Farm Prep: The Subsoiler
It’s been a great week out in Shawnee. Yeah, I know most of you reading this have been stuck at home, but hopefully y’all are at least getting some fresh air. Regardless of the virus, the seasons are changing up here at 8,300′. The sun has been out and we’ve been getting into the 50’s. That means that I’ve been super busy. I spent most of the week modifying, testing and figuring out flow rates on my new subsoiler/microbe injector.
Seeing as how this is a new season for our farm, I’ve been convinced that I should introduce more microbes down at the hardpan layer. In order to accomplish this I purchased a brand new Subsoiler. The way a subsoiler works is that the three times are driven into the ground and the tractor just pulls. There are flat plates on the top side of the lower portion of the shanks. This lifts the soil down deep and breaks up the hard layers of soil.
I took this subsoiler and welded 3/8″ stainless steel pipe along the backside of the shanks and plumbed that into the two 55 gallon barrels. This enables me to inject liquid down where the subsoiler did it’s work.
So what am I putting in the tanks?? That’s where this gets really cool. I’m taking some really high quality worm castings and making an extract out of it. Worm castings are full of microbial life and my goal is to transfer the microbes to the soil. I do this by putting the worm into a cheese cloth of sorts and putting it into heavily aerated water. The aeration basically knocks the microbial life off of the castings and into the water. That extract goes into one tank. The second tank is full of food for the microbes in the former tank. What do microbes like to eat? Fish guts!! I have found some really high quality fish hydrolysate that will be blended with water as feed for the microbes. This will be enough to get them colonized so they can turn organic matter into food for my plants.
Another benefit of this process is that by breaking the hardpan, my plants roots can shoot very deep and find water and nutrients.
I’ve got a lot more cooking…stay tuned!