Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
Lindalana
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 837
Default

Lubadub, there are more soil tests that will test what you have in soil and what is actually avail now. Those tests cost a bit more though.
Lindalana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
lubadub
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 136
Default

You are right. There are lots of other tests available but they are, as you stated, expensive and difficult to interpret. I think I have a better understanding of how to go forward and will make some changes in how I go about everything next year. Thanks again to all who responded to my post.
__________________
Bigger is Better!
lubadub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3 Weeks Ago   #18
PureHarvest
Tomatovillian™
 
PureHarvest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Mid-Atlantic right on the line of Zone 7a and 7b
Posts: 1,359
Default

A test will still help regardless of organic methods or not.
I think the mental block comes from the terminology we use.
We hear the word "chemical" and think, whoa, that's bad or what I'm trying to avoid.
However, chemicals don't have to mean synthetics. Look to organic (ha, ironic) chemistry.
Every compound has a chemical formula. On a simple level, Rock salt is NaCl. Sodium chloride, or NaCl is the "chemical" name for it.
Does that make salt bad across the board? Of course not.
Point being, that your soil is a blend of chemical, biological, and physical components.
Your soil test will help guide you in deciding if the chemistry is off. Your test will show what the cation (nutrients with a positive charge) levels are and their ratio to eachother (will require some education to understand if your cations are out of whack), and your TEC or CEC (Total or Cation exchange capacity). TEC basically tells you how big of a sponge is in your soil. A big sponge has more surface area to interact with everything to exchange or hold nutrients. It also would mean you need more nutrients to fill the sponge. The test will tell you if your are severely lacking or excessive in any element. it will take a little experience, research to find out the best way to supply what is missing or mitigate the excess. Note: there is new thinking that says soil life, when abundant and present and diverse, can supply whatever the plant needs, regardless of what the tests say.
Your eyes and intuition will tell you about the physical: How hard is it to dig? Standing water? Hard to wet? Doesn't hold any moisture? Bad smell? No soil aggregation around roots (soil agg. looks like worm castings or brown cottage cheese around root zone.)
Biological is a little trickier, as nobody really has it nailed down even close. Nor may we ever. It is beyond complex. I think soil is the final frontier. There are so many things interacting at once on so many order of magnitude and species.
The simple answer is to create an environment that fosters "biology" to do what it already knows how to do with interaction from our plant's roots.
This means:
No tillage/disturbance which injects O2 into your soil and pushes microbial activity to burn up resources/organic matter. Also ruins soil structure (which is needed to create the environment to support diverse populations of "stuff".
Always covered soil/armour your soil (mulches, living plants, physical cover). Sun, wind, and rain ravage bare soil and create problems over time.
Green all year. Have live plants with roots 365 days/year: grow multi-species cover crops, some that can survive winter. Roots feed and support microbes/"biology". If you can, have a section of garden that stays in temporary cover for a season or two and rotate into that. Plant multi-species cover on the spot you rotated out of.
Watch Carbonomics by Keith Burns. It will explain the relationship between plants, roots, and microbes.
Diversity, see above.
Avoid "synthetics" whenever possible. I don't care what the experts say, they mess with the system balance. Technically everything does, even stuff considered "organic". Chemicals, especially the 'cides, are just really really good at it.
Lastly, keep asking questions and reading/watching.
PureHarvest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3 Weeks Ago   #19
lubadub
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 136
Default

I think your post is pretty much all inclusive and I thank you for it. You clearly have given the topic a lot of thought and have spent time reading and modifying your growing habits to include what you have learned from reading and growing. I will try to live up to it as best I can. This season for me is almost over and soil care for next season is about to begin after the garden is cleared of what is now growing there. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts.
__________________
Bigger is Better!
lubadub is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:55 AM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2019 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★