Wednesday, June 17, 2009

compost and fertilizing

Compost burn on young kale plants. They were mature
enough however to endure the damage. Only the lowest
leaves were affected, and the plants outgrew it.
A fresh load of compost was delivered last week, which was used to finish up mulching the remaining beds in the Edible Landscape. The compost was pretty "hot" and burned many of the plants in those beds. In most cases the plants were large enough that only the lowest leaves were affected. A few smaller transplants are still struggling, but for the most part new growth is appearing, and things look a-ok. The compost will slowly add organic material and nutrients throughout the season, and the thick layer (about 3-5 inches) will act as a mulch to help inhibit weeds and hold moisture in the soil. The U of M Extension Service offers a lot of helpful information on composting and mulching in the home landscape.

Compost burn on a young nasturtium plant.
Soil samples were sent in this morning for analysis to start determining a fertilizing plan for the Edible Landscape. A soil test is an important step in fertilizing because it tells you exactly what nutrients are needed, thereby saving money and reducing excessive fertilizing. The U of M Soil Testing Laboratory explains the process and makes it simple to have your soil tested.

Compost burn on Osaka purple mustard.
A soil test and leaf tissue analysis will be performed for our container-grown blueberries. Marginal and interveinal reddening has been present on two of the three plants. The blueberries are potted in a mixture of peat and perlite. An organic acid fertilizer was mixed in at planting. With the results from both analyses, we'll know exactly what steps to take to improve growing conditions for the blueberries. The U of M Research Analytical Lab offers plant tissue testing (only available to University researchers and government agencies at this time), and provides detailed explanations on how to interpret results.

Chlorosis on blueberry leaves. Likely due to high soil pH.

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