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Friday, July 31, 2015

Soil - Timing is Everything!

As many of my readers know, I have been preparing to improve the soil in my future garden bed. I had some questions in relation to this, so I asked my friendly, local extension office for help.  I just wanted to share the answer to my query with you all, in case you have had a similar question.

I have an empty garden that I plan to use as a vegetable garden next year.  I got a soil test for it.  I have figured out how much NPK I need to apply.
I plan to improve the soil this fall by adding compost, manure, coffee grounds, peat moss and some sulfur.  (My pH is 7.8, and the soil is sandy – thus the peat moss & sulfur.)
I know that nitrogen dissipates into the atmosphere, so I will be adding that in the spring before I plant, and again in later summer if needed.
My question is about the P&K:  Can I add the bone meal and potash in the Autumn when I plan to add the compost etc., or should I wait until spring?  Will it leach out of the soil with no plants present, or is it better to add in the fall and kind of let it “soak in” to the soil over the winter? Also, just to verify – I was informed that the sulfur takes time to react to the soil, so it is good to add a season ahead of time.  Is that correct?
Thank you so much!  Have a great week!

It's wonderful that you started out with the right information by getting your soil tested.

While it does take time to increase the organic matter and change the pH of your soil, fertilizing is most effective when done prior to planting (or after planting with care taken not to burn the plants). I suggest you wait until spring to add the bone meal and potash when you fertilize with nitrogen. This will give your veggies a good source of nutrients to take up as they get started growing.

Below is a link to an article a great deal of info about nutrients ans Soil pH which I hope you will find helpful.

Hope that helps!

If you too have a question for Michigan State University, please contact them via this link:  MSU EXTENSION

If you are interested in learning more about composting or soil please see my other articles:

Pimp My Soil - Part Deux

Coming this fall: A blog post about exactly what steps I am taking to improve the vegetable garden soil and how I obtained free resources to do so.


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