Probably the two most influential books for gardening in our area are Binda Colebrook's Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest
and Steve Solomon's Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades
, now in its sixth edition. Both of these and others are worth reading and re-reading, but one of the most useful things that Solomon offers any gardener is his recipe for "complete organic fertilizer," specially formulated for the volcanic soils and nutritional needs of our vegetable gardens. To fully appreciate the proper use of this recipe, all gardeners are encouraged to read Solomon's books, but the basic recipe is very much one worth knowing and studying.
Ingredients, Proportioned by Volume
- Four (4) parts seed meal (cottonseed, canola, or other)
- One half (1/2) part lime (equal mixture of agricultural and dolomite)
- One half (1/2) part phosphate rock or bone meal (either steamed or raw)
- One half (1/2) part kelp meal (from any pure seaweed, from anywhere)
- Obtain dry ingredients and keep them dry at all times,
- Combine dry in proportion and mix thoroughly. (Small batches may be mixed in a covered bucket or drum, using a combination of trowel-stirring and rolling the drum around on its side. Larger batches may be mixed on a tarp by dumping and then alternately pulling up corners of the tarp so that the dry ingredients are uniformly mingled.)
- Completed mixture may be stored indefinitely, so long as it is kept dry.
- Apply in modest amounts to the top of a raised beds before planting or as a side-dressing during times of fastest growth.
- Mixture is designed to provide minerals for maximum vegetable nutrition, not bulky fiber growth.
For Further Information
- Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times by Steve Solomon. New Society Publishers, 2005. FVRL call number 635 SOLOMON or available through Powells.com
- Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: The Complete Guide to Natural Gardening, Sixth edition by Steve Solomon. Sasquatch Books, 2007. FVRL call number 635.0484 SOLOMON 2007, also available from Powells.com