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Stickman's 2018 Soil Mineralization Glog

In-ground New England Foodie Soil Testing Amendments Biochar

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#21 OCD Chilehead

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 09:44 AM

Hello Rick!

Good to see your in top of the soil. Great information as well. Im sending off a soil test soon, for the green house. Maybe Ill look into your lab instead of state extension.

Good luck.
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#22 stickman

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 09:46 AM

Rick you always keep me reading ;)
 
I do have one comment about the ingredients, but perhaps one cancels the other. Wood ashes are a source of K, but they raise the Ph. I'm guessing the Sulfur will control that level?
I'm also surprised at the Ph you have. I thought, as a rule that the East Coast soil was more acidic.
 
Good luck with this years grow!

Heh... I'm passionate about my garden so I'm always reading to try to find ways to make it better.

According to the Maine extension service, wood ashes are 4% Potassium and 20% Calcium... Both of which raise the pH, so you're right about that.

 

https://extension.um...ications/2279e/

 

The Sulfur should buffer the wood ashes with enough left over to correct the current pH a bit. I don't want to apply any more Sulfur than I am though... It's easier to add more over time than it is to remove an excess.

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Edited by stickman, 07 January 2018 - 09:50 AM.

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#23 stickman

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 10:05 AM

Hello Rick!

Good to see your in top of the soil. Great information as well. Im sending off a soil test soon, for the green house. Maybe Ill look into your lab instead of state extension.

Good luck.

 

Hey Chuck, thanks for stopping by!

 

Before you do another soil test, read this...  https://gsrpdf.lib.m...soil-3-4-11.pdf

 

It's written for greenskeepers, but applies to other growers as well. If you have a soil pH of greater than 7.4 and a tbsp of white vinegar stirred into an ounce of dried soil fizzes strongly, you should get your soil tested with the "elevated pH Ammonium Acetate" extractant rather than the Modified Morgan or Melich 3 solutions that are more usual. I was surprised to read that if the wrong extractant is used it can give a higher than accurate reading for available cations (at that pH) and completely mask the fact that you may have excess sodium in your soil... (again, at that pH) and watering from a well or irrigation ditch could make the problem worse if the water has significant sodium in it. I understand that's a common problem in the Southwest.

 

Cheers!


Edited by stickman, 07 January 2018 - 10:33 AM.

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#24 stickman

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 06:44 AM

Hi folks! I came across a couple papers on nutrient uptake by the Nightshade crops that I thought made for thoughtful reading. The first is intended for an international audience, so measurements are in metric scale. MT/ha = metric tons per hectare. I found it particularly interesting to find that the people who did the study said that the Nightshades prefer Nitrate fertilizers to Ammonium. They'll tolerate a little Ammonium, but too much actually hurts growth by reducing the size of the root ball. They also said that the Nightshades do best with slow-release Nitrogen, and the best organic source for that that I know of is Feather Meal. The second paper agreed, and added that when adding Nitrogen to your soil, you need to also add Carbon (compost) so the soil-dwelling microbes that process the Nitrogen source don't deplete the soil of the organic matter it already holds, and that Aphid problems are usually due to excess nitrogen in the plant tissues. Enjoy!

 

http://www.fftc.agne...=20110801133428

 

https://growabundant.com/nitrogen/

 


Edited by stickman, 08 January 2018 - 07:13 AM.

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#25 stickman

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 09:45 AM

The second thing on the worksheet is what can be added in an organic garden for increasing trace elements. The choice here is usually either Azomite or Kelp meal. Of the two, kelp meal seems to have the lowest amount of Calcium present, which is why I chose it. It also adds a small but significant amount of Nitrogen from its protein content. Actual mineral content varies between harvest sites and season of harvest. The best content comes from summer harvest when the plant is in full-on growth mode.

