Posts Tagged ‘soil’

The Baked Ham

I heard this story over the weekend while talking to a soil scientist who worked for the USDA. He would tell the story to farmers who till their soil. But, the moral of the story is applicable to lots of things in life.

A father was in the kitchen preparing the traditional family recipe for Easter dinner, a baked ham. His young son was sitting in to learn this recipe as he recently gained an interest in learning to cook. The father prepared a glaze, preheated the oven, sliced up pineapple, trimmed any fat, and then cut off each end of the ham.

As the father was pinning the last pineapple onto the ham, the son curiously asked “Why did you cut off each end of the ham?”. The father replied, “That is part of the recipe and how I learned to cook it from your grandfather”. The son thought about this for a moment and pursued his curiosity further, “Can we call Grandpa and ask him why the ends of the ham need to be cut off?”. The father nodded and began to dial his father.

“Dad, why is it that we need to cut the ends of the Easter ham?”. The grandfather responded, “I would think that it helps the ham cook better, but I haven’t tried it any other way. Ask my mother when she gets there why she cut the ends off, she was the one who originated the recipe”.

Soon after the phone call, the great grandmother walked in the door. The young son ran over to her and asked, “Great Grandma, why do we need to cut the ends off the ham?”. She smiled and replied, “Because the only pan I had was too small for the ham, so I had to cut the ends off”

It is one thing to question and reevaluate legacy behavior. But it should never be ignored or disregarded, and always carefully considered.


Better and Cheaper Potting Soil

I’ve always found any potting soil bought at the store seemed to be a rip off. Well, it is. With a little bit of work, you can have a better mixture at half the cost. This recipe will yield you about 8 cubic feet of potting soil for $30. The same quantity of Miracle-Gro potting soil will cost double without any of the added benefits.

Here’s the recipe:

~3 cu ft block of Sphagnum Peat Moss

1 – 8 qt bag of Perlite

1 – 8 qt bag of Vermiculite

4 – 40lb bags of Compost/Manure

Mix this together, half at a time in a wheelbarrow. It will overflow a bit so use a bucket to portion it off to help in the mixing process. While mixing, add in your choice of organic fertilizer. My preference is Espoma Garden Tone. And add a little lime if your concerned about acidity as peat moss will cause this mixture to lean in that direction.

The added benefits I mentioned are the compost and vermiculite. While the benefits of compost are rather known, the use of vermiculite is not so common. Using vermiculite is the equivalent of using Miracle-Gro moisture control potting soil, but without needing to use a wetting agent. Similar to how perlite holds air to prevent compaction, vermiculite will also absorb water to moderate wetness as well as retain nutrients. The air, water, and nutrients will then be released as they are demanded by the plant.

Pre-mixed potting soil is good in a pinch, but with a little time you can save some cash and come out with a better product.

~Farmer T