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Ohio Earth Food

March 12th, 2011

Last week I finally made it up to Ohio Earth Food in Hartville, OH to get all of my soil amendments for the coming spring. When you have a big garden, buying amendments like bone meal, blood meal, kelp meal, greensand and others can break the bank if you buy those tiny bags at the local greenhouse. I highly recommend finding an organic farm supply store in your area. Even if you have to drive an hour or so to get there, you’ll save plenty, especially if you stock up once a year or every other year.

We filled our little car with bags of all sorts of things for the coming gardening season. Mr Chiots and I are expanding our garden at home so I’ll be needing to add a lot of amendments to the soil. A few of the products I purchased are trial runs to see how the product works. What made it into my little car?

RE-VITA COMPOST PLUS (3-3-3) – A 100% natural, composted fertilizer of poultry manure, kelp, and humate. One of the most complete fertilizers available. Contains a balanced source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash in a slow release form which feeds the plant throughout the season. The addition of kelp and humate provides a complex of trace minerals and bio-stimulants easily assimilated by plants. These substances enhance germination, root growth and overall health of the plant. Re-Vita improves structure, water holding capacity and aeration of the soil. It also revitalizes the biological activity in the soil. Re-Vita is in a uniform, granular form which is easy to use. Excellent for gardens, flowers, shrubs, trees, and field crops. For gardens apply 5 lbs. per 100 row ft. or 2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft; Fruit and shade trees 2-3 lbs. per inch of diameter. Lawns 50 lbs. per 3,000 sq. ft. Field crops 250-300 lbs. per acre.

JERSEY GREENSAND – A 7% potash base exchange mineral mined from a marine deposit. Also contains 22 other minerals. Helps loosen compacted soils. Highly recommended for conditioning pastures, lawns, orchards, fields, and gardens. Apply 2-4 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. or up to 1,000 lbs. per acre.

DRIED BLOOD – A slow release, 12% organic nitrogen source. Excellent as a side dressing when extra nitrogen is needed. Stimulates bacterial growth. Also useful as a temporary deer and rabbit repellent. Use 2-3 lbs. per 100 sq. ft or as a side dress.

BONE MEAL – Steamed, finely ground bone providing 12% phosphorus, 22% calcium and 4% nitrogen. Promotes strong, vigorous bulbs and healthy root systems and good blooming. Excellent for flowers, roses, garden bulbs, shrubs and trees. Use 5 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.

GYPSUM – Pelletized, mined, natural calcium sulfate. Supplies 21% calcium and 16% sulfur; Loosens tight clay soils, aiding aeration and water penetration. Use when calcium and sulfur are needed and pH is high. Use 2-3 lbs. per 100 sq. ft

SEA-MIN KELP MEAL – Ascophyllum Nodosum kelp meal which contains 60 trace minerals in chelated form, 14 vitamins, plant growth regulators, enzymes, and hormones. Research shows that kelp improves seed germination, root and plant growth, fruit set, and overall health of plants. Makes plants more disease and stress resistant. Increases soil fertility and microbial population. Broadcast using ¾ lb. per 100 sq. ft. or 200 lbs. per acre. As animal feed supplement see Feed Supplements Section.

AGRO-LIG HUMATE – A mined, naturally occurring organic leonardite containing 65-75% high quality humic acids, 31% carbon, and a complex of other nutrients similar to chelates. Stimulates plant enzymes, root growth and beneficial soil organisms. Continued use improves the structure and organic content of the soil. For gardens apply 2 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.; Field crops 100 lbs. per acre.

I also purchased a bag of worm castings for my homemade potting soil and a bag of their blend of potting soil to try. I used their potting soil for a planter of lettuce I started last week. I like my home mix better, so I’ll keep making it. I may have a few more things to buy so I’ll probably be heading back sometime soon as I still need some rock phosphate and more gypsum. It’s a good thing it’s only a half hour away.

Where do you buy your soil amendments? Do you have a great farm supply store to recommend for any readers in your area?

Soil Testing?

January 26th, 2011

I have a confession to make – I’ve never tested the soil in my garden *gasp*. Any time you read a gardening book they tell you to do a soil test first thing before you start gardening. I always wonder if I should but have never taken the time to do it. I do have a pH test kit that I purchased several years ago just for fun, which I have used a few times.

Knowing your soil pH is pretty easy to determine if you have hydrangeas. Pink your soil is sweet, blue and your soil is acidic. We have fairly acidic soil here in the garden of Chiot’s Run. My hydrangeas were deep blue when I first started gardening and as I’ve been adding more and more organic material to the soil they’ve been getting more pink so the soil is sweetening up a bit.

As I was looking through the catalog for my local organic farm supply store deciding how much greensand, gypsum, rock phosphate and lime I wanted to buy I came across their ad for soil testing and wondered if I should have one done.

I’ll have to do some research because I think my local extension office will do fairly extensive soil testing as well and they offer advice on how to deal with deficiencies or problems.

Have you ever had a soil test done? Was is beneficial?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.