Steve Solomon might look like a nerd to most people, but to people that knows him, he has something of a rock star status. Steve is an accomplished author and practitioner of soil remediation practices, his articles on a complete organic fertilizer, or COF for short are held sacred by many as the single reason their gardens have performed after a simple application of COF. The recipe for COF is shown below, along with recent notes from Steve on it's preparation and application.
Steve works from home, or mostly out of his home. When asked about himself, Steve states that “ I have irradicable propensities toward independence, the expression of personal sovereignty and the exercise of liberty. In other words, I'm a free soul who hates paying attention to things I am not interested in. Consequently, I have rarely been comfortable in the role of employee.” Don't we all wish we could say that. Currently living in Tasmania, Steve shares his almost hermitish life with his garden, his yoga for fitness, and his mate Anne. Although he is secluded from most social interactions, Steve notes his willingness to share or assist people, believing that a person is only as valuable as they are of help to others.
So let's take a look at Steve COF formula, the list of ingredients are as follows:
Four (4) parts seed meal (cottonseed, canola, other)
One half (1/2) part lime (equal mixture of agricultural and dolomite)
One half (1/2) part phosphate rock or bone meal (either steamed or raw)
One half (1/2) part kelp meal (from any pure seaweed)
Plus, for best results:
1 part bone meal, rock phosphate or high-phosphate guano
1/2 to 1 part kelp meal (or 1 part basalt dust)
1. Obtain dry ingredients and keep them dry at all times,
2. Combine dry in proportion and mix thoroughly. (Small batches may be mixed in a covered bucket or drum, using a combination of trowel-stirring and rolling the drum around on its side. Larger batches may be mixed on a tarp by dumping and then alternately pulling up corners of the tarp so that the dry ingredients are uniformly mingled.)
3. Completed mixture may be stored indefinitely, so long as it is kept dry.
4. Apply in modest amounts to the top of a raised beds before planting or as a side-dressing during times of fastest growth.
5. Mixture is designed to provide minerals for maximum vegetable nutrition, not bulky fiber growth.
Once a year (usually in spring), before planting crops, spread and dig in the following materials.
Low-Demand Vegetables: 1/4 inch layer of steer manure or finished compost
4 quarts COF/100 square feet.
Medium-Demand Vegetables:1/4 inch layer of steer manure or finished compost
4 to 6 quarts COF/100 sq. ft.
High-Demand Vegetables: 1/2 inch layer of steer manure or finished compost
4 to 6 quarts organic fertilizer mix/100 sq. ft.
Because many of us deal with heavy clay soils in Northwest Ohio, gardeners dealing with heavy clay soils should amend the recommendations. The first year, spread an inch of decomposed organic matter and dig it in to a shovel’s depth. In subsequent years, apply manure or compost and fertilizer mix as described above, using about 50 percent more fertilizer.) In addition to these initial applications, add side-dressings of fertilizer around medium- and high-demand crops every few weeks through the season; altogether, these additions may equal the amount used in initial preparation.
A long time ago I realized there are many brilliant people in the world, my job is to find ones that I can learn from, that have applications within my life, Steve's knowledge and expertise is known worldwide for his background in soil sciences. It has helped me; hopefully it will be of benefit to you also.
With personal and professional regards - Vince