This season The Urban Farm Company’s new Chief Operations Officer Kylie Manson will be developing and implementing extensive soil, irrigation, and fertilizer gardening experiments at our “headquarters”.
We will be building about 15 raised beds with different soil mixes in them, and we’ll be taking numerous measurements through the season to compare them.
We’ll be taking refractometer readings to track dissolved solids in the vegetables, which are correlated with nutrient-density. We’ll also be tracking yield, germination, pest and disease pressure, and a few other things. Read more about our experiments here!
- Our Soil Mix for 2015 (two beds) as controls
- Pioneer Planter’s Mix (most common raised bed mix on the Front Range)
- Our Soil Mix with more coco (higher drainage/leaching and less consistent moisture)
- Our Soil Mix with more compost AND more gypsum (to displace K on the exchange complex)
- Our mix with Hardwood chips with fungal innoculants instead of coco coir (with weekly liquid fish soil drenches to correct for N lock-up)
- Our mix with Hardwood chips with fungal innoculants instead of coco coir (with multiple slow release N-fertilizers to correct for N lock-up)
- Our mix with soluble P fertilizer (to bring P closer to K)
- Our mix with no compost and soluble P fertilizer (to bring K down and P closer to K)
Hydration (Irrigation) Experiments
- Our soil mix with 4 drip lines (instead of 8).
- Our soil mix with 4 drip lines and with sprayers.
- Our soil mix with thick mulch in June
- Our soil mix with light mulch upon planting
- Edyn soil probe (off site)
Spraying bi-weekly in-ground farm experiments with five different sprays.
- compost tea
- fermented stinging neddles
- raw milk lactobacillus
- liquid fish foliar
- Tainio foliar
Crops We’ll Grow in Each Raised Bed
• Visible Yield and Plant Size
• Germination Rates
• Ease of Gardening (absorption, planting ease, etc)
• Compaction (using compaction meter)
• Brix with refractometer every other week through season.
• Plant tissue analysis when necessary – all at the same time
• Visible pest or diseases
• Overall visible health on scale of 1-10
• Weekly Electrical Conductivity readings
• Soil testing the beds that are “winners” at end of season