 

https://www.gaiarese...co.za/kelp.html

 

Azomite is a volcanic ash that was deposited and covered over by sediment. It's most high in Silicon Dioxide, Aluminum, Potassium, Calcium and Sodium in that order. Both kelp meal and azomite require being worked into the top 3 inches of soil where the bacteria can extract them for plant uptake. The good news about the high Silicon Dioxide content in Azomite is that bio-activity can release it in plant-available form, but the downside is the relatively high amount of Aluminum present as well. Old soils like we have here in New England are already high in Aluminum, and too much is toxic to plants in lower-pH soils. Best we avoid it here to prevent trouble down the road when I've adjusted my pH downward.

 

http://www.azomitein...sources/coa.pdf

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC2710549/

 


Edited by stickman, 08 January 2018 - 09:40 PM.

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#26 Devv

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 07:03 PM

OK, yet more reading for me!

 

I actually read the growabundant.com/nitrogen article yesterday quite interesting! And it makes darned good sense...


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#27 BSH

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 07:40 PM

You're a mad soil scientist man

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#28 OCD Chilehead

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 09:28 PM

Thanks for the great links. Ive been using garden-tone, which contains feather meal with good results. Ive not burned any plants with it yet. I had the biggest and most healthiest plants last year. As we all know, I couldnt get a harvest do to heat, but I hope to see the fruit results this season. Im sure you already have the information, but here is Espomas stuff. The second link has some good plant food basics if you click on each topic.

https://www.espoma.c...e-datasheet.pdf

https://www.espoma.c...ct/garden-tone/

Thanks again. Ill do the vinegar test soon. Had no idea.
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#29 Datil

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 04:23 AM

Where is the grow list? LOL :D

I wish you a bountiful season Rick!

 


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#30 stickman

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:17 AM

OK, yet more reading for me!

 

I actually read the growabundant.com/nitrogen article yesterday quite interesting! And it makes darned good sense...

 

Cheers Scott! There's a lot to learn about garden soil nutrition but I think it pays off in the end.  :)

 

You're a mad soil scientist man

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THEY SAID I WAS MAD, BUT I'LL SHOW THEM! MWA-HA-HA-HAAAAA!! ;)

Cheers Brandon, and welcome to the zoo. :)

 

Thanks for the great links. Ive been using garden-tone, which contains feather meal with good results. Ive not burned any plants with it yet. I had the biggest and most healthiest plants last year. As we all know, I couldnt get a harvest do to heat, but I hope to see the fruit results this season. Im sure you already have the information, but here is Espomas stuff. The second link has some good plant food basics if you click on each topic.

https://www.espoma.c...e-datasheet.pdf

https://www.espoma.c...ct/garden-tone/

Thanks again. Ill do the vinegar test soon. Had no idea.

 

Hi Chuck, I've used the Garden Tone and Tomato Tone products before with good results, but they're formulated for an "average" soil and the amendment ratios don't match the curve in mine, so I've been customizing based on my soil tests. Preliminary results were good... I managed to grow the biggest pod for the Scotch Bonnet Challenge last year and I'm going to build on that.

 

Here's some info you might be interested in from the Colorado extension... http://extension.col...soil-amendment/

I thought their remarks about pH and salts content in Colorado soils might come in handy for you.   Cheers!

 

Where is the grow list? LOL :D

I wish you a bountiful season Rick!

 

 

Hey, Fabrizio's in the house! Hi Buddy! Spring comes more quickly for you... have you started germinating pepper seeds yet? I'm still thinking about which varieties I want to grow this year besides the usual suspects, but I'll have a list up in a week or two. Cheers!


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#31 Datil

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 08:00 AM

Hey, Fabrizio's in the house! Hi Buddy! Spring comes more quickly for you... have you started germinating pepper seeds yet? I'm still thinking about which varieties I want to grow this year besides the usual suspects, but I'll have a list up in a week or two. Cheers!

