“While modern capitalism constantly develops new needs in order to increase consumption, people’s dissatisfaction remains the same as ever. Their lives no longer have any meaning beyond a rush to consume, and this consumption is used to justify the increasingly radical frustration of any creative activity or genuine human initiative — to the point that people no longer even see this lack of meaning as important.” - Pierre Canjuers, Socialisme ou Barbarie #27

Monday, 2 January 2017

Sexy Soil Testing, and Other Brief Motivational Musings

I thought I might make my first post of 2017 'new year' themed, but then I thought actually, no, I wouldn't.  No day is any more (or less) special than any other; and as everyone knows, new year's resolutions almost never last past January.  Why?  For just that reason.  You aren't any more motivated to improve yourself or the world on New Year's Day than you were on New Year's Eve.  It's just a date on a calender.  The world is still spinning.  2016 was awful - another thing everyone knows - but 2017 is no more likely to be wonderful because of that.  There is only now.


It is almost always more difficult to want to do something than it is just to do it.  The key is being honest with yourself: what do I really want?  Not an easy question to answer.  You know what you're supposed to want: health, happiness, an aesthically appealing bum - but do you?  Maybe you want a big, fat, ugly bum.  Maybe you want to be miserable and sick.  Unlikely, of course, but being honest with yourself in our topsy-turvy world can yield wildly counter-intuitive conclusions.  Dare to be honest, and don't dismiss any thought just because it feels wrong.  Sit quietly and think, really think.  What's important to you?
Left to right - pH, nitrates, phosphorous, potassium.
Darker colours indicate higher levels.  Green = pH approx 7.5

The answer doesn't have to be profound.  So just now, what's important to me is testing the compost I've accumulated in preparation for my indoor vertical gardening project.  The soil test kit I bought on amazon arrived yesterday (for some reason, I thought it was meant to be some kind of day off) so after preparing my sample, I got to work on the tests.

Results showed my compost is somewhat on the alkaline side, but with healthy levels of phosphates, nitrates and potassium.  Kale is one of the first plants I want to grow, since I've read you can start it quite early, and perhaps even grow it year-round indoors, and apparently needs a lower pH level, meaning I need to find a (hopefully organic) way to bring it down below 7.  Aluminium sulfate looks like a promising solution here for lowering pH levels quickly, but I need to investigate this a bit more.

That's it for now.  Happy new minute.