Late Crop of peppers and grapes came in this week.


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in Blooming/Producing | Posted on 25-10-2011

Late Crop of peppers and grapes came in this week, Alex was willing to eat them right off the plant, but I haven’t tried yet.  I expect they will be part of dinner this week.


More Watermelons


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in Blooming/Producing | Posted on 31-07-2011

Here is another one, we suffered from late planting this year.

2011 Planting updates


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in New Plants | Posted on 20-02-2011

So I’ve updated the initial planting this year to 264 new plants from seed.  I’m spending my free time trying to get everything stocked up for the warmer weather.

Currently from seed: (each row is 6 plants)

Row    Type
1    Papya
2    Papya
3    Papya
4    Brussel Sprouts
5    Sweet Banana Peppers
6    Sweet Banana Peppers
7    Spinach
8    Lettuce
9    Kale
10    Kale
11    Spinach
12    Sweet Mix Peppers
13    Pimieno
14    Pimieno
15    CA Wonder Peppers
16    CA Wonder Peppers
17    Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers
18    Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers
19    4689 Peppers
20    4689 Peppers
21    4689 Peppers
22    Yellow Pear Tomatoes
23    Yellow Pear Tomatoes
24    Yellow Pear Tomatoes
25    Basil
26    Cilantro
27    Spaghetti Squash
28    Giant Watermelon
29    Sweet Watermelon
30    Sweet Watermelon
31    Super Heavyweight Hybrid pepper
32    Super Heavyweight Hybrid pepper
33    Giant Marconi Hybrid pepper
34    Giant Marconi Hybrid pepper
35    Chinese Giant pepper
36    Chinese Giant pepper
37    California Wonder PS pepper
38    California Wonder PS pepper
39    Giant Aconcagua pepper
40    Giant Aconcagua pepper
41    Bounty Hybrid pepper
42    Bounty Hybrid pepper
43    Virginia Sweets heirloom tomato
44    Virginia Sweets heirloom tomato

Fruits and Vegatables best bang for the buck


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in Harvest | Posted on 12-02-2011

Productive Produce

Posted by Eric Hess

02/10/2011 10:30 AM
Cabbage, watermelon, and greens end up on top.

Cabbage-migeeYesterday, Jen posted on getting the most bang for your buck in the produce section. By comparing the price-per-cup of various fruits and vegetables to their ANDI score, she arrived at a rough ranking of the best, cheapest sources to get your vitamins.

(Note: neither of us is totally sold on the ANDI scoring method, but it at least provides some food for thought—pardon my pun.)

She didn’t have time to track down the whole list, but I did.

Here are veggies:

Veggies ranked

And here are fruit:

Fruits ranked

(Note: These figures were arrived at by dividing each item’s ANDI score by the average price per pound provided by the USDA–found here in Jen’s post.)

Jen already highlighted the smart choices: cabbage, leafy greens, carrots, and cauliflower for veggies, and watermelon, plums, oranges, and apples for fruit.

What shouldn’t you waste your money on? I wasn’t surprised to see corn on the bottom—fresh corn is often expensive and it’s starch-laden interior lacks much in the way of nutrients. Green beans, winter squash, and artichokes all ended up at the bottom, too. Potatoes didn’t rank as badly as I expected, but that’s just because they’re so darn cheap.

For fruit, grapes came in dead last—not shocking since they’re largely water. The most expensive fruit, raspberries, came in third, and despite being cheap nectarines landed in fifth.

For the most part, it’s all pretty intuitive. The things Mom always tried to get us to eat—like greens and brussels sprouts—look pretty good. But let’s be honest: if you’re fretting the choice between broccoli and okra—and not between Cap’n Crunch and SpaghettiO’s—you’re already way ahead of the curve.

Cabbage photo by Sightline staffer Migee Han.

New Supply Order today….


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in New Plants | Posted on 09-02-2011

While looking for local (inside Florida) vendors, stumbled upon website.

These guys focus on Tomato, Peppers, and Eggplants.   I loaded up on some nice looking options for peppers for this season’s growing!  I’m excited, both for some tasty peppers, as well as some fantastic pictures to come..

