuck at good. Yep. 8. Microgreens: Okay, Marx, so you're obsessed with micro greens. Are we going to have a lesson in this course about how to grow micro greens? This was my big struggle on this whole thing m and this is like anguish in the middle of the night trying to figure this out how to get such a big subject into manageable amount of course time. I felt like I had to offer something else. Could there be any way that I could offer something and just letting things percolate. It just seems like an artistic response might be the only way. Yeah, well, let's see what you can do. Let's see him comes with it. You know, there's something new on the food scene. Not entirely new, but getting more and more seen. I first heard about this sometime in the nineties. Here's your clue. It's all about the tiny. Don't make the mistake that thinking little is less. This food will take your died and redress any nutritional deficiencies. You'll be begging for more and more and more, please. Something you can do right around the house. And although it looks like it might not be to mouse, you'll be surprised at the good things is pacts, practices of food. It's really catch your back. Let me cut right to the chase. Say the name right to your face. She's a way of life that I chose. The way of growing and eating micros. Now micro stands for micro greens. Pretty silly foodie things you've ever seen come in so many cool shapes and colors. I'm surprised, a whole countries not micro greens lovers praise the farmers that grow our food and don't get me wrong if this sounds rude, but raise it a crop isn't always hard work. Don't call me lazy because I don't shirk from a garden task when I need to do it. But with micro greens, it's just not that much to it. Takes to grow is a weaker to the farmers just getting started and your labors through. And to do this task, you don't need a field. You don't need a tractor to get yourself some yield. All you need is a counter or a window sill or shelf, and a handful of seeds that you sprinkle yourself over your tiny trade potting soil. Yeah, little water has hardly any toil. Getting them son, You make your own. Plug in a grow light, you brighten up the home. Plants like it warm, but you already providing the heat. Growing things in a living space makes you feel need. No, stick a low sigh that harvest time. Just a pair of scissors trim in line after line of your teeny little arugula and lead us practically saying, taste AS you'll never forget us. You become an artist in the salad bowl. It tossing herbs and pea shoots, You're on a roll. And speaking of which, you can roll them up in a ramp, will mount them on a plate like that for 2f0 fine dining craft. The best thing of all is that this is real food, real fuel, real clean, makes your body feel real good. And how much more fricking local Can you get? Not have any ship food all around the world like from the Soviet Union. Oh, that doesn't exist anymore. Well, neither will week has nature's keeping score. We're using so much energy to grow and move our food. And it's all packaged in plastic. I mean, who's the dude who thought of this system? Know with micro greens, you get the power to distance that I mentioned. You can this winter to these greens put out the whole year through. So when Santa comes around on Christmas, you'll be able to trade out that milk and cookies for a fresh trade of micro basil. She's lucky TO either can still good between yourself and the whole neighborhood with the mightiest who you've ever seen. The nutrient dense, grow it yourself. Microbeam. That's one badass Michael Green. I feel like there was a lot of info in that wrap. Micro greens is just pure inspiration. Okay, we have to do a whole other class on that. And so we just knew wouldn't sit in a class. This is too big, it's too just kinda like plus down at the seams, right? That's what it wants to do in it. You try to confine it. So it just seemed like an artistic expression as the only way to do it yet. But you, I mean, you are going to get I do want you to look at some seed companies that micro greens. Yeah, to me it's a game changer. It's really amazing what this can do for you diet. I think what it could do for the world in terms of localizing our food supply, bringing really highly nutritious foods and everybody's diet, you're in their home. Well, you had a sneaky way of getting me hooked on memory. Ozone will just by showing up at my house with micro greens. That's true. I can't do that for everybody. Just once you start eating that I actually need these and all of my restaurant is located. A perfect addition, Yeah. As a garnish or even as a base of a food, I was wholly minds anything, the flavors there, visually pleasing quality of it and GISTIC cuteness or those little teeny thing with yeah. 9. Making a Microgreens Salad: So this is a really exciting, this is the culminating moment here of all our labors, all our indoor gardening, all our, all our seed talk, our priest sprouting, we're eating. This is the most exciting part of the whole drama. I mean, it's lovely to see that plants and to watch them grow. But man, it is good to take them down and get nourishment from them. And just, you know, I get the