You are right, Lime can raise PH levels too high depending upon how much is used in combination with other additives used in planting plots! Lime in small amounts goes a long way in helping to decompose dead plants and animals to add nutrients to the soil as well as add needed Calcium. However, in heavy amounts, Lime will kill off most anything it comes in contact with due to the high PH levels.
I think that you are on the way to getting everything needed for the soil in your' planting plots to the levels Ginseng needs to grow and flourish! Your wise choice in taking advantage of the free soil studies and analysis from the NC Dept of Agriculture puts you way ahead of the game, than most. It will take time and more experimentation with other products and minerals but I believe you will attain your goals!
Hugh and Whitjr,
Since low PH levels indicates acidity (many times good) and high values indicate alkalinity (mostly bad), I wonder if the addition of decomposed or even ashes from Fir trees might be somewhat of a cure all. Fir trees need higher acidity soils to thrive and could be a good secondary source for adding both acidity and calcium without the higher PH levels. Just a thought!
I talked to Bob Beyfuss once about bringing soils like yours up into the acceptable Ca and Ph ranges with gypsum and other additives. He was fairly skeptical, and very much emphasized the soil mycorrhizal communities that take a long time to develop. If I remember the argument correctly, the calcium isn't entirely usable without the various bacterial and fungal communities that go along with it in nature. I'm not sure they really do take a long time to develop, though, and I'm certainly going about things the way you are. I'm trying to bring my soils from about 1500 ppm to say 3000 ppm or so.
By the way, great looking soil and roots! I'm impressed!
As for the use of lime, one thing I've noticed is that the commercial field-grown growers bring their Ph way up (6 or 7 range if I remember correctly!). I assume this means the ginseng grows well in alkaline soils, but become much more prone to disease. Bad for wild simulated, but manageable in field-grown.
I read here on this forum that Dr Bob was skeptial about efforts on this sort of property... in a reply to me. That's OK, we are looking freely at adapting things as time passes. It's one of the reasons I would like to see him weigh in here...
Those \"soil mycorrhizal communities\" you mention are [if I understand it correctly] are dependant on micronutrients to develop. The other stuff like Boron, potassium, potash, manganese, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphate, sodium and zinc... all must be in some sort of homeostaisis balance to give these a chance to do so.
I sometimes think I needed to study to be an agronomist while I am contemplating all this! I can talk chapter and verse about Human Pulmonary/Cardiac dynamics, however soil homeostasis is something I'm learning about.
I'm really interested in your liquid calcium spraying. Have you done any application rate calculations to figure out how much of it you need to use per square foot to increase soil calcium by a certain amount? Sure seems like a great idea.
Have you had any trouble with the leaves on the plants yellowing or even wilting during prolonged periods of moderate to heavy rains even though they should have enough Calcium due to your applications? If so, it could be the result of Magnesium deficiency! After planting quite a few crops one year when I lived in West Virginia, many of the plants began to yellow and some even began wilting. I was advised to give them a dose of Magnesium in the form of Epson Salt from the local Drug Stores or Walmart. I sprinkled a little bit of the Epson Salt down both sides of each row, then gave them a small amount of Miracle Grow mixed in water to help begin releasing the Magnesium into the soil. The plants perked and greened right up in just a few days. After that, I gave each plant a small amount of Miracle Grow mixed in water about once a week. The end result of harvestable vegetable was amazing to me and anyone else who visited my' garden! A friend of mine, John, even asked what kind of Watermelons I had planted in the garden and I stated none. We went out to the garden as he was convinced that there were Watermelons growing in it but I pointed out that they were Zucchinis and not Watermelons. Besides the enormous Zucchinis and Yellow Squashes, my' Kentucky Blue Lake Bush Beans ranged from 14\" to 18\" long and were holding up the bean bushes, otherwise they would have fell over due to the weight of all of the beans on the plants. No BS about the plants and I have plenty of witnesses that can back my story!
