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Applying soil amendments

Jun 09, 2011 -

Question:

I work for a fledging farm in a relatively complicated climate (high altitude, high wind, desert).  We recently purchased a few soil amendments from Peaceful Valley and are now contemplating the best way in which to apply them.  Any level of experience or expertise is valuable.

The list of soil amendments:

(F940) Feather Meal

(F155) Bone Meal Fine Grind

(F2260) Sulfate of Potash

(F1153) Gypsum Diamond K Solution

Our primary concern is how best to apply these amendments so as to maximize their retention in the soil in windy conditions (30-50mph winds come and go throughout Spring).  It may be that there is no established answer in regards to high winds, in which case, simply knowing the common application methods would suffice.

Answer:

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These are pretty powdery materials and would be very apt to blow in the wind, when they are applied. First off, blend them together in a wheelbarrow, or something like that, in the proportions you want—then apply it just once, rather than four times.  Of course, apply it when the wind is calm and work it into the soil, if possible. If for some reason you can’t work it into the soil, it would be a good idea to cover it with a mulch or compost. You might consider mixing the powders with compost and then spreading it; that is a much easier way to spread rock powders.

Hope this is helpful!


Solutions: Granulated, Powdered, or Meal

Categories: Soil Amendments, Organic Gardening 101


Rodney Hill Says:
Feb 22nd, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I just read an article in the Sacramento Bee’s Garden Detective, 2-22-14, which answered a question related to planting a tree.  Master Gardener, Fran Clarke, described how to plant a tree:  After placing the root ball on a soil pedestal inside the hole, backfill the hole with the original soil . . . “It is important that different soil, compost, or other soil amendments not be added to the planting hole.”  This seems to contradict what I’ve been told about getting your soil tested and adding supplements as needed to make up for deficiencies. Your soil testing service did this for me and provided a report on what amendments were needed.  I have been mixing them as described in your response post, above. The Garden Detective master gardener seems to disagree with this strategy.  When and how should soil amendments be added to ensure good tree health?

Stephanie Brown Says:
Feb 24th, 2014 at 9:49 am

Hello Rodney,

The disconnect comes with time. It is true you don’t want to, in general, add amendments or compost to the planting hole of the tree. What is recommended is to have the test several months before planting the tree, add the amendments working them thoroughly into the ground, and then after a few months plant the tree. The exception to this according to the Nevada County Master Gardeners is phosphorus. It is not mobile through soil and we have phosphorus deficient soil in Nevada County so our Master Gardeners recommend adding something like Soft Rock Phosphate to planting holes. I hope this helps.

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