visual appeal of the textures and colors in a salad. It's just so enlivening. I mean, you feel like you're being nurse before it even gets into your gut. So anyway, we've got and just pulled out all the stops here for this is going to be just an astonishing salad. It's, I'm just going to be a great salad is gonna be astonishing. First thing let's, let's highlight our base is going to be these baby Romaine lettuce. Okay, this is a variety called Parris Island and this is 11 days. I think we started those 11 days ago. So that's amazing. Gotta try a pea shoots at two different stages here. I got some younger stuff here and some old stuff here. We'll trim the tips because that's always the most tender part. Beautiful, succulent Tuscon all kale. I mean, this again is this like if you've ever had a bad nasty mustard eat kale experienced as a kid or something and you turned off to kale, this is what you want to be eating now this will get you right back in the game. This is killer. One chef I brought this by, called it sick. This is red garnet amaranth. So that's just going to color pop things real nice and really small texture too. So it's kinda fit in. And then this is a kind of a, again, a scrappy little tray of sunflowers see, shoots. So we're just going to cut out some there. We're not gonna go too heavy on that, but will just take out the ones that looked good. So when I cut this, let us I don't want to cut way down at the base because then I'm going to get some dirt and that's also where all the leaves join. And so if you cut the base though, you're basically getting little units and let us, so I like to cut a little, little bit above the base so that when I dropped the leaves and they all fall apart, see there's just individualized leaves. Tragically saying after you taste it, you'll never forget us. It's true once you taste this stuff will leave an indelible impression on your palate. Alright, now we're into the pea shoots my favorite, the DDGS, the dwarf race, sugar pea shoots. I'm really only going to take the tips. That's all I want. I want to keep the particle sizes pretty uniform. The only thing that's going to be really smaller is that amaranth, Alright, let's take some of this micro amaranth right now. If you do cut it into strips like this and leave some area, they'll grow bigger. Some of them will grow bigger. So you might want to get them a little more to the true leaf stage. So if you just kinda, you're basically thinning in the row, you're creating ROS, letting that stuff grow little bigger, sick a few sunflower shoots. These guys are hard to regulate. They go really fast to the first leaf stage. And unlike some of the other stuff, you do not want them at the first leaf stage. You want them at that Kata leading or the wide paddle leaf like that. You do not want. And let's see, where's one that has some good full leaves? He could see this one's really starting to pop some new leaves there. That is gets bigger. This is still succulent and tasty. Now we're moving from the agricultural to the Killen airy. Okay. We're going to just pour some water over this, give them a quick little rents. So this is like a salad, merry-go-round, right? You put you put the salad, salad greens in the basket, you pump or you pull a lever. And that's important because of course, your salad dressing has oil in it. It's a major component, right? So oil in water repel each other. And so when you're putting your salad dressing onto wet leaves, they're going to push the dressing away and you're gonna wind up with a big pool addressing on the bottom and nothing on the leaves and take it over to you. I mean, you just do this. Yeah. And it's gonna do this. Ok. And this is Anthony citizens and method wasn't ready to be on camera today. Can't always be ready. Sometimes you just have to answer the call. When it comes here for you guys. And we put the garlic in burst to help break the garlic down. Smells good. Screams, screams of approval coming from the other, from the television audience. Who I had is I o but there I guess I don't measure anything. Yeah, no, that's it. That's what you gotta go. Totally intuitive, intuitive. Live in faster land, just seeing what, what's emerging. I mean, let the ingredients tell you what's going on, right? Because it doesn't look like you want no change something until it does want to with it with a fork or you just going to pretty good as it is right now. Let's get that mustard incorporated. Now we're going to toss some greens in there, right? And we're going to use our hands to highlight to do it just to make sure that the greens aren't too oily. Look, there's a pine needle fraud, Douglas fir needle from our backyard setting. So I just wanna make sure that those greens are gonna oh, look at that. Oh my gosh. Look at that. That is just, this is a super food superfamily. Let's see, that serves great meal. Some kinda smoked meat could be great on here. Yeah. I mean, you can, you can you can make it into a dinner. Apples or right? Fruit. I would put like girl, delicate a squash on top. Who, of course, salmon. How can we forget some examined from the Pacific Northwest that determine our first thought? Oh my God. 10. Plant Into Compost: Pretty