By Jannie Vaught
Now that we have fertilizer shortages, and planting time is here what are we to do? Compost, Compost Compost! If you have not already been building a compost area, where you add green, brown, and soil in layers and turn and water you hopefully can still purchase pre-made compost. Read the label! Let woody fiber be the lower addition on the ingredient list. Worm castings, manure, leaf compost, and fibrous content. You may have remaining leaves under some trees,, or even a pile of rotting leaves to add into the process.
The Soil Food Web diagrams on the internet have multitudes of diagrams of what is going on below our feet and that’s where we want to take a look. Also, there are many articles to read and study on the Soil Food Web. It explains the process in layman’s terms and you can go deeper with a microscope and actually see the life in your soil. For me I like simple, everything eats carbon. and that is how I keep it simple. I make leaf piles in the winter leaving large untouched areas for the soil living insects and larva, this time of year I begin to gather some of this material for the garden. I make my rows or fluff up the raised beds and I start planning what to plant in my journal. I make compost tea and give everything a good diluted drink along with a good watering as we are very dry and dusty. AS I Plant I fill the areas beside the rows or squares, whatever method you use with compost, and then a layer of “Mulch” which consists of leaves and hay. this will be taken into the spoil by the ever-hungry worms and creatures that live in the top inches of soil and they Poo out and leave castings that feed the bacteria that poo and feed the miconazole fungi that are attached to plant roots. Feeding the plant your tomatoes the nutrients the plant is sending messages to the roots to gather for fruit growth. I know this is very simplistic and believe me you can get much more scientific with the soil. I like more time outside and less in front of the computer or in a book. I often get the “side-eye” by gardeners when I say “The plant will show you what it needs!”
Yellowing leaves, too many green leaves no fruit, sick and dying, blossom end in rot for example. Then I get the books out and do my research. A healthy well-fed plant will produce healthy vitamin mineral-rich food for all your hard work. And this can be done this season but your soils will become healthy and full of life year by year. If you are worried about the fertilizer lack, keep in mind “Nature ” has everything you need, take some time and observe the natural landscape, The fertilizer issue will most likely have an impact on Big Farms. I like to see the bigger picture, many farms and ranches have been using No-till or Low till and Mob grazing for many years and know the impact of these practices, with Nitrogen-fixing cover crops such as clover to bring the process of feeding the soil. Or planting White dakon radishes in the winter to feed and break up hardpan soils and then grazing their cattle on the radishes with their pawing and pooping, they do the tilling while getting fed.
No worries gardeners, we have everything we need.
Growing Green With Jannie