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GARDENING IN POOR SOIL

What are your options if your soil isn't very rich?  Here are some examples of poor soils.

1.  Compacted soil.  This soil doesn't absorb rain well, and has very little airflow down into the soil.

2.  Clay soil.  For one reason or another, the top soil has been stripped away, leaving just clay.  You need a lot of help.

3.  Sandy soil.  For very sandy soils, if you don't have good organic content to hold onto nutrients, fertilizers can be flushed away with a good rain.

4.  Soil low in organic matter.  The long-term use of chemical fertilizers or poor conservation methods can contribute to this condition.

5.  Soil damaged by chemicals.  Chemical fertilizers are high in salt that kills microbes in the soil.  Pesticides and herbicides are detrimental to soil life as well.

Of course, your long-term goal is to correct these problems in the soil.  You could till up your soil and add in a ton of compost, either homemade or purchased, such as peat compost, composted manure, mushroom compost, blood or bone meal, or vermicast (worm castings).  However, this could get quite expensive, and be very labor intensive.

Option B  -  Rely heavily on foliar feedings.

 

Plants have little openings in their leaves, called Stomata.  These open in the evenings when the temperature falls below 80 degrees, and close in the morning, when temperatures rise above 80 degrees, which helps the plant to retain its moisture.  Foliar feedings feed the plant through their Stomata, and are best done when the Stomata are open.

 

An Intensive Fertility Program for Poor Soils

 

I planted a garden in an area with very poor soil.  This is what I did to overcome this problem.

 

1.  Organic matter.  I used a garden tiller to break up the top 5 or 6 inches of soil. In areas that were totally red clay I mixed in a little mushroom compost and cow manure compost to add organic matter.  I didn't add a lot of this because of cost.  If money was no object a 1 part compost to 2 parts soil works well.

2.  Calcium.  Since the soil was so poor, I mixed in 100 pounds of High Cal. lime per 1,000 sq. ft.  A standard application is 40 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.  It is actually best to get a soil test done to see how much calcium is needed.

3.  At planting.  Next I used a garden rake to form the soil into raised beds or rows, depending on the crop.  I mixed 3 ounces of Huma-Tec and 1 ounce of Ocean Trace with a gallon of water, and used this as a planting solution.  For each seed planted, I closed the hole, than poured an ounce of this mixture right over the seed.  Where the soil was just clay, I put 2 ounces over each seed.  This mixture greatly improves germination, and gives the plant a good start. 
To make a transplanting solution, mix 2 ounces of Huma-Tec and 1 tablespoon. Ocean Trace per gallon of water, and pour some in the hole before placing in the plant.

4.  Pre-emergenceOcean Trace and Fish Fertilizer work really well together.  I mixed 2 qts. Fish Fertilizer to 1 cup Ocean Trace and used a hose end fertilizer sprayer (can also be purchased at a Lawn and Garden store) to spray it on the soil.  This quantity is enough to treat 1,000 to 2,000 sq. ft., depending on just how poor the soil is.

5.  Two weeks after the plants emerged from the soil, I mixed 1 gallon of water with 1 ounce of C4 and 1 tsp. of Ocean Trace, and use a spray bottle or back pack sprayer to wet the leaves.  This application helps the plant to establish a wonderful root structure and to become more robust.  It has been said that, all else being equal, a plant's yield is pretty much determined in the first 21 days after emerging from the soil, so this is an important application.  For great results, I repeated this application every 3 weeks.  A hose end sprayer will not work because it adds too much water.  We want a one ounce per gallon mix to be sprayed on the plant.

6.  Foliar applications.  Once a week throughout the season I applied the following foliar application.  I mixed together 4 parts fish fertilizer, 3 parts Huma-Tec and one part Ocean Trace, and using my hose end fertilizer sprayer, I sprayed 1 cup of this mix over every 1,000 sq. ft. of garden.  Again, this application is best made in the morning before 10 a.m.  It can also be made in the evening after it cools off  (the stomata are open when the air temperature is below 80 degrees).  If you would rather feed your plants twice a week, just reduce the amount of mix to 4 ounces for every 1,000 sq. ft. of garden.

By using this method, even with very poor soil it is possible to provide your garden with all the food it needs.  Fish Fertilizer and Huma-Tec are a good source of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and trace minerals, plus they are a wonderful source of carbon.  Ocean Trace is a concentrated and well balanced source of trace minerals.  Don't be surprised if you have the best tasting and most nutritious garden ever.  Bon Appetit.

 

A Fertility Program for Better Soils

 

Perhaps you have half-way decent soil, but want to boost your garden's nutrient density and yields.

 

1.  Calcium.  Do a soil test for calcium levels, and follow the recommendations to bring your soil to around 75% base saturation rate of calcium.  Use the right type of Calcium for your locale.  A standard application is 40 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft., but it is best to do a soil test and get it right.

2.  Organic matter.  Mix some rich organic compounds into the soil.  Examples are mushroom compost, cow manure compost,  bat guano, vermicast, or your own homemade compost.

3.  At planting.  If you want to really get the plant established, consider mixing 8 ounces of Huma-Tec and 2 ounces of Ocean Trace with a gallon of water, and pour an ounce over each seed planted. 
To make a transplanting solution, mix 2 ounces of Huma-Tec and 3 tsp. Ocean Trace per gallon of water, and pour a little into each hole for transplanted plants.

4.  Two weeks post emergence.  Two weeks after the plants emerge from the soil, mix 1 gallon of water with 1 ounce of C4 and 1 tsp. of Ocean Trace, and use a spray bottle or back pack sprayer to wet the leaves.  This application helps the plant to establish a wonderful root structure and to become more robust.  It has been said that, all else being equal, a plant's yield is pretty much determined in the first 21 days after emerging from the soil, so this is an important application.  Repeat  this application just as the plant is beginning to fruit.  Note: A hose end sprayer will not work because it adds more water than the one ounce per gallon ratio.

5.  Foliar applications can make such a difference in the quality of what you are growing.  You may choose to make foliar applications once or twice a month, or to decrease the amount in the application and "spoon feed" the plant more often. 

For these foliar applications you may choose to use a hose end fertilizer sprayer, or a back pack sprayer (or even a spray bottle, for small areas).  The most important item in this application is Ocean Trace.  You may choose to add to this Fish Fertilizer and/or Huma-Tec.  A good ratio is 4 parts fish fertilizer, 3 parts Huma-Tec and one part Ocean Trace. 

If using a hose end sprayer, once every 2 to 4 weeks add 1 cup of the above mix (4 oz. fish, 3 oz. Huma-Tec and/or 1 ounce Ocean Trace every 2 to 4 weeks) and spray over every 1,000 sq. ft. of garden.

For a back pack sprayer or spray bottle, add any or all of the following to enough water to make a gallon of mix, and mist onto the leaves once every 2 to 4 weeks.

2 ounces fish
1.5 ounces Huma-Tec
3 tsp. Ocean Trace

 If you want to apply a foliar application more than once every 2 weeks, proportionately reduce the amount of product you use in each application.  You don't want to over do it.

Remember, this application is best made in the morning before 10 a.m.  It can also be made in the evening after it cools off  (the stomata are open when the air temperature is below 80 degrees).

 

Recommended applications for Great Soils

You have worked hard to build up your soil, and it is in great shape.  Congratulations, and good job!  In all likelihood the preceding points 4 and 5 would still be quite helpful. 

Of greatest importance is to make one or more foliar applications of Ocean Trace.  This product is incredible for the wonderful balance and density of micronutrients it supplies to both plants and soil. 

 

 

Creating Wonderful Soil


 

OCEAN TRACE

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