much every gardener that I know understands compost. It's all about completing the cycle, right? You garden for something to eat, but every food item has unwanted stems, leaves, peels, roots, vines, et cetera, et cetera. And while I know there are some creative chefs and bloggers out there trying to use every edible parts of the plant at the table. The compost piles and non-discriminating eater or whatever you don't want. Plus there are other weeds, gobs and gobs of them over the course of the season, provided you haven't let them get too far in the development, you can compost those as well. Warning if weeds are beginning to show seeds, do not compost them. I put those right in my city compost pile and send them away. Many weeds seeds can mature on the plant even after the plant has been pulled. And who wants to be creating a compost pile? That's basically a weed seed bank. The point of all this is that if you are going to the trouble to fertilize your garden and create a good soil structure, you should be recapturing uneaten nutrients via the compost pile. None of this should be news so far. What I'm going to ask you to do is take advantage of your compost pile in ways that most gardeners don't. Traditional wisdom says that you make your pile trying for that crucial balance of nitrogen and carbon. The pile heats up if you get all the elements right, you turn her oxygenated somehow, perhaps a couple of times over so many months. And at the end of the process, wallah, you have finished compost for the garden. For most people, compost as a garden sideshow, located perhaps in a shady spot where it won't dry out. It's something he mostly spend time waiting on. I'm going to have you bring that pile out into the sun and make it a centerpiece of your growing program. This may involve rethinking your compost system a bit. Ideally, your compost bin is going to be designed such that it can also serve as a planter. Because when you near the top of the bin, you're going to finish it off with four to six inches of good garden soil and you're gonna plant right into that. What's the compost underneath going to do for those plants you planted on top? Well, the thing it's not going to do for them is provide nutrients when the compost pile is finished or better when the microbes are finished with it. That's when the nutrients will be liberated for plant consumption. The first and most important thing the pile will provide is bottom heat. It's the top layer of garden soil that you added that will provide whatever nutrients the plants need. That and liquid fertilizers, compost making is pretty basic stuff. But let's review for a minute. You may only need a source of carbonaceous materials. Think, leaves, wood chips, straw, things that if you left them alone would take a very long time to break down. Add to that in layers, plenty of water and some source of nitrogenous materials. Think manures or grass clippings or veggie scraps. Things that if you left them alone would get rank, GUI and nasty. Keep alternating layers of carbon and nitrogen materials, building the pile higher and higher. Something on the order of three feet high and three feet wide is ideal pile size to provide enough mass to allow proper heating of the core. I've got a bag when I'm building a compost pile freestyle here with a bunch of stockpiling materials. Usually what I have is the carbon materials like the wood chips or the leaves that's easier to get enlarge quantities. So I use a bagged fertilizer like this chicken manure. It's got a high nitrogen, higher nitrogen number four, so that it's got a lot of nitrogen in it. Basically the stinky fertilizers generally have the nitrogen. So I'm just going to sprinkle on each layer as I put down the carbon materials, I'm I'm watering and put the chicken manure down. Okay, good. I throw some down. I'm going to take from these decomposed leaves from last year. Well, they've already started to break down. Some of them are wet. Some of them are not. Little grass clippings on top to ideally you want a ratio of 30 parts carbon to one part nitrogen. So go easy on the stinky stuff and heavy on the woody brown stuff. When the pile has the correct proportions of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water, it will begin to heat up under the influence of a huge bacterial Bloom. How do you know if you did it right? You could use a special compost thermometer to measure the temperature of the pile. And a temperature of a 120 Fahrenheit or more in the center of the pile will indicate that you have done well in the Jedi compost ways. Absent deega thermometer, just open up a hole with a tool and stick your hand in. It will feel hot. If you're proud, just isn't heating up within a few days of building it. You may need to rebuild adding more water or more nitrogen. Be cautious with the nitrogen though. As with so much in life, too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing. One time in my gardening career, in my enthusiasm to build a compost heated grow bed, I overloaded the pilot nitrogen, a huge truckload of horse manure, if I remember correctly. In this case, too much nitrogen in the pile resulted in the formation of rising ammonia gas, which