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Posted on 27 January 2012 by urbangardencasual.com

Learn about Your Soil-Part II Soil Test

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day, I was asked if I test my soil and my reply was yes and no.

I have not had the traditional, chemical analysis of my soil for many years.

One reason is the biggest excuse and that is I do not have the time.

The other reason is that the recommendations I receive are based on an acre and while I would like to have an acre size garden I do not.

Also, these recommendations are based on a monoculture garden design.

Since I do not farm on an acre nor garden in a monoculture style, I have to guess and reduce any fertilizer recommendations. But being a scientist, aggie, environmentalist and many other things, I decided to do another soil test this fall. But before jumping on the bandwagon, one must first plan it out.

Planning to take a soil test is Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 25 January 2012 by urbangardencasual.com

Learn about Your Soil-Part I Soil Texture

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

How well ones garden does is connected with the soil.

Soil is such a generic term that many individuals do not understand what the term really describes.

Soil is loosely defined as particles that are sand, silt or clay that are combined to create a certain mixture.

This mixture is dependent on the environment and is not limited to particles but also includes living organisms such as fungi, bacteria, worms, and other soil bound creatures.

To be an informed, responsible gardener, one must first Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 17 May 2011 by urbangardencasual.com

Start the Garden Season Off Right with a Soil Test

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The gardening season is quickly approaching and many gardeners are planning their garden without taking a soil test.

This can sometimes work out fine if the garden is established, had no problems in the past year and/or was given an annual dose of fertilizer.

If the garden space is going to be new this year or the garden space showed problems, then a soil test is in order.

Home gardeners can do the soil test themselves.

The test requires Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 07 January 2011 by urbangardencasual.com

Spring Tonic for the Gardener’s Elbow & Soilless Mix

soilless-mixBy Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

This time of year my mind starts wondering around the planting table and my garden elbow begins to ache with an uncontrollable desire to start planting my seeds.

I have dealt with this ailment for many years not only in my professional life but also in personal life.

The only cure for this “gardener’s disease” is to get one’s hands into soil immediately.

But in the calendar on the wall says it’s too soon so what to do.

The solution that gives me some relief from my gardening elbow and planting itch is to start making the soil I plan to use for to start my seeds in. This soil is easy to make and provides the most delicate seeds with a good growing medium to take their first breath on and lay down their first roots.

This soil medium is considered a soilless mix and requires the ingredients below. It keeps well in a sealed container until needed.

Soilless Mix for Seeds

  • 2 bushels horticultural perlite vermiculite, calcined clay or humus
  • 2 bushels of coarse sphagnum peat moss or shredded pine bark Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted on 08 May 2009 by urbangardencasual.com

What’s Your Soil Texture?

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soilBy Vanessa Richins

Would you look at someone funny if they asked you about your soil’s texture?

It’s actually one of the most important facts to know about your garden, as it affects what plants you can grow.

Soil texture refers to the size of the individual particles. There are three basic kinds: sand, silt and clay, and are all found in your soil in different degrees.

Sand has the largest particles of the three. It’s great for plants that don’t like to have wet roots, since it drains very well. That also means, though, that water-loving plants may have problems since the water leaves so fast, taking nutrients with it.

Silt is the middle kind of texture. It’s a good Read the rest of this entry »

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