Feeding the Hungry Soil Natural Ways of Enriching Your Soil for Gardening
Before one plans a garden or plants it, he takes a good look at the soil in which the seedlings and the plants are going to grow in the future. After all, you, being either an experienced gardener or a newbie, are the one who has to cope with the particular soil that you are blessed within your garden.
So it is of course not going to be any use at all, telling you to plant plants which grow best in a sandy soil, if your garden is full of heavy clay and heavy loam. And vice versa. That is why, this book is going to tell you all about the different types of cells, and how you can make them even more nutritious and nourishing for your plants through organic fertilizer.
The only type of soil which may not need organic manuring is the peaty soil, because it is already made up of rich organic components. However, this needs lime. This also needs organic fertilizers occasionally.
If the soil is made up of light sand, then it needs humus badly. Humus is the decomposed organic matter, which is normally found on the top surface of the soil. The humus content of the soil is going to help keep the sandy particles together and to make it less “droughty.”
If the soil is heavy clay, then it needs to be dug up and then “opening up” needs to be done, and it is only bulky organic matter added to the content that can do this properly.
Heavy clay soils will need a good drainage system, that is because they have the tendency of holding onto water, and that area is going to get waterlogged, if it is not able to drain away properly.
If you have a small garden and no drainage system, you are going to have your plants drowning just because the heavy clay soil has retained the water on the surface instead of absorbing it.
Under the circumstances, to get the excess water away, you can have what was traditionally known as a square well. This is in the lowest corner of the garden. The agricultural drainpipes are going to go straight to that drain well.
Soil with large percentage of sand has less amount of humus and organic matter. It also dries out very fast, especially in the summer season.
Those people who have sandy soil in their garden can consider themselves lucky because they can work them at any time of the year. Also, they are going to have soil which warms up quickly in the spring. It means that you are going to get earlier crops than soil which is full of clay.
However, there is just one drawback here. Sandy soil means that it is going to dry out in the summer and needs continuous watering in order to keep producing healthy crops.
Also, they are going to need large quantities of well rotted compost dug in or plowed in each year. This means that you are going to fill up two 2 gallon buckets of compost to every square yard. Apart from that, sandy soils are going to have a dearth of phosphates and potash. That is why you will have to add a fish fertilizer with about 10% potash content.
Clay soil has more retentive power, in the matter of keeping plant food well within reach of the soil. Sand does not have this quality. That is why there is going to be a steady loss of essential plant foods like nitrates, lime, and potash, as soon as the water is drained.
That is why the soil needs more feeding, than that you would do in heavy clays. Also, sandy soil likes showers and overhead irrigation. You can also make the sandy soil more productive by giving it plenty of mulch made up of sedge peat and lots of organic matter. This is the soil which is always going to be called hungry, so you need to keep feeding it.
If you have your garden in the city, you are already striving against one setback. The soil has lost all its natural goodness. That is because it is going to be heavily poisoned year after year by deposits from the atmosphere and from chimneys which are belching out poisonous emissions and fumes which poison the atmosphere and then come down to the earth in the form of acid rain.
Rich, powerful, valuable compost…
The basis of all manuring has to be organic matter. Unfortunately we have got so used to using chemical fertilizers, that we go on our merry way, blithely poisoning the soil, with chemicals because according to the gardeners who have sold it to us, these chemicals are going to nourish the plants.
These brand names have attractive names in order to entice the unwary customer, so you may find many fertilizers out there, under the name of let us say, QUIK-GRO, FAST-GRO, and so on. I have thought of these names, but you are going to find a number of brands persuading you to use their fertilizers in order to make your plants grow quicker.
Remember, that not even the most powerful fertilizer has the power to make your plant grow faster than what is in its natural capacity. A plant which takes 3 days to grow 1 inch is definitely not going to grow that 1 inch overnight, just on the application of superfast super phosphated, super nitrated, and other super fertilizer ingredients brought to you in one well packaged expensive bundle.
Also, it is impossible to make up for the lack of natural compost and dung by the use of artificial fertilizers. Let me take you as an example. Let me put you on a diet of organic fruit, organic vegetables, fresh milk, fresh fruit juice, and other fresh products, all-natural, for 3 months. After that, I am going to feed you plenty of preserved foodstuffs, foods full of chemical preservatives, colas, foods with lots of high fructose corn syrup, and other artificially packaged foodstuffs with just a few natural ingredients in it.
