Snow as fertilizer, drought gardening, phosphorus target, new tools for remineralization geeks.  All the best to everyone!
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Happy Equinox, change is in the air...

Snow as fertilizer

To our friends in New England and Canada,
As snow falls through the air it picks up a little nitrogen and deposits it on your garden, and when the ground is thawed it can sink in.  You have been especially blessed with the cold fluffy nitrogen source this year.  But snow does not last forever.  You'll wake up one day to spring and it will be time to get back out in the garden.  Getting a soil test and laying down amendments is a great spring tonic.
Drought Gardening
It's gonna be a dry summer...
California has officially been in a drought emergency for over a year and now several counties in Washington and Oregon have declared emergencies.  For some of us, water rationing is inevitable.  How will we garden in a drought?   
Of course mulch is one of the most important tools in a drought.  Unfortunately, many of the traditional sources of mulch may be contaminated with persistent broadleaf herbicides!  If put on your garden, contaminated compost and mulch can ruin your garden for years.

We give you the steps to test the compost, manure, hay and straw you are bringing in for mulch to make sure it does not contain persistent herbicides.

Click here for more about drought gardening
Phosphorus Target
As OrganiCalc gets older and more experienced, she is getting more conservative :-)  We've lowered the phosphorus target from 500 lbs per acre to 250 lbs per acre.
Many organic gardeners and market gardeners get their nitrogen from compost and  compost contains a lot of phosphorus.  We've lowered the phosphorus target so that growers may continue to add compost without getting into a situation where they have too much phosphorus.

Phosphorus is a different animal than the other minerals. It's an anion, so it doesn't compete with cations for space on the cation exchange sites. All the other anions, Sulfur, Boron, Nitrogen readily leach. Phosphorus sticks around. And importantly, phosphorus most readily enters the plant via the biological pathway. It takes a highly biologically active soil to make phosphorus readily available. That's why we recommend adding rock phosphate to the compost pile.

We are all concerned about keeping phosphorus out of waterways where it can cause eutrophication via algae blooms that use up all available oxygen.   Phosphorus and phosphates bind tightly to soil, so the main way that phosphorus gets into the waterways is through erosion.  Mulches, cover crops and proper grading are good ways to control erosion. 
Total Cation Exchange Capacity
For the soil geek we've come up with a fun blog post (with pictures!) explaining TCEC and why you don't need to be envious.  For the total soil geek we've developed a new TCEC calculator. But if you just want to know what safe organic amendments are recommended for your soil, OrganiCalc does not require you to know anything about TCEC!

The Spring Equinox

By Anne Ridler
Now is the pause between asleep and awake:
Two seasons take
A colour and quality each from each as yet.
The new stage-set
Spandril, column and fan of spring is raised against the
winter backdrop
Murrey and soft;
Now aloft
The sun swings on the equinoctial line.
Few flowers yet shine:
The hellebore hangs a clear green bell and opulent leaves
above dark mould;
The light is cold
In arum leaves, and a primrose flickers
Here and there; the first cool bird-song flickers in the thicket.
Clouds arc pale as the pollen from sallows;
March fallows are white with lime like frost.

This is the pause between asleep and awake:
The pause of contemplation and of peice,
Before the earth must teem and the heart ache.
This is the child's pause, before it sees
That the choice of one way has denied the other ;
Must choose the either, or both, of to care and not to care;
Before the light or darkness shall discover
Irreparable loss; before it must take
Blame for the creature caught in the necessary snare:
Receiving a profit, before it holds a snare.


Copyright © 2015 Grow Abundant Gardens, All rights reserved.

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