Friday, February 20, 2015

Compost Tea Foliar Spray

Spraying with Compost Tea (A Brief History of Why)

When plants evolved from the water to live on land, they partnered with the microbial life in the soil and in the air.  Certain species of bacteria and fungi became the distributors of the plant’s food, and the doctors that helped them fight disease.  Plants need biologically pre-digested nutrients; it is easier for them to feed.  Like humans, they digest food that has been prepared.  Actively Aerated Compost Tea boosts the microbes and the nutrients needed to make this network thrive.

Healthy plants have a strong immune system that includes a ‘bio-film’ of microbial life from leaf to root.  Humans do too.  Head to toe.  To make use of these biological principles to feed and protect our plants, we can spray with compost tea.  I'd suggest a swim in the ocean for you humans instead.

When we spray plants with VCoop's compost tea, the droplets envelope the plant with living organisms.  The web of life of which the plant (and all life) is a part of is strengthened.  The results: Large, mineral rich vegetation with healthy leaves, decreased disease, and weakened insect attacks.  Happy plants and gardeners! Even better, apply when trees are preparing to bud, cuz compost tea feeds the delicate new growth directly and helps protect the baby leaves until they are more developed.

Note:  Plants that have been showered with compost tea have higher “Brix” levels – a measure of the carbohydrates and mineral density in the sap.  The healthy plants are better able to ward off attacks.

Actively Aerated Compost tea cannot be over-applied and does not burn leaves.  The microbe-rich droplets drip down to improve the soil below.  I usually root soak the plants too!  For growers who regularly use compost tea, there is nothing better.  The main drawback is making the brew.  Whew!  That's where Ventura Cooperative Compost Tea comes in.  We have a constant supply of tea made locally for local gardeners.  Bubblin' up right now.

Get some!  Now is the time to foliar spray with compost tea, when the buds are young and spring is on its way.  I'm spraying all our trees consistently over the next few weeks.  It give me the reason to keep an eye on their growth too.  Now is also a good time to graft new wood on fruit and citrus trees if you have them.  Remember we are all a part of the soil network.

I'm going surfing after, and bringing some kelp back to my compost piles.  Stacking functions, it's the permaculture way.

See you in the Garden!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sheet Mulching Ventura

Sheet Mulching is the best way to restore vitality and to build health in the soil. While putting to sleep traditional lawn landscapes, this permaculture tactic provides a kickstart to the "Soil Food Web" in which annual and perennial plants can thrive.  The foodweb helps conserve water, saves money, saves time and reconnects us to the living earth.

Paul Herzog and Robert Barnett use the burrito method along the edges of Paul's backyard

To begin, layer soil amendments, compost, mulch, straw, yard clippings and cardboard (see diagram above) on top of the exisiting sod and existing soil and water with compost tea.  The life and the nutrients in these layers decompose into rich soil. The richness leeches down into the lower layers and soon the land is rejuvenated.  The grass and the weeds are smothered by the layers above and become food for microbes and arthropods. Think of sheet mulching as a large horizontal compost bin.  There are many methods of sheet mulching, but the aims are basically the same-soil restoration and water conservation.

One way to keep unwanted plants from growing out along the edges, iis to use the "burrito method" which creates a double layer of material to suppress the weeds.  Paul Herzog and Robert Barnett are sheet mulch superheros using the burrito method in Paul's backyard.  See picture above.

Any time of year is good to sheet mulch, but the best time is in during the rainy season.  The rain soaks through the layers and stays in the yard.  Sheet mulching acts like a sponge, keeping the hydration where it's needed.

Soil restoration is a radical action in our current system of consumer based chemically driven quick fix answers.  Let's get to a deeper solution.  The word radical is derived from the latin word "radicis" meaning root or going to the origin or essential.  We can help you get down to the roots.  The radical roots.  The essential basics of healthy living begin in the soil.

Relevant links:
Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens
Urban Soil Summit
Soil Food Web

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Many Benefits of Chayote

From root to fruit to shoot, Chayote is an edible that adds versatility to permaculture landscapes.  A native from mexico, and a member of the gourd family, Chayote is known by many names as it has migrated across the globe and into many diverse culinary dishes.  Some call it Cho-Cho, some Sayote, and some know it by the name Merleton just to name a few.  There are as many ways to cook it as there are names.

For a great selection of recipes, check out Chayote recipes at Pinterest.  Just recently we harvested some shoots from the Art City garden and used them freshly chopped in a green salad with purslane, mustard greens, arugula, and young endive leaves.  These greens were tossed in a yogurt garlic onion dressing with fresh cracked pepper and lemon juice.  Excellent and healthy!

Chayote is easy to grow in our local climate.  Perfect for trellising over border fences, the pear shaped fruit hangs from heart shaped leaves and curling shoots.  Grow Chayote!  It adds a tasty vertical element to your garden.

photo by: Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên cc-by-sa

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Be Prepared for El Nino and the California Drought

Weather forecasters, NASA scientists, and the old time farmer's almanac are all saying the same thing--California should get more than average rainfall this winter.  Are you prepared?

Now is the time to install rainwater barrels, mulch existing garden beds, build compost piles, and plant your winter veggies.  All of these action steps help conserve water.  Simple and effective ways to help yourself and the environment.

You're not alone--We can help!  Ventura Cooperative is offering an "El Nino Winter Garden Package" which includes FREE Rainbarrel Installations with the purchase of:

  • 1 yard organic mulch
  • 5 cu. ft. VCoop's living soil amendments
  • 6 Six-packs seasonal veggie starts
  • 3 gallons VCoop's Actively Aerated Compost Tea
This $299.00 service is a great way to prepare for winter rains, grow your own food, and transition to organic and sustainable yard maintenance.

Call us now to schedule your "El Nino Winter Garden Package" before the next rain!

(805) 765-1892
or e-mail us at

Visit the Climate Prediction Center for more El Nino details.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

RRFMVTA Really Really Free Market Ventura

Ventura's 2nd Annual Really Really Free Market is happening November 1st in Plaza Park, Downtown Ventura, from Noon to 5pm.  The "bring what you can, take what you need" culture uses no cash uses no barter or trade.  Everything is free.  Skill sharing and workshops happen in a sort of self organized fashion.  Bike fixing repair shops, Time Banks, solar ovens, knitting, and monster jams are just a few of the activities you wander upon as folks mingle and mix around piles of clothes and other DIY type goodies.

See you There!

Leave no Trace Event--(pack it in, pack it out)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Winter Garden Compost Tea and Soil Amendments

October is the time to plant for your winter garden, to prepare the soil for spring planting, and to build rainwater collection systems.  We can help you go green for your family and the planet.  Give us call and place your orders now.  We'll get you in the cue for organic supplements and hands on implementation!  Harvard University switched over, so the science is tested and true, organics rule!
Call us today for a quote.
(805) 765-1892

Friday, September 5, 2014

People's Climate March Ventura

Sunday, September 21, people of all ages will march in solidarity with the March in NYC calling on world leaders to take action against global warming. 

Schedule (Subject to Change)
8:00 AM Breakfast at Ventura City Corps
8:30 AM Live Telecast of NYC People's Climate March 
10:00 AM Rally at Ventura City Hall
11:00 AM March to ventura pier
1:00 PM March Back to Ventura City Corps for lunch
2:00 PM Free Film Screening: "Disruption"
3:00 Climate Workshop
5:00 Open Mic
6:00 Dinner
7:00 March to 101 overpass for Overpass Light Brigade

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