within a few days killed off everyone in the beautiful broccoli starts I had nurtured for weeks in my basement grow room than planted on top of my compost pile. Hey, I didn't say this is all going to be a cake walk. Learning comes at a price including garden learning. While it can be challenging to estimate the carbon-nitrogen ratio based on the materials you're adding. You can wait and see how the pile behaves before putting the top layer on and planting it up, a pilot heats up nicely and smells modestly earthy after a few days, probably has the right mix of carbon and nitrogen and thus won't nuke your veggies on top. If it smells funky or vaguely like an ammonia based household cleaning product, then you've got some rebalancing to do. It could need more oxygen and, or aeration for the funk smell or more carbon. If you've got a MR clean smell, invest in a long needled compost thermometer and you'll be like a garden doctor out there all the time monitoring the health of the patient. So that's compost 101. And let's get back to our hack of it. The key for composts immediate garden use though, is that a hot core generates waste heat rising to the top. If you put a layer of soil on top of an active pile, it's like that soil just went to an Icelandic steam heated spawn. It can be a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit on top of the pile, even in the cold of winter. Here's a trick I love to do, just coming out of winter when daylight begins to strengthen and lengthen. If I'd been able to stockpile of carbon source like old leaves. And it's easy to add nitrogen in the form of Bagged chicken manure, bloodmeal, et cetera. Build your pile up all at once. Let it heat up a bit to make sure the composition is correct. Then add that final layer of soil on top and plant what you like. Whatever you plant up there's going to come racing out of the gate just like it's Mid Summer. I love to get into first crop of let us write on top of a newly made spring compost pile that let us search. That wave of heat washes up right on the beach of your winter starve palette. Same goes for fall. You get your pile made in late summer than plant you're starts, right as fall begins, the bottom heat will stimulate the plants to grow even though temperatures are cooling at night. If you plan a short-term crop on top like lettuce, green onions, radishes, baby greens, et cetera. You'll be able to get a harvest, then turner aerate your pile right on schedule. Just like your neighbor who's over there composting in the shady corner of his or her garden with nothing to show for it. I might add, if you decide to plan a longer-term crops like tomatoes, squash or sweet potatoes, that's okay too. So this is just right out of the compost file. We have a few more in here. Eight or nine sweeper Janice, including this law Ankur, I mean, now that framed and put it on my wall, I find that the veggie starts or the direct seeded seedlings benefit from the extra heat on top. And then after the first and hottest wave of bacterial decomposition, the plant's roots can grow down into the pile to get some of the just liberated nutrients. In this scenario, the goal is not to make an spread compost is fastest possible, is to include the compost pile in the garden lineup, planting on top of it to take advantage of its powers of heat generation and moisture retention. Then after your target crop is through, you returned to treating it like an ordinary compost pile, turning it, help it break down further and then finally spreading it on other parts of the garden when ready. Lately I've also become a fan of the compost windrow, basically a linear pile that masquerades as just another one of your beds. So I'm gonna make a what I call the weedy windrow, which is an example of one of these compost bins that I make. This one is not designed to be giant. Some of this stuff's perennial. Got some Anna's HIS up here. So it's gonna come back either a little bit this year and next year. And then you can see I've got some prickly pear cactus here. It's actually thoughtless prickly pear. Little bit of arugula, just, it's kind of a mishmash bed and it's not too well defined. So just going to add it, that's just going to become the base layer. Okay? More mass to supply the weeds. That's what, uh, we when rho is what are you expecting something fancier. Just a bunch of weeds. They've already started to decompose and hear a little bit, you know, you're getting some of the dirt. It's going to get a trial to move this along a little bit. There's a zucchini leaf, right? Just, and just chop and stuff up. Bunch of Ps. I can see lot of Kikwete. We get a lot of chick weed. That is basically the weedy windrow. I mean, you could have just been collecting it bit by bit or like I said, just saving things in some containers. Now it's time to throw down some old used soil and we're going to plant peas in here. Ddgs, dwarf gray sugar, my faves. And he's gonna do two things. They are going to feed us, feed the restaurant patrons, wonderful pee sheets. And everything we don't need is going to just be considered cover crop, adding nitrogen to the soil. So now I'm just going to either, I can do a couple of different things. If