By Jannie Vaught
Preparation is simply improving fertility in our garden soil. There are tests you can have done, check the Ph. and look closely at the soil for how much clay, sand, and silt. Place a good deep amount of soil in a glass jar filled with water shake and let it settle. You will see the many layers and the carbon or plant material will float, sticks and twigs. If you fish you can save all the “cleanings” my dad kept a milk carton in the freezer and when he would clean the fish he would place in this carton in the freezer and when it was full he would bury it away from the garden and wait 6 weeks and then turn it into his garden.
You can save all your egg shells, heat them to 200 in your oven on a old cookie tray, cool and place in your blender, calcium. The fine sand from our river can be a bonus for clay-heavy soil and add minerals, the finer the better. Epsom Salt, add 2 tablespoons to one gallon of water dissolve and spray on tomatoes and peppers as soon as the flowers show twice monthly. Of course, there are the composting areas we use. just “let it rot” and don’t be in a hurry to use it. Turn it regular and watch it breakdown into a fine soil addition.
If you had blossom end rot in tomatoes and even peppers, squash and watermelon especially during the end of a long hot season you need to feed the soil, as the plants have used all the available calcium and un-even watering will make this worse. The plate is empty and it need a second helping to grow fully next season. Here are 3 ways to restore.1: Choose resistant varieties whenever possible. 2: Prevent problems by keeping the soil evenly moist, think soaker lines and a timer on the hose. You can foliar spray with kelp or a calcium solution.3: prepare the soil with Bone meal, oyster shell or gypsum, turn this in and a good sprinkle of garden sulfur and a little garden lime to “Sweeten” the soil for the calcium uptake. Of course, mulch to hold in moisture and reduce weeds and regular feeding with a good Tomato feed can be used on the other plants prone to this issue. It will not spread from one plant to the other but if the soil is needing support they can all be susceptible.
Much of what we need to prepare is most likely in your garden shed or in your kitchen so be a good steward of your possibilities and use what you have at hand. You can even spray plants with watered-down milk to prevent some pests. You just never know what you will need and most often it is right at hand.
Preparing and Growing Green With Jannie