 

I know hehe just kidding :)

This year i will grow just a couple varieties, all annuum, so i will sow directly outside in a plastic greenhouse at the end of February if the weather cooperates :)

 

All the best my friend

 

F


 


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#32 stickman

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 08:25 AM

 
I know hehe just kidding :)
This year i will grow just a couple varieties, all annuum, so i will sow directly outside in a plastic greenhouse at the end of February if the weather cooperates :)
 
All the best my friend
 
F

 

Nothing wrong with growing just Annuums... That's where it all started for me too. One variety I'm definitely gonna plant this year is the Kurtovska Kapijas. I really miss them this winter. I didn't have any luck with the Austrian-sourced Vesena Peppers in previous years but I see Baker Creek is now carrying seeds for them. Maybe I'll have better luck with them.

 

I also picked up some Coconut Water powder which is supposed to help with low-germination seeds. I'd heard that Gibberellic acid was helpful in helping seeds break dormancy, but I didn't know that Coconut Water is naturally high in Gibberellic acid, and helps develop the root ball in the seedling stage.  I'll try it during this year's germination and report back. ☺

 

https://www.research...ucifera_L_Water

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Edited by stickman, 09 January 2018 - 06:34 PM.

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#33 stickman

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:11 AM

Hi folks, today's subject is low-water growing. I have really sandy soil here that was intensely farmed for many years before our condo units were built. When we first got here it had very low organic matter in the soil and was heavily leached. I've been improving the soil every year for the last six by adding manures, compost, wood ashes and garden tone fertilizer. It's helped a lot... I've got my organic matter in the soil above 5% and have a good reserve of all of the persistent macro-nutrients and most of the micro and trace nutes. I'm working on bringing it all into balance now, but my biggest challenge ATM is drought resistance. That sandy soil of mine just doesn't hold water very well. I know I have more than adequate calcium in the soil, but I keep having problems with blossom end rot in tomatoes and some varieties of chiles like Pasillas. I use UV-transparent plastic mulch in the beds where I plant my Nightshades to create a warmer micro-climate, which is necessary for them here, but it doesn't hold water like a thick mulch of organic material would. Our condo association ran a water line out to the community garden and I laid down soaker hoses on a timer. It worked pretty well but my water bill at the end of the season was over $80 because the city insists on billing us for water and sewer for this water used for agricultural purposes. Gotta find a way around this!

 

I'm already supplementing with rainwater collected in a barrel under our eaves. The bulkhead fitting for the hose bib on the bottom of the barrel leaks a bit so I'll have to replace it. I'm thinking I'll use drip emitters for the tomatoes and chiles and just mulch the rest well after amending the soil for water retention.

https://growabundant...ught-gardening/

http://ucanr.edu/blo...m?postnum=13130

 

Silicon isn't regarded as a necessary plant nutrient, but studies are beginning to show that it contributes significantly to drought tolerance, especially teamed up with boron.

https://books.google...in soil&f=false

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC4317640/

 

Another soil amendment that can help with water retention is biochar. It's structure of lots of minute carbon tubes give it an incredible surface area to volume, making it a very adsorbant material. since water in the soil contains dissolved nutrients, it helps hold those as well.

https://growabundant...tegory/biochar/

 

It's incredibly easy to make with those tree and shrub prunings or the branches from any trees you take down.

http://www.ithaka-in...62795288103.pdf

 

It lasts a lot longer than compost too. In my sandy soil, compost only lasts a few years before breaking down and leaching away. Biochar should last for 50 years or more.

http://www.biochar-i...biochar/faqs#q9

 

Cheers all!

 

 


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#34 stickman

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 06:22 AM

Hi All!

     Today's topic is Sulfur... how necessary is it in garden soil really? It turns out that while it isn't needed in very large amounts, it's necessary to keep the soil pH in balance and to build proteins in plants and the animals that eat them.