#9329A Chinese    Large Quantity 9329A –         1       $ 9.25       $ 9.25
Giant             Chinese Giant
1/16 Ounce $9.25
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
#9146A Giant      Large Quantity 9146A –         1       $ 5.25       $ 5.25
Aconcagua         Giant Aconcagua
1/32 Ounce $5.25
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
#9266A Super      Large Quantity 9266A –         1      $ 11.00      $ 11.00
Heavyweight       Super Heavyweight Hybrid
Hybrid            1/32 Ounce $11.00
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
#9037A Giant      Large Quantity 9037A –         1       $ 9.95       $ 9.95
Marconi Hybrid    Giant Marconi Hybrid
1/32 Ounce $9.95
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
#9254A            Large Quantity 9254A –         1       $ 8.70       $ 8.70
California        California Wonder PS
Wonder PS         1/16 Ounce $8.70
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
#9366A Bounty     Large Quantity 9366A –         1      $ 11.00      $ 11.00
Hybrid            Bounty Hybrid
1/32 Ounce $11.00

Top Ten Most Nutritious Vegetables and How to Grow Them in Your Garden


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in News and Reports | Posted on 08-02-2011

Top Ten Most Nutritious Vegetables and How to Grow Them in Your Garden

by Colleen Vanderlinden on 02. 8.11

containerkitchengarden.jpgPhoto Credit: katmere via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

A perfectly ripe, juicy tomato, still warm from the sun. Sweet carrots, pulled from the garden minutes (or even seconds!) before they’re eaten. Growing your own vegetables is one of those activities that balances practicality and indulgence. In addition to the convenience of having the fixings for a salad or light supper right outside your door (or on your windowsill), when you grow your own vegetables, you’re getting the most nutritional bang for your buck as well. Vegetables start losing nutrients as soon as they’re harvested, and quality diminishes as sugars are turned into starches. For the tastiest veggies with the best nutrition, try growing a few of these nutrient-dense foods in your own garden. And don’t let the lack of a yard stop you – all of them can be grown in containers as well.

Grow These Good-for-You Veggies

broccpeasbeans.jpgPhoto Credits (left to right): Wanko, Qfamily, George Scholz, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is high in calcium, iron, and magnesium, as well as Vitamin A, B6, and C. In fact, one cup of raw broccoli florets provides 130% of your daily Vitamin C requirement.

  • How to Grow Broccoli
  • Grow Broccoli in Containers: One broccoli plant per pot, pots should be 12 to 16 inches deep.
  • What to Watch Out For: Cabbage worm. If you start seeing pretty white butterflies fluttering around your broccoli, you’re guaranteed to start seeing little green worms all over your broccoli plants. To avoid this, cover your broccoli plants with floating row cover or lightweight bed sheets. If you start seeing cabbage worms, simply pick them off by hand.

2. Peas

There is nothing like peas grown right in your own garden – the tender sweetness of a snap pea just plucked from the vine is unlike anything you can buy in at a store. Aside from being absolutely delicious, peas are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Peas
  • Grow Peas in Containers: Sow peas approximately 2 inches apart in a pot that is at least 10 inches deep. Provide support for peas to climb up.
  • What to Watch Out For: Hot weather. Once the weather turns hot, pea production will pretty much shut down. Grow peas in early spring and late summer/autumn, or any time of year when temperatures are consistently between 40 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Beans (especially navy beans, great northern beans, kidney beans)

While snap beans (green beans/wax beans) are a great addition to any garden, it’s the beans we grow as dried beans that are real nutritional powerhouses. Dry beans, in general, are high in iron, fiber, manganese, and phosphorous.

  • How to Grow Beans
  • Grow Beans in Containers: Bush beans are your best option for growing in containers. Plant beans four inches apart in a container that is at least 12 inches deep.
  • What to Watch Out For: Harvest at the right time. Harvest dry beans when the pods have completely dried on the vine. The pods should be light brown, and you should be able to feel the hard beans inside. Shell the beans, and let them sit out a few days to ensure that they’re completely dry before storing them in jars in a cool, dark, dry place.

brusselstompepper.jpgPhoto Credits (left to right): norwichnuts, photon, S. Diddy, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

4. Brussels Sprouts

The bane of many a childhood, Brussels sprouts get a bad wrap mostly due to overcooking. When prepared right, Brussels sprouts are sweet, tender, and delicious. They also provide tons of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and riboflavin, as well as high levels of Vitamins A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
  • Grow Brussels Sprouts in Containers: Grow one plant per 16-inch deep container.
  • What to Watch Out For: Cabbage worms (see “Broccoli, above.)