I feel like I'm, it needed to be a nice, tidy row farmer. I can make little rows in this soil. In a way it's kind of good that it's dry because it will hold the rope. And I'm just gonna put these bad boys down to fit. Fix exec peas. Don't mind the competition. And if we're going to take them as PCs were taken with small. So who cares? We're going into winter, it's October third today. So this is going to be perfect. They're going to they'll never really get to the stage where they're going to be really significantly competing with each other just because they're, they're going to slow down, temperatures are going down and light levels are going down. So this is going to be almost like getting pea shoots to the refrigerator stage and then just stopping and the nature is your refrigerator until April or something, then this will be a nice thick beds with the chefs can harvest off of during the, during the early winter. And then I can take some more. This dry potting soil is kind of sprinkle it on top to cover. I'm going to come back and water it. And that is a wrap. Basically. Here the pile may not be big enough or nutrient balanced enough to generate much bottom heat. But the decomposing weeds, the ones without seeds we remember, and the soil still clinging to their roots form a nice matrix for water retention and help the crop up top in that fashion. In this manner, I don't have to waste precious garden space on a designated compost pile. It turns into a planted garden bed as soon as it is made? No, maybe it's just that I'm an impatient gardener. I love the concept of cycling all the gardens nutrients, but I don't always want to wait for the finished product by planting right into the compost, creating an essence, a raised bed on top of a compost pile. I get to use the characteristics of compost, heat generation and moisture retention as assets from my target crop. So let's get the compost pile out of the shadows. Let's be compost builders in the spring and fall will take advantage of the non nutritive properties of compost. It's heat and moisture. And then later on will benefit from that black crumbly goal that all Garden is crave plant right into your compost and get to compost benefits for the price of one pile plant into compost for their homework. This one is a little more complicated. I think we're going to do a little demo on this, but I'm going to ask you to go scour the waste stream, so to speak, and get a styrofoam cooler. It shouldn't be that hard to find somebody, either your own contacts or somebody else who can give you a free styrofoam cooler or too. Because then you can run a side-by-side experiment. In one, we're going to build a small compost pile just with coffee grounds and newspaper and a little bit upon us to add some aeration. And then we're going to top that with soil like video in the video. And the reason why we're doing it in a Styrofoam Cooler is a small compost pile will generate heat, but not a lot. So we need to conserve all the heat that it does generate to actually see a difference. And the other one, you'll just use potting soil. And the same stuff you're topping this one with. The only difference really will be the amount of heat being generated. And then you'll get yourself some, let us transplants or peas that you're growing and whatever, and just plant them side-by-side treated equally given the same amount of sunlight and watch the difference from the heat. 11. Continuous Cover Crop Salad: Cover crops are colors on the sustainable gardeners palette. Tools in the kit, staples in the pantry. But very infrequently, are they actual greens in the salad bowl? Usually it's not cool to eat your cover crops because they're meant for the soil. In this lesson, I'll explain my cover cropping is a must do practice for soul maintenance and repair. But also why it's going to become the source of your new favorite policies and salad, green, dwarf, gray sugar peas, hereafter, simply referred to as DDGS, cover crops are so named because they traditionally cover or protect the soil during the wet and cold of winter. The cover crop plants take up soil nutrients and hold them in their tissues above-ground, safe from the rain and snow melt, which are diversely set on dissolving those nutrients and sending them deep, deep down into the ground. We're plants, roots can't go. Okay, but there's another word besides cover that explains a lot of cover cropping practice. Nitrogen. Nitrogen is the nutrient that plants need and greatest quantity, but that they can't freely get from the air or the water as they can with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. This is the equivalent of a great cosmic joke because our atmosphere is almost 80% nitrogen. That's right. You and I are basically breathing, walking around in and generally conducting life in a bath of gaseous nitrogen. So when we say plants as surrounded by this stuff, it can't get a bit of it. Doesn't that seem like some serious World Design irony. Be that as it may, clearly, plants are growing well despite their inability to get atmospheric nitrogen. And that's mostly because certain plants have developed a clever workaround with a set of bacteria called the nitrogen