the answer lies in the ground?

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rowlandwells

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the answer lies in the ground?
« on: September 14, 2021, 12:04 »
as we are coming to the end of another garden season on reflection i ask myself could i have done more to improve the quality of our veg crops and improving the condition of the soil comes to mind

I always believe one must put back to the land what one takes out that is to say putting back the vital nutrient's in the ground as this is the essential recipe for good growing so how to achieve this

well I think we all have our own thoughts on this it mite be done making and using your own re-cycle compost farm manure or green manure's and with the advent of getting our hands on good farm manure these days I've turned more to green manure together with horse manure using both on our ground and on the raised beds

but I'm sure there are many of our members out there that have there own take on this topic that could through some light on this matter to advise us the best methods they believe would  improve our ground as we grow year on year to a diverse our crop rotation system I've looked at many ways that have been suggested in the past with growing crops and soil improvements i looked at the  farmers way who used to leave a field empty they called it fallow it was thought leaving the ground to rest that year would improve growing but that went the window then there was set aside again leaving the ground to just grow weeds then cultivating and sowing the ground in the autumn another miss mash of money wasted

I believe this could be a difficult question to actually come with an answer but I feel this topic would be of great interest to those like myself who seek more knowledge of improving soil fertility



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Goosegirl

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Re: the answer lies in the ground?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2021, 14:29 »
I agree that you have to replace what you take out plus adding grit for drainage or lots of rotted manure for sandy soils, but we can't control the weather and that seems to have been a real problem particularly this year. All we can do is work with Mother Nature as and when, do our best with what we've got, and give thanks for any produce we produce. 
Spring always comes when we sow the seeds of life.

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mumofstig

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Re: the answer lies in the ground?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2021, 16:18 »
I think sowing a green manure over winter and then digging it in, helps a lot to keep the soil in good heart. Round here, lots of plots have been sown with mustard. Some of it used for winter stir-fries but most of it gets dug in, before the plants get too big/strong and difficult to incorporate.
The Nepalese families on our allotment site, have incredibly productive plots and they always sow a quick mustard crop, dug in when an inch or 2 tall, before the next crop is planted. They said it also kills soil pestsand diseases, and deters slugs ans snails  :D
So I've bought some myself to try, on some beds, as well as the Phacelia I usually sow.
Lesley x
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snowdrops

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Re: the answer lies in the ground?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2021, 16:43 »
I never mastered green manures in my crop rotation etc & now I do no dig I obviously wouldnt want to dig any in. But I use copious amounts of horse manure & poop, & make masses of homemade composts so with that & chicken manure from the chooks & their run clearing out that all goes through the compost bins (6, 5 of which are a cubic metre big) I add all to the ground as a generous mulch. My tomatoes & cucumbers in the new poly tunnel havent had any additional feeds all year & have done tremendously well. I tended to only use chicken manure pellets & blood fish & bone anyway. But I do agree it is about putting back what you take out, but feel Ive got it covered  :D. Im happy with how I do mine, its hard work producing the compost & obtaining the manure etc certainly not lazy as some people have expressed their opinion on  no dig lol
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New shoot

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Re: the answer lies in the ground?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2021, 22:11 »
The Nepalese families on our allotment site, have incredibly productive plots and they always sow a quick mustard crop, dug in when an inch or 2 tall, before the next crop is planted. They said it also kills soil pestsand diseases, and deters slugs ans snails  :D
So I've bought some myself to try, on some beds, as well as the Phacelia I usually sow.

Ive got some phacelia in for the winter in a couple of bits of the plot, plus fodder radish and fenugreek in others, but Im going to make sure I get mustard as well for next year.  It grows so fast it makes sense as a quick filler between crops.

Even with 4 big compost bins, 2 darlek bins and a couple of white dumpy bags on standby, I cant make enough compost to mulch or dig in everywhere, so green manures are a great help  :)

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JayG

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Re: the answer lies in the ground?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 10:11 »
It's much more difficult to keep sandy soils fertile than clay ones - because they are so free-draining any nutrients tend to leach quickly away from the top 6-12" , which is especially relevant when it comes to annual veg crops, most of which have shallow roots.

Took me years to work out why most of my crops underperformed, until the penny dropped that compost alone doesn't provide sufficient nutrients for most plants in sandy soils. Growmore (quick-acting) and dried chicken poo (slow acting) are essential supplements here, with liquid feeds also applied when a quick boost seems necessary.
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Subversive_plot

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Re: the answer lies in the ground?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2021, 17:20 »
Jay, I agree that supplementing the nutrients in compost is very important.

One factor is that most of the nutrients in compost are not plant-available in that form.  Nitrogen is mostly bound up in the proteins that make up the organic matter in the compost (P, K and micronutrients as well).  The compost must go through biologic decomposition in order to release (or mineralize) the nutrients.  For that biologic transformation to occur, you have to add enough nitrogen to make the carbon:nitrogen ratio (C:N) equal to 23; more nitrogen is better.  Chicken poo, or nitrogen fertilizer, will both do the trick!

Another factor to improving the soil is to till when the soil is relatively dry.  Certainly not when saturated. Try to minimize compaction with equipment when the soil is wet. This preserves soil tilth and structure. Ideal soil tilth is indicated when the soil is friable, breaking into small to medium aggregates.  Neither powdery, nor breaking into large hardened clods. The best tilth comes in the ideal 'loam' soil texture, which has roughly equal amounts of sand, silt, and clay (those roughly equal proportions are the definition of a loam soil).  Adding in the organic matter will also improve soil structure.
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Gardener and Rabbit

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Re: the answer lies in the ground?
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 09:53 »
Agree re sandy soils JayG, you really need a different approach. Crops that aren't hungry on other soils will need additional fertiliser.  I also think foliar feeds are particularly helpful here to give crops a boost when the soil gets so dry that liquids just run straight off, and (plant-based) wetting agents can help to get moisture back into the soil.

In terms of green manures, I've found that any legume thrives, but white clover is my choice as it provides some additional nitrogen and ground cover, whilst being low volume so easy to manage/incorporate. If I'm not digging an area, it also skims off easily and rolls up to be composted.   



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