Seasonal Almanac

Minor snow: Rainbows hide (3 of 5)

May 24th, 2009

Minor snow 3 of 15Organic gardeners say, ‘It’s all in the soil.’ Our soil is reasonably rich in nutrient but the texture is on the clay-y side, so soil preparation is definitely a must. In previous weeks, we dug gypsum, cow manure, chicken manure, mushroom compost, blood and bone, and our own compost into the beds.

Bed 2 at the bottom of the garden will be the brassica bed and Bed 1 at the bottom of the slope in the middle of the garden will be the root vegetables bed. Both beds need to have slightly alkaline soil up to pH 7.5. In our enthusiasm, we tipped the pH of both beds to a little on the ‘sweet’ side. The soil measured 8 on the scale!

Australia soil is generally acidic and literature generally talks about sweetening the soil with lime or dolmite. To acidify soil, one can add iron chelate or sulphate. I scattered a couple of handfuls per square metre and gave the beds a good plough. We will have to wait and see if this did the trick.

2 Responses to “Minor snow: Rainbows hide (3 of 5)”

  1. 1 Lucas in Petersham
    June 10th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    hey jo, where do you get these soil testing kits from? is there any way to test other things than ph level? levels of contamination, say?

  2. 2 jolaw
    June 24th, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Lucas, you can get soil testing kits from nusery, garden shop, or hardware store. They are inexpensive and last quite a number of tests. The pH kit only tests pH. This is particularly important if you have cropping vegetables because different plants have their own optimal pH whcich they can absorb nutrients from the soil. Soil that is too sour or too sweet locks in these essential elements.

    As for contanimation, I think that would be a pretty specialised kit. We did have a soil scientist come our garden in Perth to test for the ‘mysterious’ death for the plants in our front yard.