I don't know whether Ginseng plants and roots can tolerate even small amounts of Magnesium outside what they get naturally but it is worth looking into or experimenting!
Nice looking little yongsters there. They look quite similar to the young ones that I checked out this fall from my patches.
On your soil conditions - if you remember in Scotts Book the grower in Australia... he had some very difficult soil conditions to deal with but did have success. The PH was very low and nutrient levels in the soil was very low. Best I remember he used Bone Meal to add Ca and Bone Meal will also raise PH.
Bone Meal also adds Phosphorus (good for root growth).
I put a little Bone Meal, Gypsum, Blood Meal and Epsom Salt (Along with a heap of homemade compost) in with my Tomatoes... and man they really like it.
The liquid Ca spray on... sounds interesting. I wonder how long it will last though ?
Do you need to spray it more than one time per season ? or perhaps once a month ?
I hear that organic fertilizers like Bonemeal and Gypsum last quite a while where most chemical fertilizers only last a short while.
I remember reading up on some liquid Ca spray and once you got into the details I found that it also had Nitrogen included.
I think I may stick with just plain old Gypsum for now on my beds that need it.
Do keep us posted on how the spray Ca product works out.
Hey guys, been off forum for a few days. I'll attempt answer the Q's as best I can.
I work in a field where precise-ness is key. My training is in healthcare, and discerning the small details is pretty important, so am used to attempting a rather scientific approach towarsds things. I like keeping notes/logs/rates/ and other detailed stuff.....
First the application rates that I am using are based on two things. 1] the table of application rate that comes with the stuff; and 2] serial soil analysis's.
Between that , I determine which times are best and how much to apply.
The nutrigrow solution is realtively inexpensive [less than $20.00/16oz], realtively east to backpack w/ the right sprayer, and if you have a water source there nearby, you can resupply yourself and \"Keep on truckin.\"
These products are supposed to be drived from organic sources. Nutri-Grow solution is derived from a seaweed solution as I understand it. Not too sure about where the calcium solution is derived from, However I am going to say that it also coming from organic source.... as the company makes a big deal about it on their website.
One of the benefits is growth of root mass. Yeah! This got my attention when I read that.
I have sprayed two applications of the Nutri Grow on Patch one, with results posted here. I have also spread lime x2 a year ago, and however no gypsum at all, and the serial soil testing I have done indicated that the Ca has risen dramatically. So as to the persisitance and longevity, I'd have to say it's demonstratable for both those.
The only yellowing I noticed was from leaves fading in the late fall. I had a lot of plants [posted here] that were still nice and green.
I'm going to continue to gather soil samples x 3 a year to determine how much to apply of both the nutri grow and the Ca. I don't think I'll apply closer than monthly... however all is realtive to the product insert directions and soil analysis.
After re-reading some of this, I see that ts is a true calcium suppliment, and organically derived.
Here's my most recent expereince with the nutri-grow solution.
Last weekend, I was moving plants indoors and readying the greenhouse for the winter. One of the things I decided to do was to fertilize EVERYTHING as I brought it in. Remember that I grow aloe and aquatic plants... and I have some that do not tolerate cold at all. these plants were already showing signs of cold-related stress; with browning leaves, no new flowers, and zero growth for a couple of weeks now.
I sprayed a goodly amount of the mixed-per-spec-sheet in a small one gallon sprayer into the 70 gal bins that hold water for these plants. Yesterday, I was out there, after 4 days, and the water hyacynths are blooming again, and there's new leaves. Ther tropical lillies are putting out new leaves. The Horse's feather plants are taller.
I can only attribute this new growth/blooming to the application of the nutri-gro.
Guys, I have about 10 small sample bottles of this stuff, 2 oz size. I also have the larger bottles that I use for my patches. I guess you'd say I have a lifetime supply. If you want one, to try on your plantings, just email me off-forum and I'll get one out to you USPS.
I do not sell or otherwise market this stuff, this is just for you guys that I \"know\" on this forum.