fixers. Nitrogen fixing, I didn't know was broken by fixing here we mean being able to take atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a more available form called ammonia, which other bacteria then convert to a plant friendly form called nitrate. Once these plants are able to obtain that nitrogen from the bacteria, they're decomposing bodies, Give it up for other plants to use. There are different types of these nitrogen-fixing bacteria and they have partnered up with different types of plants. But all of them seemed to make the same kind of agreement. Bacteria says to plant, I'll give you Nitrogen if you give me sugar. Plant says Cool. I made sugar, have a lot of extra and man, do I need that nitrogen? The bacteria take up residence in the roots of their host plants in Curious little swellings called nodules. Nodules are a little bit gross and unnerving to look out for the first time that you would definitely not want to see them developing on a part of your body. When we grow a nitrogen fixing cover crop like DG ESPs, our intention is to till or chopped the whole crop back into the soil so that the precious nitrogen they accumulate both in the above-ground tissues and in the below-ground nodules will then become available to feed your crops. This nitrogen accumulating property is why certain cover crops like peas are also called green manures. They give nutrients back to the soil like animal manure, except they're not brown and sneaky like manure. They're green and plenty. A kinda putting money back into the bank account. So there'll be something there for our withdrawal later. Theoretically cover crops are the crops you grow not to harvest, but to give back to the soil. Hang onto that idea for a minute about not harvesting because I'm going to invite you to break that rule and still give back to the soil in a bit. But for now, let's recap. Fact, nitrogen is one of the most important plant nutrients and it's literally all around us in the air. One little problem. Plants can't use it in its atmospheric form. No worries. Certain plants partnered up with bacteria which somehow do know the trick to breaking the nitrogen into a form plants can use. The catch. Bacteria aren't doing this out of charity. They trade sugars the plant made for the ammonium and nitrates they made. The takeaway. Gardeners can take advantage of all of this by planting these nitrogen accumulating crops and hacking or telling him back into the soil instead of harvesting them. And finally, as gardeners, we're taught to plant cover crops in winter, the gardening off-season to protect ourselves and nutrients from rainy dissolution and to accumulate that oh, so valuable airy nitrogen. I'm here to tell you that you should definitely put cover crops and you're planting plan. But once you start switching over to DSPs, you're going to be eating your winter cover crops as salad greens too. Also, because DDGS grows so fast during the mating season, you're going to be able to incorporate it into your year round gardening sequence. Always boosting soil nitrogen and along the way, and always having some delicious pea shoots for salad. So let's take a look at this amazing variety. Vgs is the sweetest P shoot that I know of on the market. And so that's the one I recommend by name. You actually Kenny, any kind of garden P at the shoot stage. But most all the others I've tried our stringy and are flat tasting. I've taken a DSP shoot so much that I now build salads entirely around them. No, let us as the base, just pea shoots and then all the other salad goodies on top of that. Let's look at how DDGS can fit into a sequential planting scheme in any sized garden. Here you see a couple of weeks worth of DDGS plantings. To achieve this regularity. I pre sprout seed every Friday night, then plant on Saturday. Before planting i dust with an earthy smelling black powder called inoculant. Inoculant is loaded with dormant nitrogen fixing bacteria that will colonize the roots of the P As soon as it germinates. The bacteria that associate with peas are called rhizobia mm, which is basically a combination of two Greek words meaning root life, the bacteria or plants specific. But garden centers usually sell a general inoculant that can treat any kind of peas beans and follow beans. Stock up on this at the beginning of the season. And remember you don't need much powder per batch, just a dusting and make sure that the seeds are still a bit moist. So the inoculant sticks also keep the inoculum powders somewhere dark and at room temperature when not in use. Inoculating the piece doesn't make them taste any different or doesn't really speed up their growth at the early stage. But it doesn't show that those nitrogen-fixing bacteria get to the roots right away and start nodules eating and converting that atmospheric nitrogen. So it's Friday night and I'm partying like a garden rock star by silky my d GSP seeds for Saturday planting. Now it's your turn to try to music that I gotta throw my, Please get from all around the voice. Here we go again, starting from tomorrow. Yeah. Weaving irregular planting like that into my weekly schedule helps me be always in the green when it comes to salad making. It's just