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Ask-a-Grower Question #2

When planting in the ground, how should you fertilize, and if so how do you flush a plant in the ground?

Start off with light organic feedings when figuring out the feed schedule for your plants and when the time comes to harvest your plants flush with pure water at least 7 days prior. Also here some things to work into your soil.

If your planning on growing outdoors it would  be a good idea to test the soil to see if you need to add anything to the ground.  Organic matter is needed for good plant growth and desirable soil qualities. Sometimes a type of fertilizer known as organic ammoniates is used (blood meal, leather tankage, etc.). These increase growth because of their readily available nitrogen, but do nothing for texture or drainage. To obtain prolonged physical effects, depends on the nature of the material and its rate of decomposition.

The beneficial effect of organic matter on the physical properties of the soil is distinct from the benefit of the nutrients. Everyone should have a compost pile; this is the best all-around amendment in terms of both nutrients and physical properties.  If its too late to start a compost pile at the beginning of the season, put on one of those paper filter masks, and throw this stuff together in a large plastic tub:

  • 4 cups bone meal
  • 2 cups gypsum
  • 2 cups epsom salt
  • 1 cup lime
  • 4 T medicated baby powder
  • 1 T baking powder

Make sure you use the paper mask as it is appearantly possible to contract mad cow disease by inhaling bone meal dust from infected cows. Mix this in your soil at rate of about a pint per bushel. This is just a quick fix, to really improve your soil think long term. The structure of very sandy soils or heavy clay soils are greatly improved by the addition of organic matter. In a clay soil, porosity is increased, and in a sandy soil, will limit erosion.

If your soil is very clay, try adding some gypsum as well. The organic matter should be finely divided to get a good distribution, but coarse particles may be neccesary where erosion is a concern. Keep in mind that the use of dark colored amendments on a light colored soil suface wilcause a greater absorption of heat from the sun. Add ammonium sulphate to lower pH, lime to raise it. Later on if you think you need more fertilizer, into 20 gallons of water put:

  • 1 can beer (enzymes)
  • 1 cup ammonia (optional, you might not need N)
  • 1/2 cup soap (helps wet soil)
  • 1/2 cup of a complete organic fert with trace elements
  • 1 can coke (sugar for the good bugs)

Start off with light organic feedings and when the time comes to harvest your plants flush with pure water at least 7 days prior.  Go easy at first to see how they respond.

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