Ayla

Don't you hate it when you think you're done, but the garage floor wont come clean?! I have been using the Rustoleum Epoxy kit with the 2-stage Epoxy, etching, and sprinkles.

  • Extensive spraying with hose and dawn (The stuff labeled as grease-cutting) let set approx 1 hour
  • Pressure washer (Cleaned up some of the darkness but the stains are still there)
  • Boxes and boxes of powdered Tide
  • Zep Industrial Purple Degreaser from Home Depot
  • Black Magic priest attempted to remove the curse from my garage by praying the stains away

Cleaning concrete with degreaser/detergent usually only works for fresh stains and grime. If it has set in at all, it's time to go to acid.

Go to your favorite home improvement place or, better yet, find a local concrete products store (the guys that sell stuff like concrete stains, stamps, etc.) and tell them you need to acid wash your garage floor. There are various ways/products to do this. You could also get some muriatic acid from a pool supply store and DIY.

You must dilute it.

Don't go dumping it on the floor before doing research. The pool guys might even have some tips on ratios/equipment, as acid washing is common thing for restoring concrete pools. Keep that pressure washer handy as you'll need it for neutralizing/rinsing the floor, and take all reasonable safety precautions (nitrile gloves, eye protection, etc.) because, ya know, it's fucking muriatic acid.

After much scrubbing, tide, scrubbing, and more scrubbing, the floor was clean enough to put down a nice coat of primer and start rolling on the epoxy. Thank you for all your suggestions, I would have still been attempting to clean it right now.

If all else fails you can always paint your floor. I know its not exactly cleaning it, but it would def look better and you can pick a color that compliments your vehicle

Ayla

I, personally, prefer compost as the source of nutrients because it's slower to release - you can burn your plant with miracle gro, but if you put in too much compost the thing that would happen first would be the plant drying from drowning (compost holds a lot of moisture).

The big problem is that a new gardener doesn't usually have enough compost on hand to do their entire garden.

It can be purchased, but even "organic" compost is a little iffy.

Someone once told me something akin to "The best gardeners are growers and tenders of the soil, plants and edibles are a side-effect of healthy soil."

Think of inorganic fertilizer as fast food for plants. It works for what it is designed to do - help provide the macronutrients that help plants grow fast and big.

Organic compost is more holistic, feeding the micro organisms in the soil, who in turn help facilitate the movement of nutrients to plant roots, help good bacteria and fungi multiple, provide increased air circulation and moisture holding qualities (assume this is valuable in your area), provide food sources for worms who break materials down even more finely, etc. Compost also has micronutrients that you likely want available in your plants so it becomes part of your harvested crop.

Inorganic fertilizers have a role, but I have never used them in my gardens.

Horse manure can be problematic depending upon the horse's diet. Many horses are fed large amounts of mineral supplements (i.e. zinc) that are never digested and end up in manure. These supplements can accumulate very quickly when applied as compost and start wreaking havoc on your soil.

I would reccomend looking into getting the manure tested. I personally know of two different farms that have had large problems due to bad horse manure.

If you would like to do a raised Lasagna Garden the layers are:

Bottom to top:

  1. Horse Manure
  2. Cardboard
  3. Dead Leaves/ Hay/ Grass (Whatever you find)
  4. Topsoil
  5. Plants
Ayla

The Maya had a form of agriculture that was basically a transitioning forest. They had a number of different plots at various stages of growth from annual crops to mature forest.

They would first burn the land to clear it and put some of the scrub/brush back into the soil. Then they would plant the tree species that would eventually become a mature forest, along with their corn, squash, peppers, herbs, and everything else. They would harvest the annual crops for a couple years until the perennials crowded out the annuals. Then production would shift to tree fruits. Eventually the fruit trees would become timber. They would have enough plots in production that there was always a bit of each product, annuals, perennials and timber. This system mimics a forest and provides excellent habitat for a wide variety of animals.

For you, an alley design might provide more harvest efficiency, and you can see examples of that in the Gotsch agenda and Life in Syntropy. It works, but it's not as profitable initially as conventional agriculture which maximizes yield per square foot per season.

The row width and planting density is depending on how soon you want the tree canopy to shade out your crops. Closer plantings = fewer seasons of annuals. But you can always thin your trees later to open up more light.

Just remember to return the cut wood/brush/weeds to the soil to feed soil biology and add organic matter.

Ayla

I've read that the biggest problem with sandy soils is leeching of nutrients. So how should you approach sandy soil when you establish your garden? First take your time and do the double digging.

I'd broadfork or pitchfork the soil to break up compaction then do the standard sheet mulching. More often than not there's some compaction that you want to break up and aerate before you establish perennials.

It's also not the worst thing to till marginal and/or disturbed sites if you are establishing a long term garden.

Often you are working with pretty degraded and compacted land and tilling can restore some better conditions.

Just remember that tilling is a major disturbance and you'll need to restore the biology afterwards so doing a good top dress of biologically active compost before sheet mulching is a pretty good idea.

Organic matter is going to help with the biology and biology is going to help with the beach. I don't have tons of experience with sandy soils but my understanding is you can turn them fairly easily with soil ecology. The main thing is getting good compost out.

Most soil organisms aren't going to move much more than the top two inches except for fungi which will colonize anything wet and aerobic enough to support them. So build a lot of fungal foods into your mulch layers.

I think I read you already had a lot of wood chips and sawdust out so that's a good start.

The solution is to start with biochar before layering/mulching. This reduces the need for additional nutrients over time because the biochar retains the nutrients that would otherwise be washed away. I've not tested this theory but it would be worth reading up on as it could save you a lot if work. Here is a great video I found showing how to make your own biochar.

Still the science isn't totally in yet. Here's a study to watch:

Ayla

I thought of using an epoxy finish on the garage floor of my new house when I moved in a year ago but a combination of paralysis by analysis and a delay getting in the house led me to use a concrete densifier/sealer because that's what the local contractor place had). The delay getting the keys meant I applied the product the day before we moved in and I didn't have time to burnish the floor to shine it up.

The current plan:

  • Saturday - Pour undiluted Simple Green Concrete & Driveway Cleaner directly onto garage floor, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then scrub with this deck brush I bought, let it sit for 5-10 more minutes, then wash out of the garage and down the driveway with a garden hose.
  • Sunday - If Saturday's plan didn't work (and I doubt it'll be enough), repeat the process but with my brother-in-law's pressure washer.
  • Then - Use muriatic acid on any remaining trouble spots. I bought goggles and gloves for this step, but haven't bought the acid yet since I don't know if it's necessary.
  • Eventually - Consider applying epoxy flooring depending on the collective recommendations of the good people at my local contractors.

Unless you're using a clear epoxy, you only really need to worry about surface dirts, oils, or any other paint or sealer impeding the bond between the concrete and the epoxy.

That includes fully rinsing the cleaning solution.

Getting the floor completely stain-free doesn't need to be the goal.

The acids are used more to abrade and etch the surface than to clean it. It roughs up the concrete slightly to allow the epoxy coating to grip into the concrete.
Depending on how smooth/rough/porous your concrete is, acid etching may or may not be necessary.