Posts tagged ‘soil’
Well, I’m so happy! I attended the last Soil Management class last night and all my wishes came true! I can now determine which organic fertilizers and how much of them to use on my garden (after a soil test). The key to the mystery is three data tables that we were shown how to use last night. I hope to get them electronically and I will edit them to be more small garden friendly – at the moment all the data are per acre – at the scale I garden I need per foot – not too difficult to change on a spreadsheet! Maybe I could post them on the blog – have to find out if that is possible.
I must say even I find it a little strange that this makes me so happy, but I think I was so frustrated back in 2009 when I got a recommendation for my fruit trees for using 10-10-10 fertilizer and I couldn’t work out what I should use as an organic alternative. I ended up using chemical fertilizer which annoys me every time I think about it.
I sent off a soil sample for a soil nutrient test today – takes me back to my contaminated land survey days – arrrgh! I used to moan that I hadn’t done a Masters to end up putting soil into jars at the end of a long, normally damp and cold, day on-site. What fond memories!
I am taking a class on Soil Management at the local Extension office and by the end of it apparently we will be able to mix our own organic fertilizers based on the needs of our particular soil. I’m looking forward to that – I remember getting advice on fertilizer requirements in 2009 when I put my fruit trees in and wanted to use organic fertilizer but had no idea how to convert chemical fertilizer requirements 10-10-10 into organic amendments. Well, by this Thursday I should know how – watch this space!
OK, so today was the big day.. I actually sowed some seeds in the cold frame – kale, arugula, mache, spring onions, beets and carrots. I am a bit worried about the fact that I filled a lot of the “head space” with growing medium – but I figure, by the time they are that tall, it will be time to take off the lid anyhow (hopefully!).
I was checking out the temperature inside the cold frame and of the soil itself – it was 30F outside today (with a nasty cold wind), but once the sun came out it was 80F inside the frame! (It probably would have got even hotter, but the automatic opener had done its job and was ventilating the frame – cool!). The soil is 50F – just warm enough to germinate those seeds I sowed today – but with a 65F day on the way, I think this is likely to rise (at least temporarily – it is not spring yet!).
We had a funny today – I wanted some soil to mix in with the organic potting compost I purchased for the new cold frame and of course, since everything is frozen solid here – there is no chance of digging any up manually. But as luck would have it, they just started clearing a site for a new house down our road. So I thought to myself, they won’t miss a bit of that lovely soft newly excavated soil. So after a couple of days thinking about it, my son, Torri and I set off with a spade and a large container wading through the shin-high snow towards the huge pile. When we got the pile (it was a weekend so no workers around), I plunged my spade towards the lovely looking soil, and wollop – no go – the soil was frozen! So Torri, who is getting the “I can do everything better than you Mum” age, said “Give me the spade, I’ll show you how to get some soil” He went ahead and whacked the soil as hard as he could, but the spade, instead of smashing the soil into collectible pieces, just bounced back with a “ting!”. At that we both fell about laughing and left the building site empty handed (or bucketed).