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 Post subject: Need to lower pH
PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2003 8:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2003 8:47 am
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Location: Richmond, TX
I grow specialty cut flowers on 3 acres. I have had a problem in trying to lower my pH to 6 or 6.5. The first two years of production I used a lot of animal manures which turned out to be a mistake. My phos. is very high. I'm discouraged :( because I amended every bed last year with ammonium sulfate and sulpher (per Texas A & M) as well as feeding once per week with an acidic solution via my drip irrigation system. I just got my soil test back and now my ph is even higher (8.0-8.3)! I need some recommendations on bulk quantities of something I can put in the soil to bring this down....soon....I do a lot of planting in Nov.
Help please!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2003 1:03 am 
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If your soil tester didn't give you a suggestion, you need a new soil tester.

Try this one

http://www.txplant-soillab.com/

Tell them what you're growing and everything you know about the plants and your soil.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:22 am 
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Location: Dallas,TX
I would soak that soil with molasses quick. It'll help bring things back in balance. Humate will help too. Sorry you got such poor advice. That high nitrogen sounds good but it always, always causes problems in the long term. Stick to the general organic plans and you'll have great results with healthy plants. Good luck! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:58 am 
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Location: Richmond, TX
Where can I buy bulk quantities of molasses? And, how much per sq.ft. do you apply? Thanks so much for the help!


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 Post subject: High pH
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 10:07 am 
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Location: Dallas,TX
Almost all feed stores carry molasses in large bags. It comes out cheaper to use liquid if you have a liquid application method that's large enough for your acreage. I hope you are foliar feeding and if so have a way to spray the molasses using that. Ask them about liquid molasses too. You can get that in 55 gallon drums from a few places. I can steer you toward a distributor in N. Texas who carries them but don't know of one in your neck of the woods. Lowe's stores in your area (near Houston) have gallons for around $8 each and at 4 oz. per gallon of water, that will cover a lot of area but it's cheaper the other way. Humate can be mixed in (it's a powder) with the spray or mixed with cornmeal & dry molasses and spread. Cornmeal will help too; sorry I forgot to mention that in my first post. Ask your feed store about horticultural cornmeal, which will work the best, or just get the cheapest cornmeal in the largest quantity you can find. If you use all three dry ingredients be sure to water them in well. The combination of those will help a great deal. You'll see the health of the soil jump pretty quickly. And take David's advice on that new soil tester. They really know what they're doing and the results will provide you far better information.

I'm curious: What kinds of flowers do you grow?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2003 7:39 am 
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Location: Richmond, TX
Thanks so much for all your help Kathi. I've found a place in Houston that has 50lb bags of molasses. I grow about 50 different varieties of crops; everything from anemones to zinnias....also ornamental grasses, bulbs, a couple of woodies. I sell to high end florists in Houston and 2 wholesalers.
What is the function of the cornmeal?


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 Post subject: Cornmeal
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 9:03 pm 
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Location: Dallas,TX
Ah, sounds like a heavenly occupation to me! I hope I get some of your organically raised flowers some time! Glad you found the molasses!

Cornmeal (so far as we have been able to determine) encourages the growth of benefical fungus in the soil. It is truly amazing the way it eliminates black spot, crown rot and other problems. Just give it a try and I assure you it will prove an essential part of your soil amendments.
Every plant I have ever used it with has responded positively, sometimes with amazing speed and consistent health benefits. You cannot go wrong with this stuff.

Happy growing, flowergirl!
Kathe


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:53 am 
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A starting application rate for molasses is 3 ounces per 1,000 square feet used monthly or to suit your need. Dilute as you see fit for your sprayer.

You can find molasses in bulk at co-ops. The current rate is about $0.10 per pound. A gallon is 10.5 pounds. You have to furnish your own container to get that price. Old liquid laundry detergent bottles work well. So 10 gallons would cost $10.50 in bulk, 55 gallons would cost about $57.75.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 1:03 am 
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One more thing that Kathe alluded to that I wanted to mention. Dried molasses is made by mixing 45 pounds of chipped corn cobs or rice hulls with five pounds of liquid molasses. If you want the real stuff, get it in liquid form. The dried molasses also hardens up to a brick once the bag is opened and left around. So either use it all at once or be prepared to use a hatchet or something to separate it later.

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 Post subject: Molasses
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 8:58 am 
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Location: Dallas,TX
Yeah, I prefer application of liquid molasses because it is cheaper and easier in most cases for me to apply. Plus the action you get when you open a bag of the dry is exactly what you stated. I do think a heavier application than you mentioned would be of more help to flowergirl in this instance, though. I recommended 4 oz. per gallon because she needed to get heavy microbe activity quickly. May be overkill but it seems to be quite effective in most cases in bringing soil back to a better ph and soil consistency. Agreed?

And flowergirl, please do try the addition of cornmeal. It is just great.
I have never seen anything but benefit from adding it, even if it is just the cheapest dollar store variety. It could well become your secret weapon!
Kathe


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 Post subject: Cornmeal
PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 3:27 pm 
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Location: Dallas,TX
Thought I'd better add this codicil to this string to make sure you see it. Since you raise flowers for your income I would hate to affect that in a negative way.

Horticultural cornmeal still has some of the gluten and can have a negative effect on sprouting seeds. So add it in spare amounts or after your seedlings are up about 2-3" to avoid this situation. You can mix it in at a very low rate and still see the benefits with none of the preemergent qualities. Those qualities will die out as the gluten is broken down by microbes relatively quickly. So if you add it a month or so before you plant, you'll be fine.

Sorry I didn't think of this when posting earlier comments, but good that it came up so we could give you more information. Hope to see some feedback later on.
Kathe


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