5. Tomatoes

Fresh, homegrown tomatoes are the reason many gardeners get into vegetable gardening in the first place. There’s just nothing that compares to eating a perfectly ripe tomato, still warm from the sun. Tomatoes are also incredibly good for us, packing plenty of fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and Vitamin A, B6, and C. They’re also a great source of the antioxidant lycopene.

  • How to Grow Tomatoes
  • Grow Tomatoes in Containers: Container sizes will vary depending on the variety you’re growing. If you’re growing an indeterminate variety, your container will need to be at least 18 inches deep. For determinate varieties, 12 inches is a good depth, and for dwarf or “patio” type tomatoes, 8 inches is perfect. One tomato plant per pot.
  • What to Watch Out For: Tomato horn worm can be a problem in many areas – these large caterpillars should be removed by hand whenever you see them. Also watch out for signs of blight, which is a real problem in many parts of the U.S.

6. Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are high in potassium, riboflavin, and Vitamins A, B6, and C – in fact, one cup of red bell pepper packs an amazing 317% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C and 93% of the recommended Vitamin A.

beetsamaranthcarrots.jpgPhoto Credits (left to right): La Grande Farmer’s Market, SummerTomato, color line, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

7. Beets

Beets are a great “two-fer” crop – you can harvest the beet roots, of course, but you can also harvest and eat the greens. Young beet greens are delicious when added raw to a salad, and larger beet greens can be sauteed as a quick side dish or used the way you’d use other greens such as spinach. Beet roots are very high in iron, potassium, and vitamin C. Beet greens are even better, as they are high in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and Vitamins A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Beets
  • Grow Beets in Containers: Plant beet seeds three inches apart in a container that is twelve inches deep. Because each beet seed is actually a cluster of seeds, be sure to thin the seedlings to one per cluster. Thinnings can be added to salads or sandwiches.
  • What to Watch Out For: Knowing when to harvest. Beet roots are at their best when they are harvested small – between one and two inches across. At this size, they are sweet and tender. Larger beets tend to be kind of woody and less flavorful.

8. Leaf Amaranth

Leaf amaranth is a less-common vegetable that is well worth a try in your own garden. The leaves have a sweet and slightly tangy flavor that works well in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and soups to simply steaming it all by itself. As a bonus, leaf amaranth is one of the few heat-tolerant greens. It won’t bolt in the heat of summer the way spinach and kale are prone to. Nutritionally, leaf amaranth is very high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, and Vitamins A, B6, and C. Everyone should be growing this!

  • How to Grow Leaf Amaranth
  • Growing Leaf Amaranth in Containers: Scatter the tiny seeds over the soil’s surface in a pot that is at least 8 inches deep. Harvest the leaves when they are two to four inches tall. You will be able to get at least two or three harvest before you’ll have to sow more seeds.
  • What to Watch Out For: Leaf amaranth is fairly easy to grow, and relatively problem-free. Rarely, leaf miners can become a problem.

9. Carrots

Carrots are at their sweetest, crunchiest best when freshly harvested from the garden. These icons of healthy eating deserve their “good-for-you” rep – they’re very high in fiber, manganese, niacin, potassium, and Vitamins A, B6, and C. Their only drawback is that they do tend to be high in sugar, so if you’re watching your carb intake, you’ll want to limit the amount of carrots you eat.

  • How to Grow Carrots
  • Grow Carrots in Containers: Sow carrot seeds two to three inches apart in a pot that is at least twelve inches deep. Look for shorter varieties, such as ‘Thumbelina,’ or ‘Danver’s Half Long.’
  • What to Watch Out For: Harvesting at the perfect size. Carrots are at their tastiest when harvested small. Leaving them in the ground too long can result in overly large, woody carrots. You’ll also want to make sure to keep your carrots evenly moist, as letting the soil dry out too often can also result in somewhat bitter, fibrous carrots.

leafygreensall.jpgPhoto Credits (left to right): Oakley Originals, djprybyl, djprybyl, via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

10. Leafy Greens

OK, I cheated here. I can’t recommend just ONE leafy green, because they are all incredibly good for us, as well as delicious — kale, collards, spinach, turnip or dandelion greens — how can you possibly choose just one? In general, the “green leafies” contain high amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, and Vitamins A, B6, and C.

