Friday, July 3, 2015

soil amendments

it's been forty-four days since planting day which is nearly halfway through the season for most of the plants we planted that day and the subject of soil amendments has been on my mind of late because for the beds in the photos there were none in the sense of chemical fertilizers ( something i personally will resist in this garden as long as i am around it ) or compost...the top photo and the third photo are of beds that were planted in green manures last autumn...specifically new zealand white clover ( inoculated with rhizobia bacteria ) to set nitrogen and winter rye to act as a reservoir for that nitrogen...the second and fourth photos are of those same beds as they appeared this morning, well into the season...the bottom photo is of abed that was half planted in clover, the other half left bare because there were jerusalem artichoke tubers planted there last autumn as well as the clover and turning the clover under in spring would have ( if such a thing is possible ) disrupted the jerusalem artichokes' germination...there has not been any harvest of produce from those beds yet and, while that will be the final measure of how successful this experiment has been, they beds look green and healthy...the plants are robust, and i am hopeful...if there is a good harvest i am thinking of expanding the project across the beds and eliminating compost as an amendment manures set nitrogen in autumn and in spring before planting and turning them under a few weeks before planting day automatically adds organic matter and volume to the soil while feeding our earthworms...we put back in green manures what we extract in produce, closing the nutrient cycle...not perpetual motion...not a self-sustaining closure of the cycle...we still plant every autumn...vastly, in my opinion, superior to chemicals and much easier than toting compost around.

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