Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Preparing your Soil

Preparing your garden beds:

Put you money into your soil.  That is the best garden investment you can make.  It will result in greater yields and fewer problems with pests and disease. Organic gardening is based on plant and soil biology. That’s why it works.

If you are starting a new garden bed, rototil the soil and remove rocks and weeds. Build your bed frame and place over the soil.  I do not recommend putting and screens on your raised beds.  Add 4-6 inches of compost and 2” of peat moss.  Broadcast evenly a dry organic fertilizer and incorporate into the soil.

To prepare an existing bed, add 2 inches of compost and a dry organic fertilizer.  If you have been doing this each year you probably do not need to incorporate it in.  If you are new to organic gardening, then you will have to work the compost into the soil. 

My favorite compost is Nutri-mulch (turkey manure). Any compost will do.  Avoid those with time released chemical fertilizers.  That will only ensure you continually kill beneficial microbes in your soil.

In organic gardening, you feed the microbes and the microbes provide the nutrients for the plants.  Plants expend a lot of energy attracting specific bacteria and fungi to their root zones.  They enter into a beneficial relationship, each providing the other with what it needs.  The presence of beneficial microbes prevents the buildup of pathogenic microbes.  Using chemical fertilizers, destroys this relationship, kills microbes, and does not build your soil structure.

Adding compost provides organic matter for microbes, retains moisture, hold nutrients in the soil, and makes plants healthy and happy.  So invest in dung!  It gets the job done.

My favorite compost and mulch.

Dry Organic Fertilizer:

You can purchase a balanced organic fertilizer.  You do not need a different one for each plant variety. Just look for one that is for vegetables.  I have a picture below of one I am trying out that we are carrying in our lawn and garden store in Overton, Nevada.

I usually mix my own.  You can use any seed meal or blood meal for nitrogen and bone meal for phosphorus.  I put greensand for potassium and trace mineral.  Kelp meal is also good for trace minerals.

My recipe: 1 part blood meal, 2 parts bone meal, 1/2 to 1 cups of greensand (optional)

I put this in a 5 gallon bucket and use it on the garden, berries, landscape and fruit trees. Everything also gets a layer or homemade or store bought compost.  I also add dry organic fertilizer to planting holes along with extra compost. Remember this feeds microbes not plants. The microbes then provide nutrients for the plants.

Liquid fertilizers are also important especially in early spring when microbe activity is slow.  Fish emulsion and liquid kelp are great options.  I feed seedlings when they have 4-6 leaves, again when flowers set and buds form and if plant is stressed.

Complete organic fertilizer.

Look what you can grow organically, healthy beautiful grand kids!
This picture is of my grandson "helping" his dad prepare a raspberry bed.  Having a chemical free yardsmeans they can safely help, eat, and play in your yard and garden.

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