  • How to Grow Kale and Other Leafy Greens
  • Grow Greens in Containers: Grow one kale or collard plant per ten inch deep pot. Other greens can be grown a few plants to a pot — they should be planted at least 4 inches apart and harvested small.
  • What to Watch Out For: Heat and cabbage worms. Most leafy greens are cool-weather crops, so they’re best grown in spring and fall in most areas – hot weather will cause them to bolt. In addition, many of these greens are members of the Brassicas family, which means they are prone to cabbage worm infestations. Control them with the same methods outlined in the “Broccoli” section, above.

Try growing one or two (or all!) of these nutrient-dense, delicious vegetables in your own garden, and you’ll get double the health benefits: healthy food and time spent outdoors, nurturing your plants.

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Looks like the blueberries are blooming!


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in Blooming/Producing, New Plants | Posted on 02-02-2011

Came home today and noticed that the blueberry plants have started blooming.

A little planting done. 162 Plants, late is better than never.


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in New Plants | Posted on 24-01-2011

New Plants for 2011

162 New Plants started

Got out there Sunday morning and get a few things started. Been pretty busy with things, and it was nice to get back into the swing of things.  The water was COLD, though.

So far we’re trying for:

Brussel Sprouts
Sweet Banana Peppers
Sweet Mix Peppers
Pimiento Peppers
CA Wonder Peppers
Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers
4689 Bell Peppers
Yellow pear low acide tomatoes
Spaghetti Squash

Buy or make your own Organic soil…. Some notes and recipes.


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in Soil Options | Posted on 29-12-2010

Appendix 1

Sources of Organic Potting Media, Untreated Peat Moss, Coir, and Other Approved Ingredients

It bears repeating: Organic producers should always consult their certification agents before purchasing brand name products, especially those with unfamiliar ingredients.

Beautiful Land Products
P.O. Box 179
West Branch, IA 52358

Web site states that all potting media meets criteria for organic certification.

Cashton Farm Supply
199 Front Street
Cashton, WI

Long-time supplier of products to organic farmers — organic fertilizers, non-organic potting mixes.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds
955 Benton Ave.
Winslow, ME 04901

Compost-based organic fertilizer products (two kinds).

Lambert Peat Moss, Inc.
106 Lambert Rd.
Riviere-Ouelle, QB
G0L 2C0 Canada
1-800-463-4083 (U.S.)
418-852-3352 FAX

Produces OMRI-Listed peat moss products: Jeff’s Natural Solution, Ferti-Lome Pure Canadian, Lambert Canadian, and Canadian Gold.

Millenium Soils (Coir Div. of Vgrove, Inc.)
111 Fourth Avenue, Ste. 371
St. Catherines, ONT L2S 3P5
905-687-8635 FAX

Organic Mechanics Soil Company, LLC.
110 E. Biddle St.
West Chester, PA 19380

Manufacturer of organic, peat-free, compost-based potting soil, sold to independent garden centers, natural food stores, nurseries, and landscapers. Products include a Premium Blend (OMRI-Listed), Container Blend, Planting Mix and Germination Blend.

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
P.O. Box 2209
Grass Valley, CA 95945

Long-time supplier to the organic community.

Seven Springs Farm
426 Jerry Lane, NE. Floyd County
Check, VA 24072
540-651-3228 FAX

Carries McEnroe Organic Farm growing mixes. Catalog claims these meet NOP requirements for organic production. Also carries asbestos-free vermiculite and perlite.

Sun Gro Horticulture, Inc.
425-641-0138 FAX

Sun Gro manufactures about 20 different OMRI-Listed transplant media products. Most are marketed under the Sunshine, Sunny Grower, Alberta Rose, or Black Gold labels.

Superior Peat, Inc.
1700 Carmi Avenue
Penticton, BC V2A 8V5
250-493-4475 FAX

OMRI-Listed products include Superior Peat Black Peat and Superior Peat Peat Moss.

Vermont Compost Company
1996 Main St.
Montpelier, VT 05602
802-223-9028 FAX

Product brochure claims that all products are acceptable for organic production. Includes several potting mixes, composted manure, sphagnum, vermiculite, perlite.

Appendix 2
Recommended Guides for Learning to Make Potting Media

— For General Information on Potting Media —

Growth Media for Container Grown Ornamental Plants. Revised edition. Extension Bulletin 241. By Dewayne Ingram, Richard Henley, and Thomas Yeager. 1993 (reviewed 2003). 21 p. Published by the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

This publication can be downloaded from the University of Florida IFAS Extension website. Not available in hardcopy except as single copies to Florida residents via Cooperative Extension.

