Growing organically has always been a passion for us, and we love learning and teaching the best methods to do so. Since it’s cold, and none of us are really spending much time out in the garden, I thought I would bring you to one of our off-site, indoor hemp gardens, because there’s plenty of action happening there. I have been practicing a gardening method known as “no-till”, a term well-known in the outdoor gardening community, but there are ways to apply this to an indoor garden as well. This blog post will cover a method that can be applied to indoor or outdoor soil beds and containers.
In no-till gardens, we do our best not to disturb the soil and allow Mother Nature to take over. This practice stems from understanding that ‘living soil” is a delicate web of organisms that, if kept in balance, will allow nutrient cycling to happen very naturally and efficiently. Turning over or tilling the soil can damage mycelial networks and microbial colonies, causing the soil to have to rebuild what was already established. In no-till practice, we add compost or amendments as needed to the top of the soil, similar to how a forest layers in nature.
It’s important to consider both moisture and oxygen level in the soil in order to promote plant growth and health. There are plenty of things that can keep oxygen available to the roots. I add worms to my containers, and they move their way through the soil, creating tunnels, aerating, and eating decomposed food sources, which then becomes food for the plants.
Controlling soil moisture is essential for this system to work. It is true that some plants like to dry out before being watered, but if you are trying to establish a living soil, keeping the biology thriving is dependent on a consistent moisture level: not too dry, and not too wet.
Blumat is the irrigation system I use to control moisture because it offers all of the solutions to do just that. From the moisture measuring device, to the drippers and lines that deliver water, Blumat makes it possible to create something that will work in just about any garden.
For now, I grow in 15 gallon Smart Pots and use 2 Blumat Carrots to control each container. A Maxi Carrot (about 9” long) is placed in the center of the pot near the stalk and delivers water to the middle of the pot, while a Standard Carrot is placed a few inches from the outside of the container and has a series of drippers that make a ring around the pot, delivering water to the outer part of the container.
My setup is a gravity system, meaning that no pump is needed. I have a Hydrologic Water Filter and Float Valve that keeps my reservoir full (currently a Brut trash can), so the Blumats receive a constant supply of water at a low pressure. Each carrot has a dial on the top to allow for a set desired moisture level.
If I wanted to set up my Blumat system outside in the raised beds, I would use the same carrots, but I would attach them to Blusoak Drip Tape, which is easier for covering large areas. I will cover this set up in spring when we all move back outside.
I can get away with mixing a few supplements in my reservoir, such as Mammoth P or Epsom Salt, but it is not recommended to run heavy liquids that could clog the system. For this reason, many growers use the no-till method and just top dress with something like Roots Organics Uprising Blends, or even your own mix of high quality amendments. If you want to occasionally water in some liquid fish or compost tea, mix it in a separate tank and hand water it into the soil with a watering can. Your Blumats will detect the increased water and not allow water to flow through the dripper until the soil needs more.
If this sounds like something you want to try, but have questions, please drop us a message from wherever you are, and we will be happy to help you design a system that works for you!