easier to remember if I do the same day every week. Planting is super easy. Just throw them down in a block and cover lightly with soil. If Rose make you feel good, you can plant that way too. But the idea is that you're going to harvest these things real small so they don't need a lot of room. Hey, while you're at it, make a tag. Because as you'll remember from another lesson, that pale est, ink is better than the most retentive memory. With temperatures consistently in the 70 to 80 degree range, DG ESPs will be ready for harvest as shoots in about ten days. And you can push that to seven days when you grow them with a little longer light schedule indoors. After a little bit of experience, you should be able to tell how much you can eat each week and then that will inform how much seed you need to soak. One thing I really like about DDGS is that it's very forgiving. You can harvest it when it's young and stout or wait until it's a little more mature in wispy. If you overplan or if plantings ketchup with one another, you haven't lost anything because it's just adding a nitrogen green manure into the soil. Just chop, chop into the soil and let it rot for the next crop. Or even better cutoff all the top growth, use that somewhere else as a mulch. Then you have soil ready for next planting with nodules underneath, ready to decompose and start releasing nitrogen to the following crop. And yes, you can actually that dG ESPs mature to full size if you like. They are pretty purple flowers and their pods are tasty so long as eat them very small. Remember they were selected for their tender shoots, not for their edible pods that are totally shine in that department. Even if you harvest and eat every piece shoot you plan. You're still leaving those nitrogen laden nodules in the earth to decompose and ad free nitrogen, you'd normally have to pay for his Fertilizer. It's a sustainability in culinary no brainer. When winter comes, you have two choices to keep up your supply of peas. Either plant a big block just before cold weather hits and they will grow to shoot size and then kinda stay put as the outdoors becomes your salad refrigerator. Or switch to a micro greens style operation and plant the pot or trait each week indoors so that you always have tender greens to harvest for your salad. As with other seeds, I always recommend buying the biggest quantity of seed you can store and use within a few months. The larger the quantity, the less you pay per pound. So if you can convince a few of your friends to become DDGS nuts like you, you'll all benefit by buying in bulk, invested in a couple of large food grade containers with good lids because PC is big and takes up lots of space. After you develop your DDGS habit, a few things are going to happen to you that I'm going to warn you about now. Your health is going to improve. Pea shoots are loaded with vitamins and minerals. You're going to crave them as part of your regular diet. Nothing wrong with that, right? You're going to become a salad snob and look down on non P shoot salads. What's this? Let us call a salad. And you're now going to be a rule-breaking cover cropper who feasts off the garden in every season, knowing that while you're grazing at the tops of your DG ESPs, those pinkish, gross but still cool nodules below are loaded with nitrogen fixing bacteria. Hard at work to replenish your garden soil. And it wants you to grow in one week a whole tray patients. So those were just pretty sprouted and then thrown in there. And really it takes about three or four days to get them to even come up. And so that's you don't have to have money livestream that time. And then only in the last three days, unrelated, say green up beautifully or outside with some solder in a sunny window. And of course you can do this outside as well. Just depends on the time of the year and how much light there is no cold it is course do you might've snow or wherever you are, but you can do it inside. This is what you can generate in one week. And that's great salad. I use that just as the base for my salads at home. No, let us sometimes just a straight P shoot selling, cutoff the tops and just dig in. So that's the kinda stuff you can grow in just one week time, really? Just three days under lights? Yeah. Pretty minimal investment? Yeah. Yeah. I think this was my favorite lesson, actually. Yeah. Yeah. Use totally sold me on this whole Yeah. It's hard to get a different yes, there's lot of great stuff. Absolutely. So continuous cover crop, salad. 