Making better dirt (guest entry)

on Sunday, March 28, 2010

After I recently posted the guest entry from Chicken Thistle Farms, I've discovered that, hey, I can populate this blog with all sorts of growy advice without having to do all the work of typing it up and taking pictures!! Sweeeeet!

Nah, seriously though, there are so many great garden bloggers out there, and they're some of the folks I'm still learning from, that why not help them share their knowledge?? First it was all about lights that are good for starting your veggie seeds, and now that I'm thinking I need to start amending my garden soil, my good friend Finny out in California has coincidentally posted the perfect three-part bit on how to test and amend your soil - and she shares her sad experiences that helped convince her this is something we all need to consider doing every year!

So - enough babbling from me... I'm going to post a teaser from each of her three posts here, and then a link over to the remainder of her incredibly informative AND entertaining posts, and hopefully you'll head on over to "Finny Knits" to get educated. (That's right, "Knits" - she's not just a cute gardener ya know!)

Part I in Soil Testing - This sounds boring (her words, not mine!):

Is it just me or does the process of soil testing seem like a swift pain thy ass?

See. I knew it. It does. Seem like it.

And, to be truthful, it is. But it's so worth it. At least it's proven to be worth it for the past few years that I've been doing it.

But, for whatever reason, I've gotten a lot of questions about this soil testing stuff despite its boring outward appearance, so rather than give you all random answers when you email me all separate like, I thought I'd offer up my soil testing process and experience here so you know what I'm doing back there when I say I'm doing The Science known as soil testing.

Be warned though, this is just how I do it. So, probably, it's not 100% perfect or right or legal or PC or safe to show children under 13 or feed to your gremlin after midnight and so on. So, like, don't get all, "That's not how you do that, Finny!" because I'll just be, like, "Um, actually, that's exactly how I do it, so stow it." and all.

You know how I am.
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Part II in Soil Testing - More tedious than boring:
Do you like how I'm enticing you with these post titles? I'm really making soil testing seem like a fun outdoor activity for the early springtime. Go me! Really putting that marketing degree to work!


Well, whatever. You don't need candy-coated messages to convince you to test your soil, the reward of 200+ lbs of tomatoes should be enough.

Though - let me revert to my marketing background for just a moment and add the disclaimer that I'm not guaranteeing you 200+ lbs of tomatoes if you follow this soil testing process. I'd get all legal-ease on you, but my degree is not in law, it's in marketing - so you get the dumbed-down don't blame me if you only get 199 lbs of tomatoes because HI - this isn't McDonald's and no one here cares if you burn your lap with hot coffee because it's coffee and it's supposed to be hot and these results aren't typical, etc.
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Part III in Soil Testing - Being done. It's the best part:
So, when we last left this wildly exciting series, the tests were finished and the numbers jotted down in my handy, if not nearly destroyed, little yard notebook (and online spreadsheet - DON'T FORGET THE ONLINE SPREADSHEET!)(I love it.)(In case you can't tell.)

Which is all fine and good, but, like - now what?

Well, now we amend. This is when we take that valuable knowledge of what organic nutrients we can add back into the soil to make it healthy and viable so that it will produce food that won't give us a tail...
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