The Great Nitrogen Experiment

So the time has come to bring out the big guns. I didn't want to use fertilizer, other than compost or manure, but if I'm going to save the new garden beds, I need to resort to larger measures. I've been struggling with the question: Is it more important that I bring a crop to harvest? Or that I used all-natural methods doing so? Yeah, I tussled with it. And then I decided the expense of the beds and the seeds and our labor, is worth a little store-bought help. I went out this morning before work and purchased a high-nitrogen fertilizer, made from seaweed.

This stuff could be the devil, for all I know. I just had to know that I tried everything before I gave up on this year's harvest. And this is what the lady at the expensive boutique garden store recommended. I purposely went to a store where I knew the people had their own gardens, and had a lot of knowledge about growing food. When asked, what would you buy for your own beds?, she waffled between two products, mostly because of expense. I chose the expensive one; it was $10 a pound.

It comes in granular form.

It then dissolves into water and forms a lovely green slurry. A little smelly, but in a pleasant low-tide sort of way.

Then I watered everything thoroughly, using up about half the can of fertilizer.

Here's some corn, with a pole bean behind. The corn grew quickly to this size, and then stopped - it's been like this for a month. I took a picture today, and I'll take another in a week. Together, we will see if the high nitrogen fertilizer makes a difference.

Meanwhile, the hills are drier and crunchier every day, which is why I'm so amazed when I come across things growing in a place where I think no thing could possibly grow. Take, for instance, this wild chamomile:

A pretty little thing, but how in the world does it survive in this dry, hard clay? No one is putting seaweed fertilizer on it. When I see this, I have hope for my vegetables.

Meanwhile, I consulted a bee expert (my dad) on why the bees hang out on the outside of the hive every day. It has been warm, but I've never seen so many bees chilling on the porch on any other hive. Also, a clump of them has been overnighting outside, on the side. A nice view of the stars, but isn't it too cold? I wondered. Dad advised me to add many more bars to the hive and give the bees plenty of room. I'm worried about them expending so much energy in building comb, but the hive WAS pretty crowded. We'll see if the extra room allows it to stay cooler in there, and give the bees more space. Today they are outside the hive as usual, but it is again quite warm.

So, some experimenting here at Poppy Corners. It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.