12. Experiment Like Crazy: In this segment, we're going right to the fiery hot core of my raison d'etre, my motivation and my hope for this course, exploring the great unknown via gardening. Ladies and gentlemen, there's about a million gardening books out there and probably a gazillion gardening videos. And when this course is launched, there will be a gazillion in one. They all offer advice, methods, techniques for growing a garden, and it's all a great place to start. In fact, you could become quite a fine gardener by following someone else's advice point for point. But you'll never be a great gardener, the best gardener you can be by just clinging to receive truth. You have to go out there into the world of nature, of plants, of insects, of birds, of microbes, of soil, of weather, and engaging directly with your own eyeballs, with your bare naked intellect and your own particular questions and interests. To be a great gardener, to be a creative gardener, to be a no limits Gardner, you'd have to make some discoveries of your own. And although it may come as a surprise given how long humans have been growing things, there are still so many things to be discovered about gardening. How do you do this? How do you actually rest from mother nature, one or more of her precious secrets that she has until now slyly kept from all the rest of humanity. I'm going to recommend something called the scientific method. It represents one of the most solid and reliable ways to actually learn something about the world that humans have ever stumbled upon. Now you've been working hard during this course and paying great attention. So I'm going to give you a break from the lecture style and run a movie about experimenting scientifically in the garden. So sit back and enjoy. The gardener learns. Okay. Okay. So there, do you see how easy that is when you do garden experiments, your questions are front and center. So that's part of the reason you might be able to discover something new. No one has ever approached gardening exactly the way you have. No one has exactly the same tastes, are the same goals as you do. I hope you'll try this experimental approach to gardening now. And again, it's useful for anything you're curious about, such as knowing the best amount of fertilizer to use for a particular plant. Discovering if a pest fighting product really works. Or seeing whether to mulch or not to mulch. Just decide what you want to learn. Make sure you keep a do nothing special control. And when you vary or change something, which is the treatment, try to keep everything else the same and don't forget to document, document, document. Garden science can be hard brain work, but thankfully, it doesn't usually require much special or expensive equipment. The best garden science tools are a curious mind and a disciplined approach to the question at hand. You've got both of those. So you've got this garden scientist. Okay, experiment like crazy. Yeah, so this is, this is kind of the important conclusion to the whole thing. Yeah. Right. So you're gonna get a worksheet as part of the supplemental materials. And after that little film saw the silent movie that kinda demonstrated an experiment going on. And what are some of the elements of it? There's has to be some kind of a control and do nothing area. There has to be an attempt to keep all the other conditions the same except for the one thing you're testing, whether that be fertilizer, temperature and light or whatever it is you're testing. But you know the world is your oyster, just like what do you want to know? And the sheet will help you go through and just think through how to design this experiment. So, you know, I think that this is like this is the basis for what you're going to be doing. This is how you're going to grow as a gardener. And this is, this is where it all opens up a site. It's not mark show anymore. It's your show. What are you doing? What do you want to know? What are you interested in? Yeah, awesome. 13. Conclusion: And so they're, now we've come to the end of this course. You have the tools you need to go forward and learn to let your garden into your teacher and define things out that perhaps no other gardener, perhaps no other human has ever learned. And the reason to do this is not some kind of domination or mastery over the veggies. Oh contrary. It's to have a deeper appreciation of what's really true about our garden plants. How they actually work and behave, and how a myriad of other elements, living and non living, influenced them and respond to them. It's about a more complex and more nuanced and a more refined appreciation of our gardens and what's in them. In the end, there are lots of reasons and motivations for getting better at Garden. Of course, I love the fresh food in the feeling of self-sufficiency it promotes. And I love the satisfaction of knowing that by methods are proven enough to pretty much guarantee success. But deeper than even these satisfactions is my love of learning about nature through a garden where the only limit is my curiosity. I really do believe that you will learn all kinds of things that I would never have dreamed about learning. That no garden teacher or blogger or you tuber even thought about talking about. I really do believe that the things they didn't teach you in Garden School are the things you must discover for yourself. And that is really the best part of it all. Thanks for being a very important part of this course. Although I had to imagine you as I wrote in film the course, I hope that now that it's in circulation, I'll be able to hear from you. I look forward to your feedback because I know you're going to get out there and start experimenting and learning like crazy. Let's make that next video together. Mark flew Shea Colbert and on what they didn't teach you about gardening in that course. What They didn't teach you in garden school.