wow what a sunday

September 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

You can’t raise a baby on motor oil but now I wanna buy some

Turn the soil in the autumn where possible so the frost will break it up. Peas and broad beans, strawberries, raspberries, pears and plums all like clay soil.

Hydrangeas are excellent indicators for a soil’s pH, the flowers will be pink in an acidic soil and blue in an alkaline soil.

Gadzoicks! Who would have thunk it? So the backyard is alkaline. Or at least that bit of it is…

An acidic soil is a soil with a pH below 7.0.  Look for these weeds as an indicator of an acidic soil: […] Nettles (Urtica dioica),

So that bit is acidic…I’ll chuck some ash at it…

Adding lime or using woodstove or fireplace ashes can raise the soil’s pH to the desirable pH range. suggests that actually blue hydrangea flowers suggests the soil is acidic with aluminium in it, not alkaline.

Acid versus alkaline

Soil may contain lime and the more there is, the more alkaline the soil will be. Certain plants thrive in a more acid soil, others do best in an alkaline soil, while yet others are best suited to a neutral one. Acidity and alkalinity are expressed as the soil’s pH level. You can buy an inexpensive pH testing kit at any good garden centre to check the pH level of your soil.

  • above pH8 really means you’re in a semidesert. Very little will grow in soil like this.

  • pH7 is alkaline and is usually found in hot dry areas. Most garden plants will survive but need regular cultivation with compost and manure. Brassicas, spinach, currants, apples, peaches and plums like an alkaline soil.

  • pH6-pH7 is neutral and most plant life thrives in it.

  • pH5-pH6 is fairly acid. This is typical of unimproved soil in wet areas. It is good for potatoes, tomatoes and fruit.

  • pH4-pH5 is acid. This is found in cold wet areas. There is little soil life or earthworms. Rhododendrons and azaleas do alright in it but it makes growing fruit and vegetables more difficult. You can add lime to make the soil more alkaline but take it easy, adding small amounts regularly rather than chucking heaps on in one go, which would scorch the roots.

Fruits of this evening’s research: we’ve got acidic soil with aluminium in it near the back door, with blue hydrangea flowers, acidic soil in the back left corner, with nettles, and teasels growing on the right in the sun where i dug up the bindweed or morning glory (thanks to this website for help identifying these last three plants).

Wood ash can be useful in home gardens, in your compost pile or as a pest repellent, explained Dan Sullivan, soil scientist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. […]

“Since wood ash is derived from plant material, it contains most of the 13 essential nutrients the soil must supply for plant growth,” said Sullivan. “When wood burns, nitrogen and sulfur are lost as gases, and calcium, potassium, magnesium and trace element compounds remain. The carbonates and oxides remaining after wood burning are valuable liming agents, raising pH, thereby helping to neutralize acid soils.” […]

One-half to one pound of wood ash per year is recommended for each shrub and rose bush. Spread ash evenly on the soil around perennial plants. Rake the ash into the soil lightly, being careful not to damage the roots. Never leave ash in lumps or piles, because if it is concentrated in one place, excessive salt from the ash will leach into the soil, creating a harmful environment for plants. […]

In compost piles, wood ash can be used to help maintain a neutral condition, the best environment to help microorganisms break down organic materials. Sprinkle ash on each layer of compost as the pile is built up. Ash also adds nutrients to compost. […]

Do not apply wood ash to a potato patch as wood ashes may favor the development of potato scab.

– “Yeah this music could work during labour”


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