Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring is Near Time to Garden Let's Talk Dirt!

I love digging in the dirt. The whole process of turning the soil first thing in the spring, planting those first seeds or young plants, watering, weeding, reaping the results of my labor. No garden again this year for me so am going to share a virtual garden with you once again by way of the internet. So, lets jump in and get busy...

Before you can have a thriving lawn or garden you need to start with the basics and there is nothing more basic than the earth, dirt you are going to be growing in. You need to know your soil and feed it so it will be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Oh got carried away there. It doesn't matter if your yard or garden is a few acres or a small city lot, you need to know a bit about your soil.

Start with a basic soil test kit available at many local garden centers or through your county Cooperative Extension office. Just follow the instructions that come with the test. All you should need is a garden trowel or shovel to collect soil samples. If you don't have a trowel or shovel a big spoon will work too.

The test report will tell you the soil’s pH, which is its alkalinity or acidity; its major nutrients, such as phosphorous (listed as P); potassium (listed as K); and nitrogen (N); and its composition, such as sand, clay or loam. With the test report as a guide, apply only the nutrients needed for what you are growing.

Adding unneeded fertilizers not only wastes money but actually results in water pollution from runoff. Slow-release or natural organic fertilizers provide nutrients as needed and in small amounts—the way plants need them.

That's it for now - run down to Lowes (one of my favorite places to shop) and get yourself a soil (dirt) test kit...

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