Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good Morning, World!

This weather is making flowers bloom just like this short video. Isn't that an amazing array of colors popping onto your screen? It's like they are saying, "Good morning, world!" It seems that life pops just as quickly!

Today a friend is stopping by to plow our garden. I have 50 lbs of fertilizer I want to spread for "plow down" just like we did in the old days. We used to think we were feeding the plants but now we know we are feeding the living soil that digests the acidified rock into soluble nutrients the plant roots can take for nourishment.

"Soil SecretsGardeners add fertilizers to the soil to feed the soil microbes, which control the flow of sulfur, nitrogen and other nutrients to the plants.

Soil isn’t just dirt. It is alive, teeming with tons of organisms per acre. Earthworms come to mind first, but in spite of the fact that we cannot see them, microorganisms comprise a greater weight per acre than worms! Without these microbes, life as we know it would not exist.

Soil microbes control the flow of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and other soil nutrients. Microbes flourish when the soil nutrients are in balance. Essentially, when we add fertilizer to our soils, we are feeding the microbes, which then release nutrients to, or “feed”, plants. Some soil microbes even produce substances, which help to control plant diseases. Provide the microbes in your soil with a balanced diet of nutrients, and they will feed your plants with a balanced diet of available nutrients. Strangely, it possible to apply too much compost!

Soil science is extremely complex. For every action there is a reaction. For example, for every 1% increase in the base saturation of calcium, there is a 1% decrease in the base saturation of magnesium. The levels of other nutrients impact each nutrient’s availability. By adding too much of one nutrient, you are almost certain to reduce the availability of one or more other nutrients.

Even compost, revered by gardeners as a super soil builder, can be over-applied! Too much compost can make potassium so high that boron and manganese are less readily available to plants."

I hoped to get some rotted cow manure to "plow down" but I will depend on commercial fertilizer to break down the mass of living and dead material in the garden plow layer to feed the microbes. Inverting the topsoil is a big shock to the soil I can stand in my garden but can't afford to do to my fields.

Maybe I will learn to grow a beautiful no-till garden? On the other hand, I might keep my soil inverting activity to the garden and landscape for transplanted species.

Can you believe this weather?


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