#ProjectMartian really worked well. Especially during the COVID19 isolation. Last year every bit of manure and green and brown for compost went through the #Bioreactor. I was mocked for using it. I was chastised for calling it that. But it did work. This year I used compost from the bioreactor in all of my 24 garden beds. But in eight of them I got cocky and amended the beds with horse manure. That was a good idea in theory except for one important fact; there was life in the manure. Bugs and weeds to be exact. I placed a layer of diatomaceous earth on every bed as a last step. In the outside manure beds, the life came from below the layer of diatomaceous earth. The system worked perfectly when I used “Eden’s Ghost” and just compost from the bioreactor. I was stunned to find all these weeds beneath the burlap today.

#ProjectMartian bed without outsider manures. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello
#ProjectMartian bed WITH manure from outside Mezzacello. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

This is the design cycle in action. This is a failure that is going to drastically curtail my productivity. Along with the weeds came a whole class of pill bug and centipede that LOVE rich, wet, dark, organic environments. And now I have to sterilize the top 6cm of the infected beds. But I learned a valuable lesson; on Mars you have to use what you have. Had I stayed true to that mission I would not have discovered this flaw in my system. Lesson learned. Cook all manure before you add it to a #ProjectMartian bed. I am glad I learned this here and not on Mars.

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