-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!
-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!
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
One thing you can count on as a gardener this time of the year is plant diseases. I know of no gardener who does not experience at least some form of plant disease every garden season. Plants, like humans are susceptible to adverse environmental conditions, airborne viruses, weak immune conditions, etc. The healthier the soil and plant, the less likely it will be infected, but 100% avoidance, in my experience, is not likely. Indoor growers have a better chance because they can control the … [Read more...] about Minimizing plant disease through healthy soil