The Fruit, The Seed, and The Soil. John Innes Leaflets #1–9. By W.J.C. Lawrence. 1948. Published by the John Innes Horticultural Institution, Bayfordbury, Hertford, UK; printed by Oliver & Boyd, London. Order from Oliver & Boyd, 39A Welbeck Street, W.1, London, England.

— For Specialized Information on Organic Potting Media —

The New Organic Grower. 1995. By Eliot Coleman. Chelsea Green Publishing Co., White River Junction, VT. 340 p. (Chapter 14 is especially useful.) Available for $24.95, plus $3 for shipping and handling, from:

Acres USA
P.O. Box 91299
Austin, TX 78709
512-892-4448 FAX

The Organic Gardener’s Home Reference. 1994. By Tanya Denckla. Storey Communications, Pownal, VT. 274 p. (Chapter 1 is especially useful.) Listed for $14.99. Available through most bookstores and online at

Organic Transplant Production for the Advanced Market Gardener. This was the title of a workshop given by Dr. John Biernbaum, Michigan State University, and Chris Blanchard, Rock Spring Farm, Spring Grove, Minnesota. It was presented March 2001 as part of the Organic University program offered by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) in conjunction with its Upper Midwest Organic Conference. Participants were provided with an excellent manual. MOSES plans to continue offering the University program and should be contacted regarding scheduling and availability of the manual. Contact:

P.O. Box 339
Spring Valley, WI 54767

Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market. 1999. By Vernon Grubinger. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Ithaca, NY. 268 p. (Contains sections on composting and on transplant production.) Available for $38, plus $6 for shipping and handling, from:

152 Riley-Robb Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
607-254-8770 FAX

Growing 101 Herbs That Heal. 2000. By Tammi Hartung. Storey Books, Pownal, VT. 256 p. (Includes author’s favorite potting mix for starting herbs. Organic production.) Listed for $24.95. Available through most bookstores and online at

Appendix 3
Recipes for Growing Media

These recipes come from a variety of sources and present a wide range of options for working with organically acceptable materials. Because the sources are diverse, units of measurement are also different. When the origin of a recipe is known, or further details and recommendations are known, they have been provided. Note that several recipes are intended for use with Ladbrooke “soil blockers.” Soil blockers are hand tools designed to form free-standing blocks of potting soil, which serve as a substitute for peat pots, seedling flats, etc. The system has been popular among small-scale producers. One source of soil blockers is:

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
P.O. Box 2209
Grass Valley, CA 95945
(530) 272-4769.

The first recipe shown is a classic soil-based formula; the second is a soilless recipe based on the Cornell Mix concept.

Classic soil-based mix

  • 1/3 mature compost or leaf mold, screened
  • 1/3 garden topsoil
  • 1/3 sharp sand

Note: This mix is heavier than modern peat mixes, but still has good drainage. Compost promotes a healthy soil mix that can reduce root diseases. Vermiculite or perlite can be used instead of sand. Organic fertilizer can be added to this base.

Organic substitute for Cornell Mix

  • 1/2 cubic yard sphagnum peat
  • 1/2 cubic yard vermiculite
  • 10 pounds bone meal
  • 5 pounds ground limestone
  • 5 pounds blood meal

The following four recipes were found in the March–April 1989 issue of the Ozark Organic Growers Association Newsletter. The formulas are credited to the Farm and Garden Project at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Seedling mix for Styrofoam seedling flats

  • 2 parts compost
  • 2 parts peat moss
  • 1 part vermiculite, pre-wet

Sowing mix

  • 5 parts compost
  • 4 parts soil
  • 1 to 2 parts sand
  • 1 to 2 parts leaf mold, if available
  • 1 part peat moss, pre-wet and sifted.

Note: All ingredients are sifted through a 1/4-inch screen. For every shovelful of peat, add two tablespoons of lime to offset the acidity.

Prick-out mix for growing seedlings to transplant size

  • 6 parts compost
  • 3 parts soil
  • 1 to 2 parts sand
  • 1 to 2 parts aged manure
  • 1 part peat moss, pre-wet and sifted
  • 1 to 2 parts leaf mold, if available
  • 1 6-inch pot bone meal

Special potting mix

  • 1 wheelbarrow-load sifted soil
  • 1 wheelbarrow-load aged manure
  • 1 wheelbarrow-load sifted old flat mix
  • 5 shovelfuls sifted peat
  • 2 4-inch pots bone meal
  • 2 4-inch pots trace mineral powder
  • 2 4-inch pots blood meal

The following recipes are taken from John Jeavons’s How to Grow More Vegetables…, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.

