Saturday, July 3, 2010

Making a Nutritious Soil Planting Mix

This recipe (from Nourishment Homegrown) will supply the proper nutrient mix for flowers to veggies, and it's easy to make.

Mix together 1 cubic foot of sand and 1 cubic foot of well-aged compost or aged sawdust. (Do not use pine sawdust.)

Mix together:
6 tablespoons High Calcium Lime
3 tablespoons Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum)
5 tablespoons Soft Rock Phosphate
1 tablespoon Kelp powder
1/2 teaspoon Copper Sulfate
1/2 teaspoon Iron Sulfate
1 teaspoon of Side Dressing (see below)
Mix well, add to the sand/compost mix and distribute evenly and thoroughly.

In a separate container, mix:
1/2 cup Fish Emulsion
1 pint food-grade Molasses
3-1/2 quarts water. You will use this mix to moisten the above dry mix, but do not add it all in at once.

To test for proper moisture level in the mix, make a golf ball size ball in your fist. If it will not stick together, the mix is too dry. To test for the mix being too wet, drop the ball from waist-high onto a hard surface like a sidewalk or driveway. If the ball splats but does not break apart it is too wet. If the ball does break apart, the moisture level is okay. You may need to add water if you have used all the moisture mix and it is still too dry.

Let this 'soil' sit for 14 days, and mix it a couple of times during the 14 days. Then it is ready to be used as a high quality general planting mix for any type of gardening.

Side Dressing by definition refers to a synthetic fertilizer that contains the full complement of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. You should have a soil test done to see if you have an abundance of any of those nutrients before applying this mix. If, for example, you have an abundance of potassium, you'd leave it out of the mix. (Note: A Top Dressing by definition contains no phosphate.)

Mix only what you will use immediately. Any unused will harden like a rock.

Side Dressing, equal parts by weight: (Start with 2 pounds of each to see how far it will go.)
Ammonium Sulfate
Single Superphosphate
Potassium Sulfate

To increase effectiveness of the side dressing, add 3 pounds granulated sugar (which is carbon source) to the 6 pound mix above. The sugar will hold the fertilizers in the top active layer of the soil for a longer period, and the carbon in the sugar will pick up moisture and hold it to improve microbe activity in the plant root zone.

Using from 1 to 20 pounds of side dressing per 1,000 square feet of garden area can be very effective in nourishing the plants.

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