Ways to Apply Fertilizer

Whatever tvpe of fertilizer you choose, don't exceed the label directions for how much and how ften tc Sv) organic tempers are usua.lv apphed once in sp,,ng. - hey release numents r Applv a little ahead oi planting to give them time to start hmtag d, .vm S,nthetK fcrtita 2L L before planting and may need to be reapplied one or more times dunng the season. member overfeeding makes plants mote susceptible to pests and diseases and can upset the so,I balance When rt rr to fertilizers, too little...

Reading the Layers

As the different soil-forming factors interact over thousands of years, soil matures and forms distinct horizon layers, The thickness and nature of the layers will vary in different soils. In certain soils, some layers are har see or aren't even there. You have to dig 2 to 3 feet deep to see the layer-cake effect. If you run into bedrock when you dig, your soil is very shallow. Its hard to change the overall depth of SOj at least within a single lifetime. Within garden areas or in raised beds,...

Forms of Organic Matter

Now that you understand how important organic matter is, how do you St into vour garden There's a wide choice of readily available sources and several easy techniques you can mix and match accod ng to your interests and energy level. Here's an overview for more details, Compost has the advantage of being easy to make yourself. Now that hauling leaves and yard trimmings to the dump is no longer an option for many people, compost is becoming recognized as an important way to dispose of such...

Rganic Fertilizers

Nutrients are usually released more slowly. They last longer in soil, supplying nutrients over a longer time. There's less danger of burning plant roots than there is with concentrated synthetic types. There's less danger of oversup-plying one nutrient, upsetting the soil balance and causing deficiencies of other nutrients. There is less danger of toxic salt buildup. These fertilizers enhance (he activity of soil organisms- They are less apt to burn or shock soil organisms. They supply...

Hints For Success

Collecting Kitchen Scraps for Compost To make it easy to save kitchen scraps, find a suitable container and keep it in a handy spot Keep a lid on to contain odors and keep out fruit flies and houseflies. A handle makes hauling easy. Try keeping a bucket of sawdust next to the container and cover each addition of scraps with dry sawdust. This soaks up excess moisture and If you can stand to make frequent trips to the compost pile, smaller con- ii yuuum.uu emotied and rinsed more often and...

Secriis To Griat Soil

Jt Spread o sheet of clear plastic over the entire area, leave somewhat loose to allow room foi it o puff up with steam On raised beds, make sure the plastic drapes ovei and covers the edges. On flat or sunken beds, dig a trench around the area arid bury the edges in the trench. Use soil slakes or heavy stores to hold the plastic in place. In the sunny Southwest, this layer of plastic is all you need. J In climates that are cloudy, cool, or humid, spread a second iayer or plastic. Evenly space...

The Structure of Soil

Structure describes how soil hangs together. pore clump into crumbs or clods. Loose crumbs and c(f ecan space, no matter what your soil texture. As a result, compensate for less-than-ideal texture. Sod with good more rainfall more quickly, and excess water drams and soil organisms push through more easily, and gardeners dig With ease. Good structure makes good gardens. Organic matter - in partnership with soil organisms - is the mam agent behind good structure. It greatly increases the pore...

Hint For Success

Peat moss makes a good soil amendment but a bad mulch. It forms a water-repellent crust that sheds instead of absorbs rain. On top of the soil, it takes forever to break down, so it s even a poor source of organic matter. It's also a poor source of nutrients. Don't use peat moss as mulch there are much better options You can buy easy-to-spread, bagged compost just about anywhere you'd buy peat moss. Save peat moss for digging into soil, and 1 then only for acid-loving plants. Sptitog. In cool...

Herbs Like It Lean

Many herbs are native to the eroded hillsides around the Mediterranean, so it's not surprising that they like lean, well-drained soil. You don't have to give herbs a starvation diet, though, to get good results. Ordinary garden soil with average fertility is fine if you leave off the fertilizer. Lots of nitrogen produces lush-looking herb leaves, but it reduces the concentration of the essential oils that give herbs their aroma and flavor (and some of their medicinal properties). If yoti want...

Iicrets To Oriat Soil

Two general types of plants are grown as green manures legumes and grasses. Legumes are members of the plant family that includes beans, peas, and all of their relatives, such as clover and alfalfa. Grasses in a' family of their own include all of the cereal grains oats and rye are most commonly used for green manures. All common green manures belong to these two families except buckwheat a relative of rhubarb and rapeseed in the cabbage family . Some people use the terms cover crop and green...

