The main theme of my time at GRuB this week involved applying soil amendments to all the fields and transplanting different crops in the greenhouse. We also spoke about all the different ingredients GRuB uses for each. I will explain each component of the potting soil and what it is used for.
Vermiculite helps with cation exchange and holds onto nutrients that plants can use later. Coconut helps with holding moisture and is more sustainable than using peat moss. Pearlite is very common in potting soil and comes from volcanoes. It’s main use is for creating air space in the soil. Sand adds drainage and helps baby plants create more branching roots for more nutrient absorption. Crab meal is helpful for certain pest management and is a good source of nitrogen. Alfalfa meal is also a good source of nitrogen. Azomite brings in trace minerals that are important for optimal plant health. Bone meal is for calcium and phosphorus. Green sand provides potassium which helps with photosynthesis, and lime is used for balancing the soil’s pH levels.
Each field has slightly different soil requirements and the mixture we made included compost, feather meal, copper, sodium, lime, and bone meal.
I was also able to help out with building and filling some raised beds through GRuB’s Food Investment Gardens (FIG). FIG is a sliding scale price based on families’ income and consists of three raised beds and a trellis with soil to fill the beds. It was super rewarding to see the finished product and to speak with the family and notice how excited they were about getting a garden in their yard.
As the weather gets less rainy we are able to get more work done out in the fields in terms of preparation for the growing season. There will be much more work to be done with soil amendments and crop planning next week!