Classic planting mix

One part each by weight:

  • compost (sifted, if possible)
  • sharp sand
  • turf loam (made by composting sections of turf grass grown in good soil)

Note: the mixture should be placed in growing flats on top of a 1/8-inch layer of oak leaf mold to provide drainage. Crushed eggshells should be placed between the leaf mold and compost for calcium-loving plants like cabbages and carnations.

Simple soil flat mix

Equal parts by volume:

  • compost
  • bed soil (saved from a biointensive production bed during double-digging process)

The next three formulas are credited to the 1992 NOFA-NY Organic Farm Certification Standards.

Classic formula for horticultural potting mix

  • 1/3 mature compost or leaf mold, sieved
  • 1/3 fine garden loam
  • 1/3 coarse sand (builder’s sand)

Sterile peat-lite mix

  • 1/2 cubic yards shredded sphagnum peat moss
  • 1/2 cubic yards horticultural vermiculite
  • 5 pounds dried blood (12% N)
  • 10 pounds steamed bone meal
  • 5 pounds ground limestone

Recipe for soil blocks

  • 20 quarts black peat with 1/2 cup lime
  • 20 quarts sand or calcined clay
  • 20 quarts regular peat with 1 cup of greensand, 1 cup of colloidal phosphate, and 1 cup blood meal
  • 10 quarts soil
  • 10 quarts compost

Note: all bulk ingredients should be sifted through a 1/2-inch screen.

The following four recipes are credited to Eliot Coleman. The first was published in the Winter 1994 issue of NOFA-NJ Organic News, in an article by Emily Brown-Rosen. The remaining three are adapted from Coleman’s book The New Organic Grower (see Appendix 2).

Organic potting mix

  • 1 part sphagnum peat
  • 1 part peat humus (short fiber)
  • 1 part compost
  • 1 part sharp sand (builder’s)

To every 80 quarts of this add:

  • 1 cup greensand
  • 1 cup colloidal phosphate
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups crab meal, or blood meal
  • 1/2 cup lime

Blocking mix recipe

  • 3 buckets (standard 10-quart bucket) brown peat
  • 1/2 cup lime (mix well)
  • 2 buckets coarse sand or perlite
  • 3 cups base fertilizer (blood meal, colloidal phosphate, and greensand mixed together in equal parts)
  • 1 bucket soil
  • 2 buckets compost

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Coleman does not sterilize potting soils; he believes that damp-off and similar seedling problems are the result of overwatering, lack of air movement, not enough sun, over-fertilization, and other cultural mistakes.

Blocking mix recipe for larger quantities

  • 30 units brown peat
  • 1/8 unit lime
  • 20 units coarse sand or perlite
  • 3/4 unit base fertilizer (blood meal, colloidal phosphate, and greensand mixed together in equal parts)
  • 10 units soil
  • 20 units compost

Mini-block recipe

  • 16 parts brown peat
  • 1/4 part colloidal phosphate
  • 1/4 part greensand
  • 4 parts compost (well decomposed)

Note: If greensand is unavailable, leave it out. Do not substitute a dried seaweed product in this mix.

The next recipe and details come from John Greenier, of Stoughton, Wisconsin. They were published in the January 1996 issue of Growing for Market.

Seedling mix for soil blocks or seedling flats

  • 2 3-gallon. buckets sphagnum peat moss
  • 1/4 cup lime
  • 1 1/2 cups fertility mix
  • 2 cups colloidal (rock) phosphate
  • 2 cups greensand
  • 2 cups blood meal
  • 1/2 cup bone meal
  • 1/4 cup kelp meal
  • 1 1/2 buckets vermiculite
  • 1 1/2 buckets compost

Directions for mixing:

  1. Add peat to cement mixer or mixing barrel.
  2. Spread the lime and fertility mix over the peat.
  3. Mix these ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Add the compost and vermiculite and mix well again. When done, examine the distribution of vermiculite to ensure that it has been mixed in evenly.

Note that all bulk ingredients should be screened through 1/4-inch hardware cloth. Well matured, manure-based compost should be used (avoid poultry manure and wood-chip bedding).

