Sunday, April 18, 2010

Garden Science

Yesterday I pulled out my soil test kit for the garden and proceeded to test for pH and other nutrients. Living in the Southwest, we always know our soil is pretty alkaline, mine tested out over 8.0. I also tested for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. All three of those were really low. So I ran off to the Home Depot yesterday and gathered up some ingredients to add to the soil.

Bone meal is a great source of Phosphorus and  for people interested in organic growing, this is a great source of nutrients without the use of chemical fertilizers.

Espoma Organic Traditions Bone Meal 4-12-0 - 4.5 lb Bag #BM5

Blood meal is an organic source of Nitrogen. It should be applied carefully or else you can burn your plants. Both blood meal and bone meal are acceptable for use with Certified Organic Production by USDA standards.
Espoma Organic Traditions Blood Dried 12-0-0 - 4 lb Bag #DB4 
Sulphur  is used to help decrease the alkalinity of soils.   Getting my soils closer to neutral and in some individual spots slightly acidic should help with the production of my tomatoes and Saskatoon blueberries.
Garden Sulphur, 5 Lbs. 

And a few other things to throw in the garden.  I even found some already growing Rhubarb plants. I've had horrible luck previously with keeping the Rhubarb growing and I've tried from roots and from seeds. This time I hope they take.  

Some of my garden is already busy growing. I let some of the lettuce go to seed last year and the seeds are sprouting already. I also left the garlic bulbs out and have quite a bit of garlic growing again. The spearmint and peppermint are sprouting up again. The asparagus is starting to pop up. My spinach is sprouting and the walking onions are growing well.   My apple trees are budding up well, The Asian pear trees look like they are starting to flower and I'm still waiting on the peach, mulberry and cherry trees.

My one lone current bush is  already leafing out and the Elderberry bush is growing strong. I'm going to have to pick up a few more current and elderberry bushes this year. The Saskatoon Blueberry bushes are budding up, but they normally leave out later than most. 

So I'm off to work in the garden for a while then hopefully get in a ride on the Bug before it starts raining again.


  1. Wow! You know so much about soil and organic gardening. I don't use anything chemical on my garden, but I don't know anything about soil testing. I really should do it, though. I just spread chicken, sheep, goat, horse and llama manure and compost on everything and call it good. lol!
    I'm still worried about hail and snow. In fact it hailed today. wah! I hope it doesn't hurt our chances of apple and peaches this year. Everything is blooming and our peach and apple blossoms are so pretty.
    Two years ago, we had a late Memorial Day snow storm and it killed off all of the buds and blooms on our fruit trees and we had zero fruit production that year. It's enough to make a girl cry!


  2. Yea I know what you mean. My Asian pear trees are starting to bud out right now and we are predicted to have snow later this week. As for the rest of the garden, you can get a cheap soil testing kit from the Home Depot (or any other Garden supply place) in the garden section and just follow the directions. testing for the pH is really the most important here in the Southwest because of the seriously alkaline soils. You might find that your plants grow a bit better if you add some sulpher and reduce the pH to more neutral.