Amending Your Garden

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Well, it is already time to start thinking about the new garden season.

As Dr. Perring at UC Riverside said to me in an e mail long ago, it isn’t worth hanging on to plants that have one lone vegetable on it. So don’t think twice about pulling that plant out to get ready if it is on its last legs.

There are certain things you should be doing to prepare your soil for planting for a new season.

So, here is what I do each and every season to get my soil ready. Why? Because your present season has taken most of the nutrients out of your soil to give you the best new season vegetables possible. Now it is time to renew and enrich your soil. If you still have prior season crops producing, then only treat the bare spots of your garden and when present producing crops fizzle out, treat those areas. I never have a blank garden.

Our soil does not live by the horse manure alone that LBCGA provides for your use. What that manure does do is improve the tilth of your soil–keeps it loose and pliable. Our horse manure comes from a very clean stable and Joel, the owner composts it for at least a year which ensures that it is pathogen free. If you prefer to buy amendments instead, I have used Bumper Crop which I buy at H & H nursery. Remember one thing, more is not always better.

Each and every season, this is what I do. If crops are still growing from current season, divide amendments up and treat areas that are vacant and pick up areas that vacate later. This applies to all things listed below.

  1. Gypsum. Since our soil at LBCGA is clay, we need to loosen up the soil. I apply a bag of gypsum each season to keep the soil loose. What is gypsum anyway? It is calcium sulphate. DO NOT BUY POWDERED GYPSUM. BUY PELLETED or you will end up with cement when you water the powdered gypsum. I did it and it wasn’t fun
  2. Sulphate of Ammonia. Pure nitrogen. About 30 pounds should do it. Sprinkle over the entire empty spaces of your garden. Divide if garden is not completely bare.
  3. Sul Po Mag.   1 box divided over entire garden – purchased as Armstrong or other nurseries. You could add Sul Po Mag to your garden every month with no ill effects if you want.
  4. Super Phosphate.   Now this gets tricky. Only add super phosphate to your garden soil ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS!!!!!   How much? Sprinkle it like you are salting or peppering your food. Yes, that little bit.
  5. Horse Manure Add a couple of inches of our horse manure or if you want to, buy the amendment of your choice. These are big garden plots so who can afford to do that?

Water all of the above in a couple of times then till it in.

Happy Gardening!!!!!!!                                               Joanne Rice (K-10)