Wow it's been a long time since I wrote a blog! This is good, because now I can show major changes in both my AP system and garden, that may be lost if I were posting every day.
I changed out the growing media in my AP grow bed due to the gravel containing limestone which was breaking down in the water and keeping the water too Alkaline (high PH). Not good for plant growth... I threw down the money and bought Hydroton, which are expanded clay pellets. These are PH neutral and used by the Pros.
Before putting it into the grow bed I had to wash it.
Since I didn't want to have to do the whole cycling process again to re-establish the bacteria in my system, I seeded it with milk jugs full of the old gravel so there would be an established colony of bacteria which could spread through the clay pellets.
I planted lettuce and arugula after it had re-cycled (2 weeks). 2 days later I had sprouts!
The levels in my AP system are much better now without the limestone and I am hoping for better success this time!
The garden continues to flourish!
Garlic is within 1 month of harvesting! My tomato plants are doubling in size, and my peas are out of control and are flowering and beginning to produce delicious snap peas.
I planted Scarlet runner beans last week and they have sprouted over the last couple of days.
I have been having trouble with greens... I think part of the problem is that ants have been chopping them down.... After asking around, my good friend Duane (who is a good southern boy from North Carolina) told me that instant grits take care of ants. The ants eat them and the grits expand in their stomach and they explode. Sounds horrific, but its A LOT better than throwing chemicals on the garden. Duane said the only use for instant grits is precisely this, as "no respectable southern person would eat them".
I continue to grow sunflower sprouts with great success! I get harvests every few days, and a tray takes about 5-6 days to grow. The trick I found, is to soak the unshelled seeds for 24 hrs before planting.
I will try to keep this updated a bit more frequently now that "things" are happening at "1/2 Ash Farms"!