Thursday, March 16, 2017

Your best garden starts now


Amending your garden soil in early spring is key to having a healthy, productive tomato and vegetable crop this season. A good soil amendment will make your existing soil healthier and more fertile by improving soil texture, helping to  lower pH (make your soil more acidic) and encouraging worms and microbes to flourish. Healthy soil encourages deeper root systems and makes nutrients more available to your vegetables.
An easy way to improve your soil is with packaged products such as Earth Essentials Sheep, Peat & Compost.  
In this example, we're working on improving a 10 square foot (5' X 2') section which will be used to grow heirloom tomatoes this season.
After opening the bag of Earth Essentials Sheep, Peat & Compost and spreading the contents evenly across our bed, you can see that 1 cubic foot bag of Sheep, Peat & Compost organic compost will cover 10 square feet (5X2) 2" deep. You can use this as a basis for calculating how much you'll need to buy to amend your current bed or start a new vegetable bed.
Other choices for bagged soil amendments include Canadian Peat Moss,
Earth Essentials Cow and Compost, 
Nature's Yield Organic Compost and
Sunleaves Coconut Coir.  At this point, you can add some Peat Moss or Coconut Coir to the mix to help acidify the bed even more. Tomatoes and most plants do best when the pH is acidic, somewhere around 6.8. Your best bet to lower your soil's pH is with organic material such as compost, peat moss and coconut coir. 
It's also a good idea to incorporate a granular fertilizer such as Fertilome's Gardener's Special or Fox Farm Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer. This will help feed your tomato and vegetable starts when you plant them.
The next step is to your incorporate your compost, peat and fertilizer into the existing soil to a depth of 4" to 6". 2/3rds soil to 1/3rd compost is a good rule of thumb when you're adding amendments to your soil. Finish the project by raking the bed out evenly.
Now you are ready to set up your Wall O' Water plant protectors. Wall O' Water plant protectors act like mini greenhouses and extend your growing season by six to eight weeks. Set them up a couple of weeks before your plant your tomatoes. This will help warm up the soil and reduce transplant shock. Hot Kaps are another way to protect young plants from Spring's cooler weather. Happy gardening!

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