 

http://www.spectruma...ff/S_Basics.htm

 

I've noticed over the last few years that my soil pH has been gradually creeping upward, and I see that sulfur content in the soil between the last couple of tests has gone down. My sandy soil seems particularly prone to leach the soluble form of sulfur (sulfates) so replacement is essential. The forms and amounts of sulfur used depend on soil types. In soil types that have excessive amounts of sodium present, gypsum is considered the best amendment to use. Sodic soils are very common in the American southwest. For other soil types, elemental sulfur can be added directly to the soil, but in either case, the amounts added depend on soil structure types. Correcting high pH with elemental sulfur is a fairly slow process. As with nitrogen,  it's accomplished by soil dwelling microbes during the warmest part of the growing season and it requires adequate moisture. Excessive moisture (flooding) is counter-productive though, since it restricts oxygen levels in the soil and hydrogen sulfide is produced instead of weak sulfuric acid. Hydrogen sulfide is toxic to plants and will inhibit growth.

 

https://www.canr.msu...with_Sulfur.pdf

http://vric.ucdavis....ingpHinSoil.pdf

 


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#35 Devv

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:38 PM

I can't wait to see your results this season ;)


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#36 stickman

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 08:27 AM

I can't wait to see your results this season ;)

 

Oh, me too. :)  Of course, it won't be really hitting full stride until I get everything topped up in the next couple of years, but I expect it'll be better each year until then. Last year was the first time I amended with borax and it made a huge difference with the crops that were sensitive to boron levels... mainly the cole crops like the lacinato kale and the carrots. Those were huge!

 

This year I tested for cobalt, molybdenum, selenium and (soluble forms of) silicon. I read that testing the selenium levels is mostly important to see if there levels in the soil high enough to interfere with uptake of other nutes. Plants don't use it in any meaningful way.

 

I'll talk about cobalt and molybdenum in my next post. My wife and I are going out for breakfast now.

 

Cheers!
 


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#37 stickman

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:25 PM

Back again... Today's topic is the importance of Cobalt and Molybdenum to plants. Cobalt is another nute important to drought resistance in plants, as well as being a part of a number of plant enzymes, and also of nitrogen fixation by leguminous plants like Beans and clover. It's a significant part of vitamin B12 too, so it's important to human and animal health.

http://plantprobs.ne...ces/cobalt.html

https://www.research...obalt_on_Plants

 

Molybdenum is important to the uptake and conversion of nitrogen in plants, and to the conversion of Phosphorus into forms usable by plants.

https://www.spectrum...f/Mo_Basics.htm

 

Cheers!


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#38 stc3248

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:55 AM

Interesting stuff going on over here! PaulG is usually the mad scientist! Hope your season is a hit Rick!


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#39 stickman

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:40 AM

Hey Shane, thanks for dropping by Chief! You're right about Paul being a wizard at propagation. My line is more in soil-building. ☺ Cheers!

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#40 roper2008

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 09:14 AM

Nothing wrong with growing just Annuums... That's where it all started for me too. One variety I'm definitely gonna plant this year is the Kurtovska Kapijas. I really miss them this winter. I didn't have any luck with the Austrian-sourced Vesena Peppers in previous years but I see Baker Creek is now carrying seeds for them. Maybe I'll have better luck with them.

 

I also picked up some Coconut Water powder which is supposed to help with low-germination seeds. I'd heard that Gibberellic acid was helpful in helping seeds break dormancy, but I didn't know that Coconut Water is naturally high in Gibberellic acid, and helps develop the root ball in the seedling stage.  I'll try it during this year's germination and report back. ☺

 

https://www.research...ucifera_L_Water

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I have grown the Vesena peppers, but find them not to have high production.  It could be me, and not the 

peppers though.  I do like them because they are so very sweet, and hot, at least for me.

I ordered the Mini Piperka from Refining Fire Chili's.  Smaller, but suppose to be more productive.  If you

want to try some of these mini ones pm me.  They sent me a lot more than 10 seeds.


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