Sing Animal M

Manure is the most ancient fertilizer, and still one of the best. In addition to supplying low levels of major nutrients, all manures are rich sources of calcium, micronulrients, and organic matter. Manure is also rich in beneficial microorganisms, making it an excellent addition to compost piles as well as to garden soil. The nutrient content of manure varies widely, so the values given here are only approximate. M Fresh manure. Fresh manure has the highest levels of nitrogen, microorganisms,...

Power Tools

Weeding Tools For Lawn

Some of the gardener's tasks are made much easier with the use of power tools organic matter. Here are some important facts about the most useful types. Chippers and shredders. Chippers have one or more knives to slice woody material into small pieces. Shredders pulverize with hammers or other mechanisms they work best with softer material. Many models carry out both functions. To shred leaves without frustration, buy a machine designed specifically for that purpose. Large models 8 to 10...

For Specific Plants

Ocean Grown Ready Use Fertilizer

In all types of gardens, plants have different soil needs. Some prefer acidity, others alkalinity. Plants that require a rich diet, called heavy feeders, fare poorly with a lean diet or in poor soil. Those that like a lean diet light feeders mope with added fertilizer or in very rich soil. But the better your overall tilth, the more flexible your plants will be about then-requirements, from pH to fertilizer. Whether they're heavy or average feeders, plants grown for their leaves ornamental...

Life in the Soil

Soil that teems with life is healthy soil. Organisms from earthworms to microscopic bacteria are one of the best signs of good tilth and fertile soil. They need the same soil conditions as plants do to thrive and become numerous. They also help to create the very physical and chemical conditions that constitute good tilth. Soil organisms are nature's great recyclers, but making leaves disappear is only part of the picture. As leaves and other plant debris are broken down, all the nutrients...

Garbage CanComposter

How Kill Sand Spurs Weeds

HivTn mtn amount of material to a np Hi mgE Ooev N gt ur bin full, Ie lt it sit at lea a couple of morife w that ewr gt i hmg m dr cm break dm It take to it gt uu don tain a lt tau lt lkMonu-m gt J ll gt Wi lt a rush to us ipifc miefeflfc 1-, , x S ue i'Si- ' 1 lt 7 li W Jlff HaaffHdtttjti.or KHpfci V rS garUi ' c i Aiih lid J H VA - Covfred bucto or small g fflM With dr focM , srw1 Dr l 8 to 10 holes in bottom of can. Space holes about 4 of 5 inches apart up the sides stay at least 4 nches...

Info

Lobster shells 4.6-3.5-0 Milk 0.5-0.3-0.2 Good source of organic matter, nutrients, and a natural plant-growth stimulant triacontatoi good soil conditioner Use in compost or in mulch acidic, so add a little limestone or wood ashes to compensate Excellent source of organic matter and micronutrients great soil conditioner available at most garden centers Excellent source of calcium and micronutrients dry overnight and crumble onto soil or into compost pile Incorporate into soil or add thin layers...

Dictionary of Terms

Balanced doesn't mean that nutrient levels are balanced it just means a fertilizer contains the big three nitrogen N , phosphorus P , and potassium K . Seeing organic on the label won t guarantee that all ingredients are derived from natural animal, plant, or mineral sources Here's a quick guide to different types of fertilizers. Most fall into more than one of the following categories. Simple fertilizer contains one major nutrient N, P, or K . ' Compound...

Using Fabric Paper an Plastic Mulches T

Landscape fabric, black paper, and plastic mulches are three varieties of inorganic mulrh. ll are great for pressing weeds but should be used over a topdressing that supplies organic matter. They're all easy tokv following the steps below. Each has characteristics that make it particularly suited to .pmfii usrs. Also called geotextiles, landscape fabrics are designed to be left in place for a long time They let air and water through, so they're better around permanent plants than either paper...

Secrits To Oreat Soil

A more involved form of leaching is needed to remove sodium. Treating the soil first with gypsum replaces sodium in soil reserves with calcium, freeing up the sodium so it's easily washed out. About 5 pounds of gypsum is needed for 100 square feet on loamy soil if your soil's heavy, use 10 pounds. Spread gypsum evenly over the area to be treated Mix it thoroughly into the top few inches of soil to eliminate any untreated pockets. This may take some effort in hardened sodic soils. Thoroughly...

