-Ryan Blankenship- The very first step in determining if your soil is ready for planting is to simply dig yourself a small hole where you would like your planting site to be. By digging this small hole, you will be able to determine if you have loose or clay soil. Like many people in our area, we typically have a lot of red clay where we would like to plant. I also like to send a soil sample out to our state agricultural extension program to get tested to understand the NPK … [Read more...] about How to Tell if Your Garden Soil Is Ready for Planting
-Patrick Metz- This past weekend we had the folks from Mountain Gate Organics over at the Charlottesville store talking worms, soil, and biology. In anticipation of the day, we had made a couple hundred gallons of compost tea and were giving it away to any interested gardeners. Even more exciting was a little display we had set up with a microscope connected to a computer screen. Underneath the microscope two drops of the tea (made from worm castings and molasses introduced into water and … [Read more...] about It’s Soil, Not Dirt… And It’s Alive!
-Ryan Blankenship- What exactly is super soil? Super soil is a blend of many different amendments that will feed your plants from seed to harvest. This blend will give your plants all of the essential nutrients they need to lead happy lives and keep them from having any deficiencies. In this blog I will give you a great recipe and explain what each amendment does for your soil. 8 x 1.5 cu.ft. bags of organic soil (Roots Organic or Ocean forest works the best) 30 lb bag of … [Read more...] about Build Your Own Super Soil
-Luis Guerra- We carry a wide range of soils at our Fifth Season locations, and we know it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming to select a soil that’s right for your particular growing situation. It may seem like dirt, is dirt, is dirt, but the truth is that different plants have different needs, and even the same plants have different needs depending on where they are in their growth cycle. While we are always happy to talk with you in person, we thought it might be helpful to have a … [Read more...] about So Much Soil!
-Patrick Metz- I am getting ready to start a new garden plot. For years I have employed a technique known as double-digging to get started. The concept is simple and effective. The goal: create a deep bed of loose, well-amended soil without harming and undoing the work of the biology already in the soil - earthworms, microbes, fungi. This technique creates a beautifully cultivated plot and an excellent rooting zone for your future plants. So what's the catch? It is labor intensive and … [Read more...] about Raised-Bed Gardening
-Mike Weeks- Every year, I find myself getting asked how to amend gardens and raised beds with soil amendments. This can be easy to do, but there are a few steps that should be taken before applying anything. The first thing that should be determined is what your soil type is. What is the percentage of sand, silt, clay, and humus? I like to perform what is called a mason jar soil test to get that information. This is an easy process that will involve mixing a soil sample into a jar and taking … [Read more...] about Amending and Beyond!
At Fifth Season Gardening, we sell pretty much every amendment your soil needs to improve its health. But many customers purchase soil amendments to add to their soil without knowing what the soil needs first. This may be not only a waste of money, but also a waste of time. If plants already have enough of a particular nutrient, they either won’t absorb any extra added to their soil (which is a waste), or, what’s worse, they’ll overdose on the nutrient to the plant’s detriment. Too much … [Read more...] about Know What Your Soil Wants, Not What You Want
BioChar is an ancient technology that is having a renaissance, and for good reason. The production process can serve as a green energy source; the product is under investigation as a source of carbon sequestration to help reduce greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere; and BioChar is an amazing soil enhancer that gets great results in plant health and productivity. So what is BioChar? Basically, BioChar is charcoal used as a soil amendment. The charcoal is created from biomass (discarded … [Read more...] about (Re)Intruducing BioChar
Fall is a great time to think about improving your soil’s health. We have all kinds of great resources at our finger tips this time of the year including leaf mulch, moisture, aged compost (hopefully you’ve been working on this), and cover crops. This is the time of year when your trees and perennial shrubs put their energy into their root systems. They have just spent the last growing season using up many of the nutrients in the soil they are growing in. In the natural world, say an … [Read more...] about It’s time to improve your soil’s health
As cultivators, we are constantly competing with mother nature for growing space. If a space in your yard is left bare, you can be certain that some type of weed is going to move in, if the conditions are in its favor. Weeds, just like cultivated plants, thrive in conditions that are favorable for them to be successful. By observing the most prevalent types of weeds growing in one area, we can get an idea of the soil’s pH, nutrition content, moisture, compaction and can even help identify the … [Read more...] about How weeds can help you understand your garden