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Member Since 15 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Aug 15 2019 03:45 PM

Topics I've Started

Stickman's 2018 Soil Mineralization Glog

01 January 2018 - 08:14 PM

Hi all! Now that the new year is here, it's time to swing into gear and get ready for the next season of growing chiles! I'll be starting my seeds in a few weeks, and after rotating the crops in my raised beds to get rid of the Pepper Maggots that showed up in 2016, I'll be able to plant a lot more this year. In the meantime, I thought I'd share what I do to prepare my garden soil for the start of the season. I've grown chiles in pots and in-ground, and for me at least, I seem to do better with the plants grown in the soil.


To start with, my garden soil is sandy, so I have to add lots of compost in the top six inches of soil to hold moisture and prevent nutrients from leaching away. Soil microbes break it down in just a few years though, so keeping it topped up is a yearly necessity. We compost our kitchen waste to that end, but there's never enough, so we also buy it from a local outfit that produces it commercially. I was put onto adding biochar as well by brother Scott (Devv.)  The biochar does the same things that humus does but it lasts longer and  helps the environment by sequestering carbon in the soil. I've also been reading about how amending with Montmorillonite clay can increase fertility and help with soil structure, but more on that in a future post.


At the end of each growing season I take soil samples from my various gardens and get them tested at Logan Labs in Ohio. They do a more thorough job than our UMass extension by testing for Cobalt, Molybdenum and Silicate levels as well as he usual suspects. :)    I'm taking a "Build and Maintain" approach toward soil nutrients because I want my plants to have the best organic nutrition available to them, and at the small scale I'm planting, it's affordable for me. http://nevegetable.org/cultural-practices/plant-nutrients  


Here's my last soil test, taken the end of November. It's the starting point for figuring what amendments I'll need when I prep my beds for planting in the spring. The pepper garden is bordered in yellow.

Attached File  fall2017soiltest.png   61.65KB   102 downloads


In my next post I'll cover the math I use to figure that out. Cheers!

Pioneer Valley Chili Fest

14 September 2017 - 05:49 AM

For those of us in the western Massachusetts / southern New England area, this is an annual event held this weekend at the Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland, MA. There's a chili cookoff between a number of area restaurant chefs and a hot sauce competition.




Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyeon

13 May 2017 - 01:50 PM

Hi folks, I just came across some of these fried ramen noodle packages and thought I'd give them a whirl to see how hot they really are.

Attached File  SANY2234.JPG   93.3KB   82 downloads


Following the instructions on the label, I boiled the noodles for 3 minutes in 300ml of water and drained most of the water, but kept enough of the starchy liquid to make the sauce with the contents of the red packet inside. Stir-fried the noodles and sauce for about 15 seconds and the results looked like this.

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Stirred in the contents of the black packet and some sauteed veggies and it make a pretty good meal. Add a fried egg on top and you've got a cheap and complete meal for a little over a buck.

Attached File  SANY2236.JPG   93.61KB   91 downloads


Heat-wise, this is the hottest Ramen noodle dish I've ever had straight out of the package. It's well within the tolerances of most chili-heads, but it definitely made me break out into a sweat and brought the blood to my face in a rush. The flavor was okay, but could use a little something... next time I make it I'll add some minced garlic, minced fresh ginger and a bit of toasted sesame oil.

Light Utilization In Plants

10 February 2017 - 08:15 AM

I was referred to this scholarly paper by a friend, and it looks good enough to pass on.


https://www.heliospe...ants need_5.pdf



Stickman's 2017 Minimalist Glog

16 January 2017 - 09:03 PM

Sorry 'bout the glitch... still learning how to use my new "smart" phone. Sometimes it seems like it's smarter than me... :rolleyes: