Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Great Soil is a Gardens Foundation", Part 3

   Okay, you say, "there's more about soil"? There is probably more about soil than I can even mention. Remember soil preparation is probably one of the most important thing we can do as gardeners. Getting this stage of gardening right makes the rest of your season so much easier! Why is this?

#1 Three great reasons: 1) Moisture, if you keep the soil good and fluffy, not to sandy or hard. It will hold more water, which results in less watering and very helpful during the dry part of the season. 2) Micronutrients, these are all the great minerals and vitamins the plant needs to grow strong and healthy. This means less deceased plants and all that "Yummy Goodness" is passed onto you! 3) And having the right soil means more worms! They will keep those roots moving around with ease and they help keep your soil loss!
    Tip: Worm Tubes! Several people have been introducing, "worm tubes" in their gardens. It's kinda like a worm buffet, the thought is to have a place actually in the garden where you can put vegetable scraps; the worms then come into the bottom of the tube, eat through the scraps, and move out into the garden to deposit their castings. I learned this from my neighbor's garden. They are the white tubes in the corners!

#2 What if my soil drains to quickly? Well its probably way to sandy. So what you will need to do is add more organic matter to it, such as compost. Have you seen a trend, having a "Compost Bin" or access to it or other top soils will help and maintain just about any soil type!
#3 So we have talked about "Black Gold" compost being very important in the garden but one of the final things is called "Green Manure" or A Cover Crop.
  1) So what is a cover crop, its a crop for soil protection or enrichment, a crop planted between main crops to prevent erosion or to be plowed in to enrich the soil.
  2) What benefits do cover crops have?
      Cover crops: Improve soil health, Scavenging soil nitrogen, Improve yield potential over time, Improve weed control of winter annuals, Reduce erosion, Increase earthworm populations, Improve soil microbiology, Build Soil Organic Matter, Help you with manure management, Provide excellent grazing opportunities (if you have live stock)

      Cover crop roots, along with the additional earthworms: Increase soil organic matter, Increase soil porosity, Increase soil aeration, Increase “channels” for future row crop roots to follow, Reduce compaction, Increase nutrient recycling

Types of Cover Crops:
   Winter Rye is a common winter cover crop, sown after cash crops are harvested in the fall.
   Oats are used as a winter cover crop to protect the soil without requiring intensive management in the spring, because they are frost-killed.
   Annual Ryegrass is a low-growing cover crop that produces an extensive root system that is good at capturing leftover nitrogen.
   Sudangrass and Sorghum-sudangrass (Sudex) are fast-growing, warm season crops that require good fertility and moisture to perform well.
   Buckwheat is a fast-growing summer annual that can be used to protect the soil and suppress weeds for a month or two between spring and fall cash crops. It grows fairly well on acid and low phosphorus soils.
   Japanese Millet is an annual grass that grows about 4 ft tall and can provide good weed suppression.
   Brassica cover crops such as Oriental mustard have been associated with disease suppression in a subsequent cash crop.
   Red Clover is a short-lived perennial that is somewhat tolerant of acid or poorly drained soils.
   White Clover is a low-growing perennial, tolerant of shade and slightly acid soil. Ladino types are taller than the Dutch or wild types.
   Sweetclover is a biennial that is deep-rooted and adapted to a wide range of soils.
   Hairy Vetch has become increasingly popular as a cover crop.
   Alfalfa requires deep, well-drained soil with a pH near neutral for good growth.
   Tip: You can mix this together if you wish and you will get a longer growing season, if you wish to allow the soil to rest a year. If not at least have a good crop rotation each growing season.

  I think we can leave the soil topic now. Like I said, I'm sure there are more tips and topics we can discuss. If you remember one that wasn't covered leave a comment and I will do my best or hopefully its something I don't know about and you can teach me something, which isn't that hard to do, lol!

 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:10

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  1. This has been a great series, Clint. I think sometimes we forget just how important soil is. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I need to incorporate some of these ideas to help my soil, I believe it does need the help:)
    Thank you so much for joining Lets Get Social Sunday:) I am returning the visit and the follow:)

    Have an awesome weekend and happy planting:)

    1. Our soil always needs helps that's why crop rotation is so important!

  3. love the idea of a worm tube!


  4. So much valuable advice! Last year my raised-bed garden did not do as well as I hoped. I am sure it was the soil. I will be incorporating your advise and I bet it will improve this year.

    I discovered your blog through the Sunday Social hosted by Evelyn at My Turn For Us blog. So glad I found you. I am not just a follower, I am an email subscriber now too!


    1. Sometimes the raised beds need a little more water when you first get started with them! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  5. You have a wonderful blog!! I'm your newest GFC follower from the “Lets Get Social Sunday” blog hop - this is my blog if you wanted to follow back:

    1. Thank you for stopping in, I will be right there, lol!

  6. Hi Clint!
    I like the worm tube idea :) Great info! I hope you have time to stop by and link up to The HomeAcre Hop on Thursday on my blog at:

    Hope to see you there! Have a blessed week :)

  7. Love, love, love that I stumbled upon this on TALU. I'm getting ready to roll up my sleeves in a few months to get my garden ready for planting. This will be helpful. I love the worm tube idea. Is it an actual tube or just a place to put the scraps? I have a worm farm in my basement, but it's really small. I just love that worm tube idea!

    1. So glad you stopped by and that this maybe helpful! Please continue to stop back anytime!

  8. Worm tube is a great idea. Can you do a whole post about it? I did read the link, but would like a more detailed description. Thanks!

  9. Great post Clint! Thank you. Thank you too for linking up to the blog hop! So glad to have you with us.

  10. I have a lot to learn I am planning my second garden.... the first was not that great: (

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop!

  12. Hugs and Thank you for sharing at the hop :-)

  13. Excellent article. Worm tubes are new to me so I'll be checking them out to share myself.

  14. Hi Clint,
    Please stop by Hibiscus House and pick up your featured button because you have been featured from our Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop...

  15. Hi Clint.
    Great post, as usual. I am learning about another woe this week. I did my own soil testing at the new place (we are on a well) and found that the pH is pretty high. I am now reviewing all my old soil science literature to find out what will be the most economical way to manage my soil pH in those raised beds and in my new fruit orchard. I have never had this problem before. Lol. There's always something. If you have any knowledge on this subject I'd appreciate your ideas. We got a filter for the house, but that's not affordable for the garden plots. I'm thinking about using a pelleted soil acidifier? I need to keep reading. Maybe I will call the local farm adviser.

    1. If you have anything that you can call a farm I would contact your State Agricultural dept. Growing up on the farm, I remember every so many years we would be able to send in soil samples and they had a program that would allow for so much Lime and/or fertilizer to be sent for us to spread on the fields. Dad also would do this on his gardens and in his orchards.
      If you don't have that option, the cheapest way to get the pH neutral is with bilk lime delivery, usually your local feed/farm supply store can help you with this.

  16. awesome post! thanks for linking in!!! sorry I am so late getting around...hope you will link up again soon!
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