The next two recipes were published in the September 1990 issue of Greenhouse Manager in an article entitled “Recipes for Success in Media Mixes,” by Kathy Z. Peppler.

Growing mix for packs

  • 40% topsoil
  • 40% Canadian-type Michigan peat
  • 20% perlite
  • 5 pounds lime per cubic yard
  • 3 pounds dolomitic lime per cubic yard

Note: The topsoil and peat are sterilized early in the fall, then brought indoors to be blended with the other ingredients and stored inside.

Growing mixes for pots and baskets

  • 30% topsoil
  • 60% peat
  • 10% perlite
  • 5 pounds lime per cubic yard
  • 3 pounds dolomitic lime per cubic yard

Note: The handling of this pot mix is the same as for pack mix.

The following recipes and instructions are from a workshop entitled “Getting Started in Organic Market Gardening,” which was offered as part of the March 2001 “Organic University” program sponsored by Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES) in conjunction with its Upper Midwest Organic Conference. The first is credited to Tricia Bross Luna Circle Farm, Gays Mills, WI; the second is credited to Steve Pincus, Tipi Produce, Madison, WI.

Luna Circle recipe

  • 2 buckets black peat (1 bucket = 8 quarts)
  • 1/2 bucket compost
  • Fertility mixture:
    • 1 cup greensand
    • 1 cup rock phosphate
    • 1 cup kelp meal
    • 2 buckets sphagnum peat moss
    • 1 bucket sand
    • 1 bucket vermiculite

Directions for mixing:

  • Screen the peat and the compost and combine with the fertility mix.
  • Mix well.
  • Add the sphagnum, sand, and vermiculite.
  • Mix well again.

Tipi Produce recipe

  • 2 bales sphagnum peat moss (3.8 or 4.0 cubic foot bales)
  • 1 bag coarse vermiculite (4.0 cubic foot bags)
  • 1 bag coarse perlite (4.0 cubic foot bags)
  • 6 quarts of a fertilizing mixture comprised of:
    • 15 parts steamed bone meal
    • 10 parts kelp meal
    • 10 parts blood meal
    • 5 to 10 parts dolomitic limestone (80 to 90 mesh)

Note: This mix works well in small and medium plug trays and 1020 flats for growing lettuce, onions, leeks, peppers, tomatoes, melons, squash, cucumbers, and many flowers. When repotting small plugs into larger cells, add about 1/3 by volume of old leaf mold or compost and more fertilizing mixture. Continue to fertilize twice per week with soluble fish and seaweed fertilizer.

The following three recipes are adapted from a subchapter entitled “Using compost for container crops and potting mixes” in On-Farm Composting Handbook, by Robert Rynk, (ed.). 1992. PublicationNRAES-54. Northeast Regional AgriculturalEngineering Service, Cornell Cooperative Extension,Ithaca, NY. 186 p.

Vegetable transplant recipe

Equal parts by volume of:

  • compost
  • peat moss
  • perlite or vermiculite

Bedding plant recipe

  • 25% compost
  • 50% peat moss
  • 25% perlite or vermiculite

Container mix for herbaceous and woody ornamentals

Equal parts by volume of:

  • compost
  • coarse sand
  • peat moss or milled pine bark

The following two simple recipes came from Mark Feedman, a practitioner of the Biodynamic-French Intensive system. The first mix was used with great success while doing development work in the Dominican Republic; the second is an adaptation used later in New Mexico.

Dominican Republic mix

Equal parts:

  • fine loam soil
  • sharp horticultural sand
  • well-finished leaf mold

New Mexico mix

  • 2 parts well-finished compost
  • 2 parts good topsoil
  • 1 part leaf mold

The remaining recipes in this appendix are of uncertain origin, but were published in earlier versions of ATTRA’s Organic Potting Mixes.