Leaching to Remove Salts

Try leaching at the beginning or end of the growing season. That way you won't be washing fertilizer awav Do it as early as possible in the day to minimize evaporation of the water you're applying. Let soil dry out slightly before cultivating or planting. Set up an ordinary sprinkler in the center of the area to be treated. Place a rain gauge or bucket halfway between the sprinkler and the edge of the area. Adjust either until it's level. Turn on the sprinkler, adjusting the water pressure...

Perennial Flowers

Unhealthy Yucca Plant

Perennials like the same soil as most other plants well drained, evenly moist, enriched with ample organic matter, and with a good balance of nutrients. Since it's not as easy to build the soil around existing plants, it Replenishing Organic Matter pays to prepare beds well before planting. F J Since you can t grow a cover crop . or turn under chopped leaves, top- bertuizing dressing and mulching are your Light feeders should get only compost eacn year. Average ana neavy optjons for...

Secrets To Great Soil

While health soil greatly increases your grass's ability to deal wi gfeeses sucb as drought, lt 1isea gt e. or nutrient imbalance, good manage ment can minimize those stresses for even better-l lt x gt king lawns. Instead of removing grass clippings, leave them on the lawn to replenish the soils organic matter and nutrients. Invest in a mulching mower. These chop grass finely, returning all those nutrients to the soil quickly without making your lawn look like a hayfield. , T p Grass can...

Compost

Decay Dried Grape Pomace

Compost is the best form of organic matter to add to your soil. It's a mix of organic materials, such as grass clippings, garden waste, and kitchen scraps, which have decayed into a crumbly, dark mass. A balanced, slow-release source of nutrients, compost can keep soils stocked with all the micronutrients plants need. It supplies small amounts of major nutrients and helps soil hold onto nutrients and water long enough for plants to use them. It increases the overall health of your garden by...

Making Manure

Manure tea is a great liquid fertihzer that s easy to make. Use it full strength around plants for a quick nutrient hoc.,st, as When the soil cold ,n spring. Or, mstead of topdressing with composted manure use itforni feedings. Mute before usmg on plant leaves, though they don't like the strong stuff. You ran use the dlL l, as often as you want to water fast-growing, heavy-feeder vegetables such as broccoli and salad greens To 2 mix with 3 to 4 parts water until it's the color of weak tea. K '...

Storing Tools

. ,.t. lt tnraffe makes it easy to find tools the instant you need them. You won't have to sort through a jumble op r gt ' gt u you root around. Keep tools out of reach of the elements, and keep them up off an earth floor to reduce rust and extend their useful life. , Inventory vour tools before designing a storage area. Lay long-handled tools side by side to measure how lone a board or rack you'll need for hanging them. Do the same for your short-handled tools. If you re building a shed, make...

Sand Silt or Clay

One of the most important characteristics to know about your soil, texture is simply the relative amounts of different-size mineral particles present. Soils contain a mix of different particle sizes and are described Dy the particle size that dominates their particular mix. While some people call sandy silty, or clayey their soil type, they're really describing its texture. Texture has a major effect on the physical properties of soil. As particle sizes get larger, the spaces between particles...

Sicrits To Great

Boron Deficiency Citrus Die

Micronutrients are also called trace elements because only a very small amount a trace of each is required for healthy growth. They include iron, boiftn, manganese, copper, zinc, and molybdenum. The importance of these nutrients has become more obvious with increased use of synthetic fertilizers. When farmers and gardeners had to depend on manures for major nutrients, they didn't have to worry about micronutrients. The current generat ion of synthetic fertilizers is so purified that few if any...

Calendar

It doesn't stop once you achieve fertile soil it just gets easier. The difference between creating and maintaining fertile soil is like the difference between losing weight and maintaining your target weight once you've achieved it. Periodic soil tests are like hopping on the scale to see if you're on the right track. If the results don't show what you'd hoped, review the appropriate chapters in this book and modify your approach. Once your soil tests give...

Supplying

Dust Mask And Farmers Lung

Unlike other nutrients, phosphorus doesn't move easily in soil water. It travels at a rate of about an inch a year. That means any phosphorus fertilizers should be applied well before planting and turned under to mix them into the root zone. They can also be scratched into rows before sowing seeds. Soil must be slightly acidic to keep phosphorus from being locked up, so adjust the pH before adding organic or synthetic phosphorus. Cold temperatures suppress the activity of the soil organisms...

