Tuesday, May 15, 2012

questions about feeding the soil

I'm getting some questions
 about "how much to feed the soil"

This is a question that has plagued us for ever.  The old timers
seem to have a sense of what the soil needs more of, the scientist
are sure they know but what do you put in the Square foot garden?

First off compost around here is NOT what is used to be.  Some times
barely composted and often so wet I'm sure it came from our
 own water soaked world.  Often they are full of peat moss.

The Square foot idea is one of compost not fertilizer.
 But here in the Pacific Northwest some years
 we'd wash away
everything our
soil had to give a growing plant.  

If your compost seems full of peat moss,
 if it seems overly soaked, 
if it is full of large chunks of wood pieces 
or other un-composted materials you should
 consider adding some
 supplements to your mels mix. 

Oh slap me square foot traditionalist!  I began French
intensive gardening when it hit the San Fransisco Bay area in the early 1970's
and I have a right to know when something needs correction. 

Second I must say that less is more.
 If you over feed your soil
you will cause all kinds of issues.
 Most not good.
 So please 
remember less is more. 

In class we talked about our soil needs being contained in
Kelp meal
Lime (ag lime/ dolomite mix)
seed meal
bone meal/phosphate rock
 Opt. Fish meal

Newly planted seeds don't need food
Plants in a full growing season NEED food
Plants with ripening food don't need food

You can side dress or make teas etc to adjust for these different 
growing seasons.

BIG HINT:  If you just want to add to your square foot box 
when working your soil in the spring,
 and you copied the recipe from the chalk board,
add 1 to 2 gallons of "the recipe"per each 100 square feet of your box over
the top of your garden, spread evenly. 

 Just work this into the top couple of inches of your box. 

Oh and I found Dr. Earth all purpose fertilizer has a nice
group of just what I want to add to my garden and
 I didn't even have
to mix it up! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A step by step for mixing soil

For all my new gardeners who are now at the point of mixing your soil
Here is the step by step (it is in the right bar but hard to follow) It's fun
you burn calories and grow great things when it's all done!

Wish I could come over to your garden and help you directly. 
If I can't try following my step by step method:

 1. lay out your tarp.

 2 open one bag of compost and spread thinly across your tarp.

 3. tap out any lumps

 4. open another bag of compost and spread it over the first taping out lumps. 

 5. add your peat moss to the tarp and spread it over the compost, once again tapping out the lumps, and it does have lumps.  Try not to leave peat moss clods...They need to mix in nicely

 6. Carefully grab an end of the tarp and lift it up and help the mix on the tarp roll into the center. Go slowly and watch as the ingredients begin to mix together.

 7 When mixing move from both ends and the two sides. When you can't move the piled up soil any more spread it thinly over the tarp again.

 8. Add in the rest of the compost and mix completely by lifting the tarp and letting 
the mix roll over it's self .

 9. add in vermiculite, spread gently over the whole tarp. We don't want to brake this up any more than we have to. Gently move the tarp back forward to mix and gently spread it over the tarp thinly and mix again.Spread the mix out across the tarp again.

 10 When it all looks like salt and pepper it's ready. Add it to your garden box.

 Salt and pepper look

I can mix 4 cubic feet of compost, 4 cubic feet or peat moss and 4 cubic feet of Vermiculite in one batch. 

It is Good to have left over soil. 
 Put it back in a compost bag or a trash can and every time you pull a used up plant out you stir in a can of new soil back in.  Later you will only add in compost each time you re-plant a square you must add in food for the next plant.  It's so easy. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Setting up potato cans used last year

You may have already started your potatoes that's great!

If you didn't get any bad diseases with your potato growing last year,
let's use that soil mix again.

Here is what you need to know.

Tomatoes, eggplant, corn and potatoes are very big feeders
They really use up what is in your soil mix.
So Boost it.
Add new compost and for good measure
add some bone meal.

A Veggie food with a larger middle number is welcome also

As you add soil to the potato can be sure to water 
to the bottom and continue to add the enriched soil

It's just that easy!