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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 8:41 am 
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Right now, I believe my raised garden is ammended correctly following Howard's suggestion in his book. How often should I add add'l ammendments assuming that with each season or crop I may be losing something from the soil? I do usually refresh it each year by adding compost and mulch but what about all the other stuff?

What's your experience?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 10:15 am 
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It depends. Some people use dry natural soil amendments weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. I use my homemade diluted aerated compost teas as foliar/soil drenches all over my plants and soil at much as 1-2 times a week on my heavy feeding crops and plants!

You really can't overdo it with low nitrogen, natural soil amendments. The real reason is because, they are mostly insoluble, and the aerobic bacteria and fungi in the soil will break them down, and digest them later, into available soluble nutrients for your plants, whenever the plants really need it anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:08 am 
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what about lava sand, green sand, dry molasses, sulphur etc...?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 12:00 pm 
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Lava sand? I don't know. I've never used it in my area.
However, any sugar product like dry molasses powder, should be used mainly in a tea brew or in composting. Sugars are high carbohydrate foods, that drive microbes crazy, and build up their growth and activity.

If any sugars are used straight on the soil, too much of it can cause a temporary nitrogen deficiency to nearby plant roots in the soil. If sugars are dissolved in tea brews or in compost bins, the soil/composting microbes will have already digested the sugars into carbonic acid, ethanol, or acetic acid, which is fine for the soil, if used properly.

Too much sulfur can cause both an excessive acidic soil pH, plus harm many beneficial soil microbes, because sulfur is also a natural fungicide as well as essential micronutrient. Too much lime or calcium carbonate or wood ashes, will make your soil pH too high or alkaline.

The key with any fertilizer or soil amendment is balance, moderation, and wisdom.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 2:21 pm 
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Thanks Cap'n - I follow Howard's recommendations in his organic veggie garden book precisely which does call for dried molasses right in the soil, of course at a specific rate. I guess my question really is, after several years of planting and harvesting, should you need to "refresh" these organics to keep the soil at its peak.

I understand about regular foliar and soil feeding, keeping mulch etc..but it's just the other stuff I mentioned above that has me wondering. Thanks for you input.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 2:55 pm 
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If you don't use any other natural soil amendment but just pure compost, you have to at least apply compost to your lawn and garden every year.

All your plants as well as soil organisms are constantly using the nutrients in compost and other organic matter in the soil all the time. By the end of just 12 months, a 12" mound of compost in a garden bed, can shrink down to about 2-6" easily, due to extreme aerobic microbial activity and digestion the soil, and plant roots uptake of available nutrients!

Since I'm a no-till organic farmer, I'm constantly adding organic matter to my lawn and garden monthly, by using tons of compost, organic mulches, and cover crops, over my 3/4 acre lawn and garden areas.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 8:13 pm 
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The Cap is right. Once you reach a certain balance, you needn't add more than compost for the most part. I water in molasses every couple of weeks to keep the microbes happy and productive, and a foliar feed once a month for an easy boost. When you allow your dead plants to decompose back into the ground you are returning the nutrients you put into the soil initially. This is most evident in turf management; every time you mow and leave the clippings on the soil, you essentially fertilize again! Some plants take and don't readily give back; that's when you need to add more. So mostly it depends on what you're growing.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 7:18 am 
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Some heavy feeders like sweet corn or watermelons, require more foliar/soil drenching or more dry soil amendments, that other plants.

I see composting, mulching, and green manuring as long term sources of food for my soil microbes, and of course sources of humus.

However, I see using teas (specially homemade special aerated compost tea recipes) as available soluble nutrients for my plants, and as a biostimulant on plants and in the soil, in order to make my compost, mulches, and green manures, work harder and go farther throughout the seasons.

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