Hi Songbird and All,
I was told that alkalinity blocks the "cracking" of
nutrients from the soil.
Now I have used the self same compost from the local guy that
everyone else uses for years. They grow wonderful vegi's.
I got small harvest of small fruit. Compost did not work
I am thinking that I am looking at compost all wrong. I
should look at it as nutrients and not as anything that
will create soil from dirt blown in from the desert winds.
And compost, or any fertilizer, won't do any good, unless
I change my soil Ph to crack to nutrients from the
compost. (Peat holds water and changes the Ph.)
And, I have been asking around. The folks with success
with the compose also bought his soil as well, which
I did not do (can't afford it).
Am I on the right track or am I all wet?
I am ready for next year's crop of weeds! Free compost!
I wonder if the chickens will dare show up. Chuckle.
I may have to switch to bolted purslane.
think of it this ways, life is mostly mediated
by water and water is a great solvent for almost
everything. the more life you have going the
more likely the pH will adjust to "neutral" aka
7.0pH. that is just how it goes...
there are certain plants that prefer different
types of pH. you can learn how to evaluate an
area by looking at the plants that grow and
yes, it's true that high pH will make certain
nutrients less available to plants. but some
garden veggies are ok at higher pH too (spinach,
beets, cantaloups, cabbage, ...). another
approach is to add some sulfur, gypsum, ammonium
sulfate or iron sulfate. if you also add a little
clay that helps hold nutrients too (it doesn't
compost is only a part of the story. good
topsoil is a mix of sand, clay and loam with
some compost added to keep the bacteria/fungi
happy. compost itself often has very little in
the way of nutrients. it is a long term and
slow release fertilizer. gives surface area
to bacteria and carbon source for fungi to
in sandy soil compost often breaks down a
lot more quickly too if there is enough water.
what you want to do is add some clay if you
don't have any clay at all and plenty of organic
material too. the clay will help hold both
water and nutrients.
compost added will be better than nothing, but
too much peat moss will also not do much as it also
has so very little nutrients.
building topsoil in a poor soil situation takes
time. i've been at it here for a long time too
and it is coming along, but it doesn't happen
overnight. in an arid climate i think it will
take even longer.
have you ever looked around for free fill? some
times people advertise it.
the growing of a winter cover crop will help. :)
The peat is to retain moisture and lower the ph. I have never
seen dirt so very dry in my life.
Weird, six inches down, I found tiny tunnels with
black beetles about 1/4 to 3/8 long making their homes.
I have seen them come out at night. They don't seem to be
hurting anything. Never realized where they lived.
I put vegi scraps at the bottom, then mix the peat with
the native dirt. I also use Dr. Earth's all purpose
A member of the family is chemically sensitive, so
I have to be paranoid as hell if it is not organically
I was making fun of the weeds. After I started harvesting them
for compose, they seemed to take off to parts unknown.
I will see next spring if they are gone permanently.
I think I will go back to compost AFTER I get the soil
I save all my worm crack (melon rinds) for burying.
It ain't soil until it passes ...
It is nice to see things FINALLY coming together. A lot
of that has to do with you. Thank you!
You never know where they come from. Pressure treated
wood is deadly. Wood sprayed with insecticide and anti
fungals (for wood burning stoves) is also deadly. Our
fences are redwood.
Also, you have to be careful with wood chips, etc., as they
draw termites and we can't spray/tent for them. This is
one reason why I never started with wood raised beds.
I could have used cedar or redwood, but I can't afford
anything and your words kept rolling through my
head about never having enough room with beds.
I have been washing off my eating purslane all over the yard
hoping for it to seed next year. Purslane live my ground pots
and has found nearly every one of them without help
from me. I have harvested some massive tender branches out
of them. Yummy!
My ground is so bad, the purslane prefers my decorative rocks.
I may start burying bolted purslane in my ground pots next year.
Purslane in the rocks is the first to harvest and the first
Can you think of any other frozen tundra vegi's I can grow
over winter like garlic?
chard, but not sure it will survive
being frozen. too high in oxylates
perhaps too... not sure.
no, winter is my time of rest. :)
if anything grows here it has to survive
the snow and the well below freezing temps.
not much does in the veggie kingdom unless
it is buried. and even then the bunnies
and deer can smell them and will try to
dig them up or eat the tops off...
you may be too overfocused on food and
not seeing the major point, which is that
during the winter, when the ground is other-
wise being left fallow you have the chance
to grow a crop which will vastly help your
poor soil. harvest the free energy from
the sun, use those roots/exhudates to help
break apart that soil. get nearly free
Our growing period is so short (mid June to Sept/Oct)
that it just seems like "cheating" to plant over winter
vegi's. And I do love garden garlic!