Fruits and Nuts

Good soil care is even more important for fruit and nut trees than it is for vegetables or bush fruits. The plants are more expensive, and they also live much longer. Poor soil can be costly in terms of time as well as money. On the brighter side, with these plants you reap greater benefits from good soil care over a longer time. Test your soil and amend to correct pH problems six months ahead of planting for the best results. Unless your soil is rich in phosphorus, it's a good idea to mix in a...

Woody Ornamentals

Woody Plant Combinations

Soil care for ornamental trees, shrubs, and vines is essentially the same as for fruit and nut tree You're ing in more expensive plants that can't be moved once they mature, so it pays tot reat them well. Investigat i potential problems with drainage and pH before you buy plants so you have plenty of time ideally six month I or more to make any corrections. You won't be able to correct drainage after you plant. Also remember thatanjH soli improvement should extend over a large area. When soil...

Types of Hoes

Collinear Hoe

Peopl, think of tetf mMPW the gt fall into two d mct lt rhecommon, lar,,Nad lclient mg -I. but it s morecumU for 3th stvles. Undesigned for weeding have small,, black that arveas r clSy spaced plants. The must be kept quite harp to work efficiently. A .variety of hoesl evolved over time to suit different working styles and positions only the most common types are described Standard garden hoe American pattern hoe. Used for digging, chopping, moving dirt, creating broad furrows or raised beds,...

Soil Acidity

Scale For Measuring Soil

The aridity of soil is one of the most important factors behind fertility. It affects nearly all soil properties, from chemistry to biological activity to structure. Correcting soil acidity or alkalinity may improve your garden more dramatically than any other soil-building effort. Acidity is caused by th amount of hydrogen ions present in soil. When you test for your soil's acidity or alkalinity, what you're really measuring is the concentration of hydrogen ions. Acidity Affects How Nutrients...

Building Sunken Beds

Landslide Anchoring Plants

Sunken beds use topography to your advantage to collect water. They work best in hot dry climates and red, water use even tor soils that don't suffer from excessive drainage. Build them only where there', no sa'lt nn hi though, as they can increase soil salt levels. proDiem. Divide the area into several smaller 3- to 4-foot-wide pits for individual beds. At high altitudes, create one large bed. Remove the topsoil from each bed onto a tarp. If you can't tell the topsoil from the lower soil,...

Basic Hand Tools

Scale Fertilizer Plant

Hand tools are essential for many garden jobs. Every gardener needs at least one trowel, and some form of weeding tool is also important. Many variations of weeders are available, so look around for the one that fits your hand and best suits your needs. If you're on a limited budget, ask to try out friends' weeding tools before buying your own. Different tools come in handy for different tasks. Use a trowel to dig holes for small transplants or bulbs. Hand cultivators are great for mixing in...

Topdressing a Lawn

Topdressing with organic matter is the most effective way to reduce thatch in lawns. It increases microbe lations and activity by providing the food they need. Large microbe populations not only improv e gt nil health, they also break down thatch quickly and steadily, preventing a gradual buildup. Compost is the Ix-st topdreasJ ing. but you can use any fine material, such as dehydrated manure. Don't use peat moss, which repd gt water. The process is basically the same as spreading fertilizer or...

Mint For Success

Bar Digger Broadfork

Soil chemistry can contribute to heavy texture and poor drainage. Too much magnesium acts like cement. If your soil tends to be heavy even though it's low in clayt test magnesium levels. They should be and almost always are much lower than calcium. If you get more than half as much magnesium as calcium, you could have problems. On acidic soils with adequate magnesium, switch from using dolomitic limestone to calcitic limestone, which contains only calcium and no magnesium. V here magnesium...

Long Handled Tools

Hand Core Aerator

Choose long-handled tools using the same criteria as for other tools. W hile you can get by with just a shovel and a garden fork, you'll find garden work easier if you own both a short-handled spade and a long-handled shovel plus a garden rake for smoothing beds. A sharp, lightweight, cultivating hoe is a worthwhile investment for weeding all but the smallest gardens. Hoes parade under a variety of confusing names, so go by the shape rather than the name. Many more variations are available in...