I wanted to report on how it was going here. I was up in the patches this weekend, and was very pleased with things there. We are getting ready to plant another acre next month, however that's a different topic.
I expected to NOT find a lot of plants still up this weekend, it's been cooler in the mountains, and all. However I guess that we've had enough rain here to sustain things [hard to hear about all you guys that didn't have enough] .
What I found was that most of my crop was still above ground. The ones that were down were still evident in wilting yellowed tops, if I looked close enough.
I harvested about 20 plants for the tops and roots - for my own purposes. Ate five of them while inspecting things, and I'm thinking that these were every bit as potent as 2 bottles of Gensing-Up drinks. If you havn't had one of these, you should try them... there's about 200 mg's of 'sang in each one. Makes for a real nice body buzz. Anyway, I digress...
I took al lot of photos, and will post some here for your commentary from my freinds here.
Photos # 1 - after cleaning both tops and roots, these are the results.
Here's the pic of only the tops. I was surprized that the tops, which seems very short when looking at them poking thru the leaf clutter, werre, in fact, several inches long from where they went into the ground. I'd have to say that there was an average stem of about 5\".
Here's a pic of the dirt. Not very interesting you say? Well, please consider that this is a dramatic change from the dirt only a year ago. What was the dirt a year ago, was mostly organic stuff, roots, bark, partially decomposed leaves, etc. This is real dirt! I'm pretty pleased with the texture and color of ti.
I attribute the changes to the applications of lime/gypsym/and the seaweed deritive I'm using called Agri-gro.
Great job, great report and great looking soil! It looks like the lime/gypsym/and Agri-gro are doing the job! I don't know why some folks fear spreading lime in areas that the plan to plant or already have planted! It is a naturally occurring mineral that breaks down organic and inorganic materials such as leaves, dead trees, limbs and twigs as well as dead animals and the like. It is basically calcium containg other inorganic materials. Both plants, animals and humans need calcium to survive, so what not use it to benefit the areas that you are planting??!!
I'm going to use a spray calcium from the good folks at Agri-gro this year. A bottle of the liquid Calcuim is far cheaper than $8.- bags of Gypsum, goes far further, and gets in there to the soil quicker. I've spread the last of the granulated gypsum I think.
My sprayer is pretty easy to use as long as I don't fill it to capacity [4 gals.] three gals is all I want to haul up and down the slopes. We can get the water for refils to the area we are growing pretty easy.
I don't want to take away from Whitjr's post about his year end wrap up and maybe some others are reading this and wondering too. I farmed orchards for 25 years as well as other popular crops that required mid range ph soil readings and it really confused me when I would read posts about using Gypsum to add calcium instead of lime. I think most of the persuasion comes from Dr. Scott Persons book where he researched different plots of natural growing ginseng and found that the best sites had a ph level of 5.5 and had high calcium levels. Some of these levels ranged in the 5000-6000 PPMs range. It seems that adding limestone to bring up the high calcium levels would also raise your PH levels too high. Going on beyond a reading of 6 is not considered a good growing range for ginseng, but I know that it will grow pretty decently at that range. Some of the growers on here that have high grade limestone based soils have used Sulfur to bring the PH level down some to a more acceptable range. I still have not quite understood how you can get a high level of calcium in the soil naturally without having a higher PH range. I'm still learning on that point. I hope this makes some sense to others.
YOu are correct in that adding lime will raise pH as well as Ca. It is my understanding that adding gypsum [Ca] won't affect the pH nearly as much as lime will.
I started off with pH's of 3.3 - 3.5 in patch one; after clearing the invasive rhodo. I'm around a 5.1 pH now. My Ca was also very very low, and I'm happier with it now having increased it to something close to the bottom acceptable value for our favorite crop. I'd like to increase it some more.
I'm pretty careful about it, having done serial soil analysis' [many many thanks to the NC Dept of Ag for free studies]. I've mapped the patch, drawn soil samples from certain spots consitantly, and applied accordingly. NC growers/farmers can make use of the NC dept's soil tests fro free, provided that it's a NC farm and you are a resident of our state.
There are many other micronutrients that have an effect on excellent soil, however I'm still learning that stuff. More on that later. I have focused on pH and Ca as these were not only key to good 'sang, but bigtime deficients in my growing area.
I do understand that if the soil is great, then the incidence of molds and other affilictions to 'sang is reduced.
I'd really appreciate hearing what Dr. Bob Beyfuss would have to say on this... Perhaps I should email him directly...
It's always good to discuss these things here on this website... good to hear everyone's thinking.