Recipe #1

  • 50 to 75% sphagnum peat moss
  • 25 to 50% vermiculite
  • 5 pounds ground limestone per cubic yard of mix

Recipe #2

  • 6 gallons sphagnum peat moss
  • 1/4 cup lime
  • 4 1/2 gallons vermiculite
  • 4 1/2 gallons compost
  • 1 1/2 cups fertility mix made of:
  • 2 cups colloidal (rock) phosphate
  • 2 cups greensand
  • 1/2 cup bone meal
  • 1/4 cup kelp meal

Recipe #3

  • 10 gallons sifted two-year-old leaf mold
  • 10 gallons sifted compost
  • 5 to 10 gallons sphagnum peat moss
  • 5 gallons perlite
  • 5 gallons coarse river sand
  • 2 cups blood meal
  • 6 cups bone meal

Recipe #4

  • 40 quarts sphagnum peat moss
  • 20 quarts sharp sand
  • 10 quarts topsoil
  • 10 quarts mature compost
  • 4 ounces ground limestone
  • 8 ounces blood meal (contains 10% nitrogen)
  • 8 ounces rock phosphate (contains 3% phosphorus)
  • 8 ounces wood ashes (contains 10% potassium)

Recipe #5

  • 9 quarts compost
  • 1 cup greensand
  • 3 quarts garden soil
  • 1/2 cup blood meal
  • 3 quarts sharp sand
  • 1/2 cup bone meal
  • 3 quarts vermiculite

Recipe #6

  • 1 part peat
  • 1 part bone meal
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part compost (or leaf mold)
  • 1 part worm castings (optional)

Recipe #7

  • 2 parts vermiculite
  • 3 parts peat
  • 2 parts perlite
  • 2 parts cow manure
  • 3 parts topsoil
  • 1/2 part bone meal

Recipe #8

  • 15 quarts screened black peat
  • 15 quarts brown peat
  • 17 quarts coarse sand
  • 14 quarts screened leaf compost
  • 3 ounces pulverized limestone
  • 9 ounces greensand
  • 3/4 cup dried blood
  • 3 ounces alfalfa meal
  • 3 ounces colloidal phosphate
  • 9 ounces pulverized bone meal

Recipe #9

  • 10 pounds compost
  • 30 pounds sphagnum peat moss
  • 60 pounds white sand
  • 8 pounds calcium carbonate
  • 4 pounds soft rock phosphate
  • 2 pounds sawdust

Recipe #10

  • 70 pounds white sand
  • 25 pounds sphagnum peat moss
  • 5 pounds chicken manure
  • 8 pounds calcium carbonate
  • 4 pounds soft rock phosphate

NCAT would like to acknowledge OMRI staff members Cindy Douglas, Brian Baker, and Emily Brown-Rosen for their assistance in reviewing the original draft of this publication.

By Georrge Kuepper
NCAT Agriculture Specialist
and Kevin Everett, Program Intern
September 2004 ©NCAT
Reviewed October 2010
Paul Williams, Editor
Slot #61
Version 102810

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century


Posted by RobPatton | Posted in Books | Posted on 16-11-2010

British father and son Dick and James Strawbridge (cohosts, It’s Not Easy Being Green, BBC, UK) share their years of experience working Newhouse Farm, their smallholding in Cornwall, England, describing how everyone, including urban and suburban dwellers, can become more self-sufficient and environmentally conscious. They cover everything from conserving energy, harnessing energy from wind and water, gardening, and keeping livestock, to cheese making and creating willow baskets. Using step-by-step instructions and numerous useful photographs, the two show the reader, in just a few pages per subject, how to perform often complex tasks. Their enthusiastic, engaging style makes for easy reading, and the book paints a realistic picture of what it would be like to live as self-sufficiently as possible on a small farm. Many of the subjects they include, however, such as raising livestock, rate an entire book by themselves. VERDICT This is a useful overview of the range of possibilities for becoming more self-sufficient, written by knowledgeable authors, with the understanding that beginners would need additional instruction to handle many of the tasks.–Sue O’Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL –Library Journal, October 1, 2010

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century will teach how to make biodiesel for cars generate solar power for homes even build a water wheel or wind vane. Not enough for you? It also teaches how to brew beer make cheese and the basics of animal husbandry. -Susan Love –Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 23, 2010

This book has it all for the man or woman who might be considering starting his or her own country. –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 26, 2010

Gorgeous photos, handy charts and attractive and detailed diagrams (signatures of DK books) make this an inviting read. -Catherine Mallette –Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 27, 2010

Photos and annotated illustrations on every page make the information clear, accessible, inviting, and even irresistible [such as the photos of DIY elderflower champagne which the Strawbridges consider definitely at the glamorous end of self sufficiency]. You don’t need a farm to benefit from this book. It’s aimed at all levels and the labeled drawings and plans of the urban yard, the suburban yard and the small farm are both useful and inspiring…In essence, the book is like a cross between a how-to text and a book to dream over. -Pat Jeffries –The Oregonian, September 16, 2010