Where do you get farm size supplies?

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
farmingnoob
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Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by farmingnoob » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:54 pm

I'm preparing a 900L raised bed as well as a 5mx2m tilled garden for next spring, so I need some big size supplies. Where do you get supplies like soil, fertilizer, peat moss, wood chips, etc? I live near a Yamashin but they only have 25L soil and 50L wood chips for example.

Also, are there any common free or cheap sources of compost or organic matter like leaves and hay?

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by Zasso Nouka » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:07 am

My closest choices are either Power Komeri or Cainz Home with a Joyful Honda a half hour drive away but all of them sell similar sized bags to Yamashin so I generally make my own potting compost (potting soil) using ordinary soil mixed with rice husks, rice husk charcoal, either chicken manure (from Komeri or Cainz) or cow manure (from a local farm) and sometimes coir fibre (big compressed bales from Cainz Home) coir/coconut fibre is a superior product to peat moss. Firstly it's completely renewable and actually does a better job in the soil providing water transport and retaining air, it's also generally cheaper which is always a bonus. To give you an idea what to look out for check this listing on Amazon.

If you need large sizes you can arrange for a local farm to deliver cow, pig or chicken manure, normally a 2 ton dump truck costs around 3,000円 and it should be well composted but will still smell somewhat. Having said that the cow manure we get has been composted for around 12 months so doesn't smell too bad. Some farms will deliver uncomposted manure free of charge but you may not want that near to your house as it will have quite a strong smell.

Rice husks you can get from a local rice farmer, if they still have any left. You may have to pick it up or they might deliver it for you and it's generally free. You'll need to buy one of the special chimneys if you want to turn it into charcoal/bio char (details of making biochar from rice husks and bamboo are in the Biochar Thread).

Wood chips are available from companies that turn scrap wood into chips, no idea what a lorry load would cost as I've never bought any but there is a local company Eco Green that may deliver to your area but you'd probably be better off finding something similar nearer you.

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Eric in Japan
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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by Eric in Japan » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:07 am

Near Mito Joyful Honda or the Naka Homac are your best bets for supplies.
Wood chips- I once bought a semi truck load of cedar bark from a local lumber company. It was 10K (hauling fee only), but most places would give it away for free if you come and get it. Wood chips would cost extra.
Dry Leaves- are an easy get this time of year. Just head to some minor (but still paved) mountain roads and look for drifts on the side of the road. Rake 'em up and take them home. Get a winnowing scoop and a collapsible leaf barrel from the home center and work infinitely faster.
Leaf mould- You can muck out the U ditch by the side of the road for some.
Composted Manure- Like Zasso says, you can get it from local farmers for 3-5K. They sell the same at Joyful Honda, but it is pricey.
Compost - Hitachi city used to (still might, haven't tried them for a while) sell bags of compost they made from their sewer plant. Very potent stuff. Sells out quickly though. 日立市公共下水道滑川コンポストプラント
Raw Manure - Any farm with cows.
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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by farmingnoob » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:47 am

Thank you Zasso and Eric for your replies.

I think that company Eco Green will deliver here so I will keep them in mind for the future. It looks like their loads are a bit too big for me at the moment.

I've never used wood chips before, but I'm interested in them for mulching around plants, making pathways, and amending my clay soil. Are bark chips the way to go? I think I'm supposed to get the 天然 stuff and not chips from processed lumber, right?

I heard about 腐葉土 yesterday, which I'm guessing is leaf mould. It seems easily available in store and for free like Eric said. What is 腐葉土 good for?

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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by Eric in Japan » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:27 am

farmingnoob wrote: I've never used wood chips before, but I'm interested in them for mulching around plants, making pathways, and amending my clay soil. Are bark chips the way to go? I think I'm supposed to get the 天然 stuff and not chips from processed lumber, right?
I think the processed lumber would be sawdust, not ideal. You might have a factory near you making woodchips for paper and OSB production. But they usually can't unload small amounts- only trailer truck loads.
farmingnoob wrote:I heard about 腐葉土 yesterday, which I'm guessing is leaf mould. It seems easily available in store and for free like Eric said. What is 腐葉土 good for?
It improves tilth. Your clay soil will be a bit easier to work. It would improve drainage and compaction. Being cold composted leaves, it is full of minerals and fungi, not so much nitrogen though. Great stuff.
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"

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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by Zasso Nouka » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:59 am

I think Eric's suggestion would probably suit you best
Eric in Japan wrote: Wood chips- I once bought a semi truck load of cedar bark from a local lumber company. It was 10K (hauling fee only), but most places would give it away for free if you come and get it. Wood chips would cost extra.
You know with cedar bark that it won't have been treated in any way so will be best for your soil and vegetables, I also think that the bark will take longer to break down than plain wood chips. Another potential problem with wood chips is the source of the wood and the possibility that some of it might have been treated. The Eco Green shredding plant is not far from where I live and you see trucks going in there all day long, many of the trucks have wood from demolished houses which could have been treated with preservatives and almost certainly the plywood going in will at the very least have bonding agents. If you are only going to use it on pathways probably not a problem but if you are using it to mulch around your vegetables then it might not be ideal. Eco Green do produce chipped bark and driving behind one of the trucks leaving the plant with a load of Hinoki or Sugi bark is quite nice :D .

Bear in mind that Sugi and Hinoki have natural oils in them that are anti bacterial and anti fungal which is why they take longer to break down, that's obviously a benefit when using them on pathways but less so when incorporating them into your soil so you might be better using the composted leaves to improve your soil.

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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by farmingnoob » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:56 am

Zasso Nouka wrote:You know with cedar bark that it won't have been treated in any way so will be best for your soil and vegetables, I also think that the bark will take longer to break down than plain wood chips.
Ok I'll give bark a try.

There are at least two kinds of bark at my local Cainz. One is "decoration" bark and the other is bark 堆肥.

EDIT - Examples: http://amzn.asia/d/64GwPS0 and http://amzn.asia/d/1grqf6U

Which one do you think would be better for mulching around plants?

I barely understand this stuff in English let alone Japanese. :oops:

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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by Zasso Nouka » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:46 am

My guess would be to go with the compost bark but as I've never used bark before that's purely a guess. Perhaps Eric or someone else would have a better idea ?

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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by Eric in Japan » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:13 pm

bark 堆肥 is just straight compost made from chipped branches and animal manure.
Decoration bark is mostly pine bark. Not a very big bag for a lot of cash here.

You might consider outside the box and look for soba hulls at a rice mill. Ask an old farmer where you can get soba processed, and then go there to ask about the hulls. But my "go to" for mulching around plants are leaves, rice straw, and/or just cut grass/weed clippings. Put a layer of cardboard down, and mulch on top of it. Lasts a long time, suppresses a lot of weeds, eventually feeds the plants.
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"

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Re: Where do you get farm size supplies?

Post by Eric in Japan » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:33 pm

I think leaves are the best mulch.

Here are my guerrilla garden beds I made in the corner of the city parking lot I rent a space in. I mulched them with fall leaves.

Image

This one with the kolhrabi, cabbage, beets, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant and garlic was with whole leaves:
Image

And this new one that has strawberries and will have some flowers later on mulched with shredded leaves.
Image

To shred leaves, I put a nylon cord on my kusakariki and put it in a barrel, then I add leaves until the barrel is full. Then I start the brush cutter up and slowly lift it out of the barrel. 20 seconds later- half a barrel of nicely shredded leaves
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"

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