As we mentioned in last weeks podcast, the spring has sprung and it’s time to get outside. In this weeks show we had the pleasure of talking to Brian who has over 30 years experience in the agriculture business. We discussed why making sure you have great oil, leads to a great garden and harvest.
Just a few years ago I barely knew the difference between soil and dirt, and this conversation with Brian shed even more light on the subject. We went through everything from plant rotation to composting in this podcast.
This is just a bullet point list that Brian wrote up for us, but make sure and listen to the podcast for detailed information on these topics.
SPP146 Making Great Soil for a Healthy Garden
Understand your food production area.
- Different crops like
- Take a soil sample and get a full soil nutrient test
Composting: this over time will help build organic matter
- Plant material
- Animal material
- Food scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Anything that will rot and decompose
Managing you compost
- Regular stirring and mixing
- Add as much water as possible, and often
Know your soils and what they can do
- This is where knowing how to read a soil test comes in
Difference between soil fertility & plant nutrition
- Soil is effectively your bank account: there are resources there… just need a way to get them out.
- Plant Nutrition is what the plant needs…It will always need more than the soil can supply throughout the season.
- Adequate sunlight & water resources
Our soils have a pretty good base of nutrients…however the fact of soil chemistry has created lots of problem with the soils ability to release necessary nutrients required for plants to grow efficiently.
There are more nutrients in our soils than we know are there based on how we test it today. Science and testing is getting better and is helping us as growers/producers whether commercially or personally learn how to work with what we have to make it better by using resources from someone like me.
There are many tools available in the marketplace that help our food production improve our yields, quality and storability.
- Seaweed extracts which contain many good PGR’s effects in soils and plants
- Humic Acids
- Commercial fertilizers
- Homemade composts/mulches/compost teas, etc…
- Commercial manure or home grown livestock manure.
In greenhouses & Hydroponics…
- Look for good & clean potting soil mediums for your house crops
- Good clean water & you can also mix up liquid nutrient solutions and slowly feed the plants by “IV”
Tips to Create Better Soils…
Brian also gave us a few good tips about creating good compost, soil amendments and soil structure.
- Steer Manure
- Poultry Manure – Chicken &/or Turkey
- Hog/Pig Manure
- Gypsum – Ca+SO4– (Wall Board/Sheet Rock)
- Lime – Ca+CO3– (Epsom Salts)
- These have some small effect on the ph in the short term.
- In the long term they will help with overall soil structure and soil tilth
- Humic Acids –
Soil structure improvement
- Soils ability to hold more water
- Helps improve soil biology – increases microbes growth and function
- Healthier your soil the more earthworms there will be
- Relieves and improves compaction
- The darker the soil, generally the healthier the soil is
- Great use of various mulch mixes
Woods Like Cedar, Cyprus…
- Repel, inhibit insects like termites, cockroaches & certain ant species
- Will take longer to decay
- Can reduce insect populations & keep bugs like cucumber beetles, thus keeping them away from your cucumbers & squash plants.
- Can also protect your plants from the spread of fungus & other diseases that can cause plant rot.
- They will help suppress weeds & retain soil moisture
- Reduce erosion due to wind & rain
- Good fertilizer products available at your local hardware stores. Focus in on the P & K values and not so much the N.
- Soil microbes do all the work…so a healthy dark moist soil is ideal.
- Pretty much most of us are not blessed with this type of soil, so we have to do the best with what we have and make amendments work for us and thus – over time will make for some good vegetables & fruit.
- A lot of our soils are “dead” because of what we do to them…
- Home builders are notorious for creating “Dead” soils…they come in and clear away all the top-soil and remove it. By the time the home is completed…all you are left with is the poor soil that was underneath all the good soil they removed to build.
- Additionally, they are responsible for the tremendous amount of compaction done to your yard areas.
Cover crops in production areas are great ways to help build up your soils.
- These help slow erosion
- Provides green manure for the soils next crop
- Also – deep rooted plants like turnips and radishes and Dikon Radish will help to open up compacted soils & provide a nutrient sink or source for your next crop.