Of course, I am doing this last activity, because I have a deep-rooted loathing towards you, and I want to counteract all the good I did to you, the last 3 months, when I must have been moon mad. I am going to see the visible results within a week, and to my great glee and joy, you are going to lose your state of glowing good health, your skin and hair is going to look dull and luster less, and you are going to get grumpy, cranky, and feel a hundred percent lethargic, with no interest in anything at all.
This is what you have been doing to your plants by feeding them artificial fertilizers down the years. Instead of giving them natural food, which would keep them healthy, you have been feeding them poison, literally. Also, thanks to these artificial fertilizers, you have been eating food without its natural flavor. You are happy, you have had such a huge crop, thanks to the large amount of artificial fertilizer which you have strewn upon your ground with a liberal hand. But what about the natural taste? What about the vitamins, which would otherwise have been present in the vegetables grown in natural organic fertilizer. That is not any of your problem, because after all, you are not the one eating those vegetables. They are all going straight to the market. Let somebody else say, “Man, what bland tasting vegetables. They remind me of blotting paper”.
There are many traditional ways in which you can make compost, depending on the ingredients you have at hand. Also, it is going to depend on what activator you use, and how the work is going to be done. If you are keeping poultry, poultry droppings are also excellent activators, which can be kept in a bin and allowed to dry. Just put in some of this dried poultry droppings, in with the vegetable waste, available in the summer and in the autumn, just moisten the mixture – do not drown it in water – and you are going to have the activator working on this organic matter, really quickly. Are you can use this wasted away when there is lots of material to decompose and to put it in the bin, in the winter, so that plenty may be available for application the following composting season.
A bountiful harvest…
This book has given you a good idea of how you can enrich the soil before planting. Many people who are under the impression that using lots of chemical fertilizers which include ammonium sulfate, sodium nitrate, super phosphates, and potassium sulfate gives them an excellent yield may have their own point, because according to them, they cannot get bone meal, meat meal, horn meal, fish fertilizer, and even do not have the time to make organic compost.
Even the most traditional of organic gardeners may find it necessary to use a Nitro-based chemical fertilizer, especially in the beginning of the spring, when the weather has been really cold and wet and the bacteria have not been able to work as they should. Just putting a little bit of one of these nitrogenous fertilizers along the row of plants, at the rate of let us say an ounce to the yard, some extra available nitrogen is available almost immediately. The plants are thus going to perk up and you can think that the bacteria are also encouraged to wake up and do their job.
Also, just imagine that you find your celery rotting because there is a lack of a trace element known as boron in the soil. You are going to get over the lack of this element by applying a thin layer of borax crystals mixed up with sand, as a tonic to your celery before you planted the plants, at the rate of not more than 1/32nd of an ounce per square yard.
In the same way, let us take potash. It is a well-known fact that after regular applications of compost, you are going to have plenty of potash in the soil. Bracken is also rich in potash. However, sometimes your plants may find a deficiency of potash, and here you are going to take 2 ounces of potassium sulfate, and apply them to the square yard.
Ages ago, people used to get potash through wood ashes, applied at half a pound to the square yard. But nowadays, wood has become such an expensive commodity, that we would not want to chop down precious trees in order to get potash through wood ash when we have potassium sulfate available easily.
How to standardize a fish fertilizer. Here is one tip, which has been used by experienced gardeners all over the world. Buy some fish fertilizer with 5% potash content for your normal crops. However, if you are growing tomatoes, which need lots of potash, buy this fertilizer with a 10% potash content.
Believe it or not, fish fertilizer is going to replace the need for fertilizers in which you find ammonium sulfate, super phosphates, potassium sulfate, and so on. You are going to use it at the rate of 3 – 4 ounces to the square yard. This is done before you sow the seeds, or put the plants out. You can also use this as an activator on the compost heap, as I said before.
Also, if you find a place where you can get plenty of earthworms, remember that they are going to flourish in organic matter. However, you are poisoning the poor little things, by feeding your land chemical fertilizers. If you are using any sort of special tonics, according to the needs of the soil, you just have to apply them at 1 ounce to the square yard as a rule, especially if they are nitrogen-based
Remember that life, all life is going to begin in the soil. So feed the soil, by digging in ample organic matter each year and see the land flourish.
Live Long and Prosper!