lessons learned on the journey toward independence

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Early Spring Gardening Things

We're starting to have some springy weather, and it makes me think about fall garden chores that somehow didn't get done in the fall!  By late fall all "efficient" gardeners have cleared out old plants, pulled up tomato stakes, and prepared the garden beds by adding amendments.  Of course, a soil test should have been sent in last fall also--so I would know just how much of each of those amendments to add!  I said "should have"…and I mean just that--garden chores are NO FUN in the freezing weather!

So if you haven't taken a soil sample yet, now is as good a time as any!  Here is a short clip on taking a soil sample along with recommendations for a lab.  It comes from Bob Gregory's excellent DVD training course--Food Grower's Guidelines.

Taken from Bob Gregory's excellent "Food Grower's Guidelines" DVD course

If you, like me, didn't get all your garden chores done last fall ~ early spring is still a good time to assess your situation and order or purchase items that you'll need for this year's garden.  Late last fall we spread organic soft rock phosphate under our fruit trees, and we also have another organic amendment mixture that contains soft rock phosphate for our garden beds.  These two types of amendments have made an incredible difference in our garden and orchard.  The soft rock phosphate contains not only phosphorus but also calcium and is especially beneficial for root growth and blooming plants.  From what I understand, soft rock phosphate used directly in the garden bed or in the hole that you dig when transplanting a fruit or nut tree is the very best method of application, especially in low acid or high alkaline soils. It's not as critical but still beneficial in slightly acid to neutral soils. From what I read, it is almost impossible to overuse soft rock phosphate; you can grow beautiful plants directly in it without any harmful effects.

A couple of years ago I put some extra organic compost with soft rock phosphate on our garden beds, and I can personally testify that it does indeed boost root growth!  I had interspersed some sunflower plants in with my veggies, and when the harvest had ended I began my "chores" and was removing the old plants from the beds.  That particular year most of my plants had grown beautifully and were exceptionally tall.  The sunflower plants were at least 10' tall and had many blooms.  When I tried to pull the old dead plants out of the ground in late fall, they wouldn't budge.  I asked my husband for help!  He came to my rescue, and found to his dismay that he also was unable to pull them out of the ground!  Eventually he had to attach a chain to the huge plants, then he attached the chain to his tractor, and finally…out they came!  Once we saw the root system we understood why we hadn't been able to pull them out! 

Tagged in: Garden Soil


  • Guest
    Gerber Wednesday, 28 December 2016

    I enjoyed your video. Just a question: I noticed when I was planting avocados that I have like three or four different types of soils judging by the color. Would I take samples from all the soils and mix them together to send of to the lab?

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