And Winter is also the time for me to write up everything
I have learned and plan for the next season.
So far, winter has not improved my soil. Your advice,
yes. Winter, not so much.
One thing I learned is that don't count on seed exchanges
to give you the exact seed you think it is.
Over half this year's
turned out to be something entirely different, but they
were fast growing and produced huge fruit, plus were
very tasty, so and wonder if I will reorder the same
seeds next year? The ones that were striata-d-italia
took a long time to produce.
are a hoot and a half! Pumpkin shaped zukes! Plus
their leaves have a lot of wax on them. Maybe it will protect
against powder mold? We will see.
yes, so the next bit of advice is to grow
winter rye and/or winter wheat. give it a try.
see what happens. :)
true, if a package says Open Pollenated then you
can assume the genetics might be mixed.
almost all beans i grow here are open pollenated
and i end up with odd crosses showing up. even
this year, i planted only two varieties of beans
(a new low for me, since i started) and i picked
some pods already that are starting to dry and
have found "odd" beans not at all like either of
the ones i planted. oh, well, i'm sure they're
i like to save as many seeds as possible for the
things that we grow other than the plants we get
from the greenhouse.
saves money if i don't mind the results and have
yep! are you growing them this year or is that
plans for next season?
we have tons of squash growing now (which is why
not so many beans got planted).
the cucumbers took a hit from the rains we had but
the vines still have green leaves coming back out so
i'll leave them.
we've ended up giving away most of the pickles we
made so if i can get another good crop and can find
some dill out where i tossed some seeds i'll make
another batch. they're easy to make. :)
do you eat apples?
if so, apple seeds planted in the fall will
sprout the next spring. another free resource
that can be used to break up the soil and
provide some stems/wood/branches/leaves.
i just coppiced the sprouts here from a few
years ago. almost two inches across already.
and regrowing. so they can be cut again in a
while for more free sticks.
Unfortunately, no. They are in the category of hybridized
for levels of cabs that do not exist in nature, along with
oranges and bananas.
I can have one tablespoon of apple sauce a day, but
I don't. I go for the berries, which I can have 3/4
cup at a time.
I can have a few stone fruits too, but not a lot.
I will use an over ripe apricot smashed and simmered
in butter as a topping for coconut pancakes, etc..
*sigh* you realize there are hundreds or thousands
of different kinds of banana's right?
i was just curious if you had an easy source of
fruit seeds to work with. even if you can't eat
the fruits, the wood is useful and of course any
scraps you can get from anyone who cans apple sauce
would be free organic matter. :)
yeah, i like peanut butter and apple sauce on
mine at times. don't eat them very often though.
we're not huge breakfast eaters.
Yes. I see two types sold in the grocery store. I
use to adore the red ones.
Bananas are a grain. Think of a banana as a huge rice
kernel. Bananas are nearly all starch (which converts
to sugar almost instantly below your chin). No matter
which type of banana, it is still almost all starch,
it being a grain and all.
Banana, 1 cup raw, mashed
Carbs: 51.4 grams
Calories: 200 KCal
Glycemic load: 18
They are really bad news for diabetics.
Now if we could come up with a banana that was mostly all fat,
I be your man!
I buy my berries at the supermarket and Trader Joe's,
Do you know of a cold weather berry I might grow?
I am a bit afraid to bury cherry pits, as they might grow.
Folks around these parts buy them for their wood burning
stoves (whole house heaters). Their houses always smell
so nice during the winter!
not a cold loving plant IIRC.
i sprouted some once in some pots, but they
chopping the pits up keeps them from sprouting
and i hope they will make good worm food as that's
what i've done with some here.
they have an interesting yellow color when
We have young avocado trees coming up every where. Seems they don't
compost easily. We also have a lemon tree about three feet tall now. We
had one in Louisiana and must have brought some seeds with us. This
lemon is actually a cross between a lemon and a grapefruit, they have
fruit the size of a large grapefruit but taste like lemons. I'm hoping
this one will survive as we used to make a lot of lemon jelly, put up
lemon juice, etc.
We're waiting to see about the avocados, they need males and females to
make fruit, surely there is a variety of sexes there.
Miz Anne's sisters flew in from Maryland today. Big wedding in the
family here very soon so the whole crew is showing up.
I haven't made coconut pancakes in a while. The wife loves
them too. But, with all the produce to cook, it will
probably have to wait for winter.
I had too many zukes this weeks. I had to freeze some
of what I cooked. Things are looking up!
I am now down to 14 zukes plants. About half of them
will produce a fruit every other week.
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