All Natural vs Synthetic Comparison
This year I'm comparing an all natural container approach with the synthetic approach for growing peppers and eggplants.
My motivation is just curiosity and to see for myself the differences.
Here's the setup:
Using 6 18-gallon totes from Home Depot.
Three Different soil mixes being tried:
1. Synthetic soil mix is 1/2 composted bark fines, 1/2 turface. Planting 1 pepper tote & 1 eggplant tote in this mix.
2. Newly collected pine needle composted mulch. I collected this from under a large, long needled pine tree. It has a bouncy, peat-like feel to it. It took 12 square feet of surface area to collect enough for 1 tote.
Planting 1 pepper tote with this mix.
3. Rejuvenated, one year old leaf mulch mix. Last year I planted several totes in the new leaf mulch mix. After 1 year it had collapsed to about 2/3rds the volume, into a fine compost. I mixed 1/2 of this compost with 1/2 dried (uncomposted) redwood pine leaves.
In this mix I planted 3 totes: 1 pepper, 1 eggplant, 1 basil.
Each pepper tote has 1 each of green, golden, & red variety peppers.
The eggplants are all Ichaban Japanese variety.
The fertilization regimes are:
Synthetic: added ~1 cup lime to each synthetic tote, and am fertilizing with Foliage Pro.
All Natural: added one #10 can full of wood ashes to the natural mixes. Am fertilizing with all natural human liquid fertilizer (HLF or diluted urine).
I just see how green the plant leaves are to judge how much or how often to fertilize.
Here's a picture of a synthetic tote:
Here's a picture of a natural tote:
Totes ready for planting:
Here they are all planted:
Totes contain: Back left to right: peppers in rejuvenated mix, eggplant in bark/turface, peppers in new leaf mulch.
Front left to right: Peppers in bark/turface, eggplant in rejuvenated mix, basil in rejuvenated mix.
This was all planted about a week ago.
The only difference observed so far is that the peppers are showing dramatically different transplant shock reaction. New leaf mulch mix peppers have no wilting, some wilting in the rejuvenated mix, lots of wilting in the bark/turface mix. I posting pictures in another thread on this.
The basil wilted a lot also.
The eggplants show similar shock wilting.
This will be interesting for me.
Naturally I am hoping the all natural approach does ok.
If it does 80% as well as the synthetic approach, then I will use it in future years.
I plan to weigh the harvest from each tote and compare.