Fertilizing rocky soil where it's half soil half stones (and no dirt)

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On Fri, 09 Sep 2016 14:33:04 GMT, Scott Lurndal wrote:

They call it the stinking rose, I think...
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You add it. Leaves, grass, corn husk, chopped up corn cobs, cow poop...whatever. However, it isn't any good for the soil until it decomposes. It will do that itself just by digging it into the soil (adding worms will help too) but it will do so much more quickly if you compost it. Google "composting".

Sure. Peat moss.
FWIW, no amount of organic matter will help grow stuff without - ready? - water :) .
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 07:16:42 -0400, dadiOH wrote:

Well, I have plenty of wood chips so I'll see if adding those will help!
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You need to compost them first, same with sawdust. If you just dig them in will use up most of the nitrogen already in the soil or added by you and your plants won't be happy.
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On Tue, 06 Sep 2016 09:56:25 -0700, Oren wrote:

Hi my huckleberry friend,
You understood the quest. The quest is to learn, so I appreciate the advice that maybe the local (something) will help with testing the soil.
That's my first quest - which is to *assess* scientifically (as cheaply as possible, of course) the soil.
My first assessment was to ask you guys for an informal assessment based on the pictures. DO you think this stuff is sufficient to grow huckleberries?
As for the plants growing together - that's interesting. Very interesting. We'll limit the plants to whatever the kids or we adults eat, but both basil and peppers and tomatoes too are in the mix.
In fact, the wife grows basil and peppers all the time (but she uses potting soil).
The goal here is to figure out if the soil is good to start with. - I need to figure out its ability to hold moisture - but how? - I need to figure out its current NPK values - but how? - I need to figure out its level of organic material - but how?
Then I need to figure out what to add to compensate for deficiencies.
How does the soil in the OP look (from the pictures) compared to yours?
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On Tue, 06 Sep 2016 12:17:55 -0700, Oren wrote:

Do you think this soil is "loamy"? To me, loamy means loose and airy. It seems clumpy to me.

Interesting. Darker? This is coffee colored. The classic rock out here is red chert. It's really mud from the ocean. It's only about 30 million years old, which is relatively young stuff (as geology goes).

Hmmm... what does the extra foot in the air get you? Why raise the beds?

I'm up in the Santa Cruz area, so maybe the Santa Cruz UC will have that. I'll check.
http://eps.ucsc.edu/research/facilities/geochem-rock.html
They seem to have good contact information: http://eps.ucsc.edu/about/contact-visitors.html
Heck, they even have a "Household Archeology Lab"! http://anthro.ucsc.edu/labs/lab-operations/index.html
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On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 20:19:37 -0000 (UTC), Danny D. wrote:

Their phone number is odd, as it either gives a busy signal, or it says it's not in service... 831-459-4089
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On Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 4:19:40 PM UTC-4, Danny D. wrote:

Check out the Master Gardeners program:
<http://mbmg.ucanr.edu/ Cindy Hamilton
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On 9/6/16 4:41 AM, Danny D. wrote:

Some cut.
Here is a list of land grant universities: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_land-grant_universities They were set up to help farmers but one near you might have other information. This is to the University of Nebraska: http://extensionpubs.unl.edu It does have some stuff on gardening.
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On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 14:40:02 -0500, Dean Hoffman wrote:

Thanks for teh pointers. I found this "LIST OF LABORATORIES FOR TISSUE/SOIL/WATER - AGRICULTURAL ANALYSIS". http://cecentralsierra.ucanr.org/files/115331.pdf
The only one that is close is Eurofins STA Laboratories ?V 7240 Holsclaw Rd Gilroy, CA 95020 408-846-9964 F 408-846-9954 http://www.eurofinsus.com/ Grapevine disease testing & diagnostics, seed (health, analysis, & purity), & resistance screening
I called them, and they said they only analyze grapevines. So they gave me the Demoines main number 515-265-1461 to ask for more detail.
They also said UC Davis seems to do a lot of grape-soil testing, even though the wikipedia you gave me only lists UC Berkeley. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_land-grant_universities#California
So, it seems, out here, they are mostly focused on vineyards.
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On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 20:19:36 -0000 (UTC), Danny D. wrote:

I called the Iowa number but they only do nutrition analysis. So they suggested the universities.
I'll try UC Santa Cruz next ...
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On Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 4:28:13 PM UTC-4, Danny D. wrote:

Why don't you ask some neighbors in the area what they grow? Anyone have a garden? Any local garden centers that sell veg plants and such? That would be more useful than us telling you what we have and do in NJ. Let's put it this way, given the soil you showed us, if I was going to buy a farm to grow vegetables, I wouldn't pick your place. Any farms there? What do they grow besides rocks and agnst?
Assuming there isn't something terrible about that soil that you;ve sifted, eg it's full of salt or something, then if you want to use it, get some organic matter like peat moss, well rested manure, or similar and mix some of that in with it. That plus some fertilizer should be fine for growing typical plants. Get the PH tested, they even have cheap test kits at HD or online, correct if needed.
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On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 15:34:59 -0700 (PDT), trader_4 wrote:

I know of a fifty acre plot with a garden out back, but he brought in soil.

Sure. Home Depot. OSH. Lowes. That's about all "I" know, but there must be more.

Out here? It's all vineyards. No farms.

I wonder how to *test* the organic matter content of the existing soil?

I'll look for a ph kit. I have a pool ph kit (drops). I wonder if that will work somehow.
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On Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 7:09:22 PM UTC-4, Danny D. wrote:

You can use the pool kit. Just put a tablespoon or two of soil into about 1/4 cup of water. Mix it up, then let it settle for a few hours or overnight. Carefully collect some of the clearest water at the top to fill your pool test tube. It's a little harder to read the color because the water probably will be cloudy, not clear, but you can get a good idea of what the PH is. You want around 6.5 to 7 for most things. You can look up what specific plants like.
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On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 16:27:23 -0700 (PDT), trader_4
Did we hear where this was? (I am not following it that closely) I know in Maryland south of DC, the "dirt" is pretty much concrete without the portland. It is a mix of round stones grading all the way down through sand to silty clay. When my father wanted a garden, he dug out about a foot of this "bank run gravel" sifted out the stones and replaced them with a mixture of peat moss and cow manure to get a foot of "soil". He grew all sorts of stuff successfully. I good friend of mine came from a family that made their fortune digging up large tracts, grading it into concrete aggregate and selling it. He was left with large tracts of quicksand that would harden into clay and useless to everyone. Then he got the contract from the DC sewer plant to haul away the sludge., They mixed it with the clay and after it aged a while, they had the best top soil around. Unfortunately, tomato seeds survived the while trip and people had wild tomatoes coming up in their yard.
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On Tue, 06 Sep 2016 20:00:56 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I have some wild tomatoe plants from where I threw some of teh household waste as compost. Tall plants. Little yellow flowers but no tomatoes. I joke the bees didn't do their job. The plant already is about 4 feet tall, but no tomatoes. Sigh.
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wrote:

Tomatos need cool nights to set fruit.
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 07:26:08 -0400, dadiOH wrote:

Interesting. Very interesting. We never get cool nights in the summer. You can go out naked and wouldn't even shiver.
Here is a picture I just snapped of the tomato plant, with little yellow flowers, but NO TOMATOES!
http://i.cubeupload.com/Si8QN3.jpg
That was planted from an old half-eaten Costco tomato. But save for the pretty flowers, there are no tomatoes! :(
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Define cool. In San Jose, the average summer nighttime temperature is in the upper 50's. Higher elevations (above the marine layer) will be warmer at night. Locations further from the bay get cooler at night (e.g. almaden will be in the lower 50's) and warmer during the day.
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/climate/yeardisp.php?stn=KSJC&wfo=mtr&year 16&spanlendar+Year
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On Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:53:05 GMT, Scott Lurndal wrote:

I can see San Jose from my kitchen window so I'm within 25 miles of the center of San Jose. I'm just up on the hills.
So, my weather is essentially the same as yours only a bit cooler in the summer and a bit warmer in the winter by a few degrees each.
NOTE: I would have thought it would be the *other* way around, but in the winter, we're about 10 degrees warmer in the day because, I guess, we get a *lot* more sunlight than you do because you're covered in fog when we're in blue sky (the clouds are below us almost always).
I'm not sure why it's cooler in the summer. Maybe the wind but there's not much wind, even up here, in the summer.
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