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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Agriculture 101...DUH!

After attending that $43,560 per acre conference a few weeks ago, I decided to start some fall gardens in new spots, both in VA and NC. My theory is that maybe one of the two spots will succeed. If both do, we are on great shape.

The speaker that day told us not to call him for help unless we knew our pH. I came home, pulled samples in both areas, and sent them off to NCDA. Thought the yard soil here would stink, but for some dumb reason thought the VA land would be better on analysis.

NCDA sends emails with attachments for our reports of analyses. We can then download and print them, which is what we do for all of our permit analyses for the farm.

Just received the email with my garden samples. OMG! Do we need to lime both places. Only 5.8 here, but the VA spot is 4.7! Glad I checked this in time.

I had already murdered several vegetable sets this spring, thinking the soil there couldn't be but so bad...it is a beautiful sandy loam. Not that soil type is the key to pH...and, no one has ever spread lime there, as far as Mike recalls.

I have already limed the beds I had built there last year and the year before. Now, I see I need to really get busy with a few bags in the ones I built this spring, and in the tilled garden. Probably could stand a second application on even the ones I had already done.

I have $500 worth of rosebushes sitting in this very acidic soil right now. They look pretty good, since they tolerate neglect as true survivors in abandoned gardens and old cemeteries. Still their range is a 5.0 on the low end.

Glad we were planning to stop by the garden center on our way up tomorrow afternoon. Several sacks of lime are on the list now.

Do you guys ever soil sample in your garden areas, only if you start a new area, or not at all? Or, do you just lime every year anyway?
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4 Replies
turkey feather
Senior Contributor

Re: Agriculture 101...DUH!

We have not tested recently but maybe that is what we need to do.  Never had so many problems with growing a garden. Potatoes did not come up as they should and now there are hardly any potatoes on the plants.  I think I have one slicing type tomato and two of something different than the label stated. Taking a long time for the beans and cucmbers to set on due to the heavy rains. Unusual year.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Agriculture 101...DUH!

I was shocked at the things that have done okay in the new beds, once I saw the reports. Surely, they will do better once the pH is buffered to allow better nutrient absorption.

We will be liming as we soon as we get back there...I have enough for here for what is open to grow on now. Most of this spot is under black plastic, to kill weeds and grass, until subsequent plantings. Of course, the mulch and compost we are using will help, too.

I was surprised at how little fertilizer was prescribed, though. Almost none, so that the compost we added after sampling will be more than sufficient.
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Re: Agriculture 101...DUH!

Many years ago my FIL  wanted my husband to spread some pig manue in the YARD!   Tom said  I don't think so.  So when pulling field soil samples he checked the yard.    The yard could have grown a good corn crop.      I grow most of my flowers in field top soil that hasn't been herbicided that year YET.     So most of my soil tests pretty high.   Remember  I have black top soil.      Did spread a little dry fertilizer in the new grass seedings   and that really seemed to help.     If I ever thought we were low on lime  we'd just tell the lime spreader to turn it on as he drove by to the next field.   Also,  we use to live on a gravel road and we have gravel in our driveways that come from the same quarry our lime comes from.   I'd bet we have a pretty good  PH  just by dust.  

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Agriculture 101...DUH!

Well, I guess road dust has its virtues, too, then!  As for spreading manure in the yard, I would have to say "NO!" to that also. 

 

Mike brought several tons of fairly well composted sheep manure to this garden, and a few more of dried sheep and worm compost to the one at Jenna's.  Sheep poo is very nice, not too hot, so shouldn't burn the plants as it further decomposes. 

 

We haven't needed lime in eons here in NC.  The pastures in VA receive biosolids, and the company that uses the land for application has to soil test.  The material is lime stabilized, so none needed there, either. 

 

I made the mistake of putting on the black plastic on most of the bigger garden here before I got the results.  I will thus have to lime each section as I pull the cover back to plant more rows. 

 

Mike and I got the first two of twelve rows of drip irrigation set up and running this afternoon.  That included the header line, filter, and pressure regulator.  Now, if I can just program the timer, we will be in business.  Will punch and connect the rows as we need them. 

 

Got to go find my planter plates for the little hand seeder.  I know they haven't been thrown away, but finding them is a headache right now.  I have twelve boxes in the garage, and I hope they are in one of those. 

 

 

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