This week in the Flog:
- Another break from the balcony garden to show CalPhos preparation
I have the roach bin outside which is my cockroach composting tank. It is incredibly efficient in removing waste from the kitchen table. Just amazing.
But the roaches don’t eat everything. Over the last month we’ve had several meals with clams and shrimp. The roaches don’t eat the shells of the clams, and only partially get the shrimp shells. I’ve been piling the uneaten parts in the corner of the roach bin and now they’ve built up a bit. So I’m going to turn them into CalPhos!
Check out the roach bin with the shells piled in the corner. Haha time to clean house!
First I’ll grind them up a bit with the mortar and pestle. Not too much since I don’t want everything to burn when I roast them. But I think a little grinding is needed since they are thick clam shells not thin little egg shells. Here we go with the mortar and pestle:
And there you go, partially ground shells.
Now time for roasting. I’ll just put them in a pan with a nice flame below, like so:
Roasting took about 15 minutes on high flame. It produced a lot of smoke and I kinda had to quit a little early for the sake of our nostrils. Not the most pleasant smell, smells like cat litter. After roasting, I have a nice selection of black, brown, and white calphos. There’s a little more white and less brown/black than I’d like – I guess this will be heavier on the Phosphorus and lighter on the Calcium. Oh well. It goes back into the mortar to be ground up real fine.
And there it is nicely ground up. It is practically dust, and only took 5mins or so. I love the mortar and pestle
Now it goes into the plastic fermenting container. Gil recommends adding 5 parts vinegar. I don’t have quite that much right now so I’ll have to add a bit more later. Here it is just before adding the vinegar. Nice amount of calphos!!
…and there it goes bubbling away as the acetic acid reacts with the calcium. It will bubble for some time, after which I’ll cap it and wait 20 days for the full extraction to proceed to completion. Here is the shot right after adding a bit of vinegar.
Wait 20 days…and I’ve got my fresh batch of CalPhos!
You can use many different materials to make calphos, clam shells being one good example. You can also use bones – bony fishes, animals, etc. Egg shells are another option. The shells of sea creatures like mussels, clams, oysters work well too. Crustacean shells have the added bonus of chitin, an amazing fertilizer in it’s bio-available form of chitosan.