yikes!   page 3


Plywood made in China?

N eed I say more? Found a super price on beautiful sheets of A B 3/4 plywood at Lowe's. Only $20 per sheet for cabinet quality!! Now, these normally sells for closer to $50 per sheet.


So, today I was assisting with cutting it up for the battery box for the solar electric, and lo and behold, right here on the sticker it says, "MADE IN CHINA".


Does anyone else out there find this somehow absurd? We will be paying more attention to where our wood products are coming from. That is an incredibly long journey for a product like this. And only $20 per sheet? While on one hand we were excited for such a deal, on the other hand you can't help wonder what the fudge is going on.





"Yes!"It really does work. 


Both summer and winter crops of 2012 did quite well! It was now March of the following year and we decided to add some sand to the soil to help with drainage.


In addition we added a couple dozen bags of our favorite natural fertilizer...mushroom compost. The brand available here also had steer manure compost in it. We had such great results from the organic mushroom compost back in Illinois, it was a no brainer to use it again.


Then came the planting of the spring crops and it all went down hill from there. The seeds were sprouting just fine. Then, over time, everything would just start dying. Yellowing leaves, shriveling leaves and a half dozen other symptoms that pointed every which way as to what the problem was. This just made no sense.


Photos and soil samples were sent off to the state. Even they were clueless. Test results showed no particular problem. As far as we could tell, growing conditions were comparable to the previous year.


2 more plantings were attempted and both failed miserably with the same perplexing mix of problems. We continued scouring the internet and eventually came across an explanation that fit our situation.


At that time they were calling it "Killer Compost". But, I see now the problem is being defined as "Persistent Herbicides". I prefer Killer Compost myself. Let's not try to make this problem benign with words.


It seems our ever popular herbicide manufacturers have made their product nearly indestructible. Earlier herbicides decomposed with composting. But, not any more. These new, "improved" herbicides not only weather the storm of animal digestion, but they also pull through the composting process quite nicely. No breaking down. So, now we have garden compost laced with herbicide.


So, the next logical question is, "How do we reverse this?" Well, things get a little tricky. Here is the story as I understand it...


These new, super duper herbicides do their work at a level of just 1 part per billion (ppb). Universities and other research firms are only able to test to a level of 3ppb. The only testing facilities with the ability to test to a level of 1ppb are owned by the herbicide producing giants.


So, here is the dilemma. No one can prove that latent herbicide exists in our compost. Except, that is, for the guys making the herbicide. 


Since the Killer Compost theory was the only thing that fit the bill, we plowed forward to come up with a solution. After many phone and email conversations with the so called "experts", a plan came together. It was drastic. It was pricey.


Step 1: Till a good 10 pounds of powdered activated charcoal into the garden beds. In theory, the charcoal would absorb the herbicide and render it harmless.


Step 2: Water the heck out of the garden beds and let the charcoal do its thing for 3 weeks.


Step 3: Send off soil sample to CSU


Step 4: Results had shown that most nutrients are now depleted. The activated charcoal had pretty much pulled everything but the salts out of the soil.


Step 5: Add sulfur, potassium, gypsum, magnesium and iron to soil. Then, another good watering to dissolve the additives.


Step 6: attempted a couple more crops and failed.


Step 7: Consultation with Claudia, our contact from Growing Domes. As per her recommendations, we added the following to our 250 square feet:


•6 bags Happy Frog Soil Conditioner (3 cubic feet per bag)


•6 bags Pioneer Batch 64 (2 cubic feet per bag)


•3 bags Cotton Burr Compost (3 cubic feet per bag)


•40 lb bag Worm Castings


•3,000 Worm Cocoons


• Large Bag Perlite


•10 lb bag Glacial Rock


As it turned out, all these additives gave us amazing nutrients, but failed to take care of the herbicide toxicity. Our next attempt to grow failed again.


So, we started again with more searching online and picked back up on conversations with the University of Colorado. This final and incredibly simple solution worked!


We flooded the entire greenhouse with 2 feet of water. What that did in effect, was push all the bad stuff down into the 2 feet of soil and flush it out. Luckily for us, the water leached out onto a barren area outside the greenhouse. We would like to think it did no more damage. But, who rreally knows how long this nasty stuff lasts...






or Death Valley?

  a tale of woe from 2013-2015

That Ding Dang Sun!


Look what the sun did to our exterior door trim. Sheesh! Both these doors face west, so they definitely get the brunt of the UV exposure.


The top picture shows pre-primed wood trim. It is about 6 years old. 2 years ago, it looked the same. We figured it was just crappy primer. So, Paul scraped it down, ruffed it up, applied a fresh coat of good quality primer and repainted. It looked great. Now, 2 years later it’s all messed up again.


The picture below shows the trim om the new greenhouse shed. Thought we’d  attempt learning from our mistakes and try something different. This trim is PVC. We used the same exterior grade paint and primer and just look how well it’s sticking! Really nice if you can look past the fact that it has totally warped. Oh, the fun of the sun at 7,000 feet. What next? Not sure…

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