1 This Sioux Steam-Flo portable steam generator is very easy to use and very powerful. I wanted to steam the garden bed previously used for my ferns and lilies before planting something new. http://www.sioux.com/steam-generators.html
2 Its compartments include the big red barrel, which holds the water, and the smaller one on top, which holds the diesel fuel.
3 It has built in levels, so it can be positioned properly before using.
4 And, it has a jack to lift and support the back end of the boiler, so it stays level.
5 The hose-like segment is called a steam sock, which distributes the steam. My outdoor grounds crew foreman, Chhering, carefully placed the steam sock in a serpentine pattern over the area to be heated.
6 This steam sock is made of a durable canvas type material that withstands high temperatures. The steam travels through the sock at about 140 to 160-degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is when most of the unwanted organisms are killed.
7 Chhering and Dominic Arena, one of my security detail and equipment expert, connected the steam sock to the hose. Because this process involved working with such high temperatures, it was very important to ensure everything was properly secured.
8 At the front of the generator is a filter, and two water level controls that monitor the safety levels of the machine, and automatically shut it off if needed.
9 In the center is the burner and fuel filter. Just like the smoke from a car's exhaust, clear to white smoke indicates condensation and isn't cause for concern, while blue to black smoke indicates burning fuel and should be evaluated and addressed.
10 Once everything was in place, the steam generator was turned on.
11 It takes approximately 15-minutes to get initial pressure, but then steam began moving through the hoses.
12 The sock is made to be porous enough for the steam to come out evenly along its entire length.
13 A pressure gage meter on top of the generator shows how much pressure is being applied. A valve controlling the pressure is tightened to increase, and loosened to decrease steam.
14 After a few minutes, steam began moving through the sock.
15 A label on the side of the machine shows the maximum steam capacity and water temperature.
16 The steam began to expand the sock and fill the air above it.
17 Here was the steam sock completely expanded, providing continuous, unlimited steam.
18 Chhering made a few adjustments while the sock was still cool enough to touch.
19 Once the steam hoses were working to capacity, and Chhering was satisfied with how the sock was positioned in the area, the tarp was placed over the sock.
20 Chhering and Dominic covered the sock to keep the heat from escaping the designated soil area.
21 Then, Chhering laid a heavy chain around the perimeter to keep the steam and the heat in even more.
22 15 psi is maximum for this machine. Average operating level was between eight and 10-psi. This meter showed the pressure was properly increasing.
23 Two more meters monitored pressure safety levels. On the right was the operating control, which showed that if it hit 10-psi, it would shut off. On the left was a back-up meter that shut the burner off if it hit 10-psi.
24 After a few more minutes, the pressure gage hit eight-psi. It was now at the proper operating level.
25 After 30-minutes, Chhering removed the tarp, and repositioned it in the next area.
26 The sock was left to cool for a few minutes, so it could be handled.
27 When he could, Chhering moved the sock, and the entire process began again.
28 Once the sock was fully expanded, the tarp was placed on top.
29 And the chains on top of the tarp.
30 This entire garden area took several hours to complete, but using soil that is free of disease and potential weeds saves a lot of time in the long run because there is no need to spend hours diagnosing issues and treating them. And, considerably less time is spent weeding.
31 Each section was carefully steamed one at a time. About 10 sections in all.
32 The most important requirement is that the soil is well-loosened before steaming, so the heat and steam can penetrate the soil thoroughly.
33 Ancient civilizations in India and Egypt used steam, generated through solar radiation on topsoil. Modern soil steam sterilization was first discovered in 1888 and was first commercially used in the United States in 1893.
34 Today, even better steam technologies are being developed to help disinfect farming soil and lessen the need for harmful chemicals.
35 The entire bed was completed, and now it's ready for planting - any guesses on what I plan to plant here next?