Growing Outside? It is a big world out there and every environment is different. Try to dot all your i’s and cross your t’s. The better the plan, the better the harvest
Growing Outdoors, a dream come true? But, it is loaded with its own difficulties like any other grow
Everyone dreams of this “BIG FIELD of TALL GRASS”…but one, two or more plants is usually where we start as beginners. We will start here with beginners as most growers with large grows have some experience before they reach this stage. As you continue to grow in knowledge, you can increase your crop, if you have the space.
When growing your plants outdoors, much depends on the natural type of soil in the area. Clay-based soils or soil that experiences heavy rainfall will not drain well. On the other hand, sandy soils might have drainage rates that are too fast. Know your soil and adjust your watering routine accordingly. The most basic way of combating an overwatering problem is to add in time between each scheduled watering, then allowing your plant some extra time to absorb smaller amounts of water until it appears happy and healthy again.
Another simple way of increasing the oxygen and decreasing the amount of moisture in any soil-based growing medium is to poke holes into the soil with a pen or pencil. This will allow the soil to aerate (have more oxygen).
Many will amend their soil with things like: compost, bagged store bought soil, mulch and other materiel. Raised bed gardens are usually composed of all store bought soil while most gardens usually just get “top soil” added for an added lift. Hard soils can be amended with materials (perlite, vermiculite) to soften / loosen it up so oxygen can better reach the roots. Sandy soils can use some organic matter (compost, leaves, bark, straw, peat) and sometimes cover crops and green manure
The best sandy soil amendments are ones that increase the ability of the sandy soil to retain water and increase the nutrients in the soil as well. Amending sandy soil with well rotted manure or compost (including grass clippings, humus and leaf mold) will help to improve the soil the fastest. You can also add vermiculite or peat as sandy soil amendments, but these amendments will only add to the soil’s ability to hold onto water and will not add much nutrient value to the sandy soil. When amending sandy soil, you need to watch the salt levels of the soil. While compost and manure are the best way to amend sandy soil, they contain high levels of salt that can stay in the soil and damage growing plants if the salt level builds up too high. If your sandy soil is already high in salt, such as in a seaside garden, be sure to use plant only based compost or sphagnum peat, as these amendments have the lowest salt levels
Is calcium required in garden soil? Isn’t that the stuff that builds strong teeth and bones? Yes, and it’s also essential for the “bones” of your plants — the cell walls. Like people and animals, can plants suffer from calcium deficiency? Plant experts say yes, calcium is required in garden soil. Good soil and calcium are linked. Just as we need fluids to carry nutrients through our body, so is water needed to carry calcium. Too little water equals a calcium deficiency plant. If water is sufficient and problems still exist, it’s time to ask how to raise calcium in soil. First though, let’s ask the question, WHY is calcium required in garden soil? How Calcium Affects Plants There are many essential minerals in soil, and calcium is one of them. It’s not only needed to build strong cell walls to keep the plant upright, it provides transport for other minerals. It may also counteract alkali salts and organic acids. When you add calcium to the soil, it’s like giving your garden a vitamin pill. A calcium deficiency plant is notable for its stunted growth in new leaves and tissues. Brown spots may appear along the edges and grow toward the center of the leaves. Blossom end rot in tomatoes and peppers, black heart in celery, and internal tip burn in cabbages are all signals to add calcium to the soil. How to Raise Calcium in Soil Adding lime to the soil in autumn is the easiest answer to how to raise calcium in the soil. Eggshells in your compost will also add calcium to soil. Some gardeners plant eggshells along with their tomato seedlings to add calcium to soil and prevent blossom end rot. Once you recognize a calcium deficiency plant, foliar applications are the best answer to how to raise calcium. In soil, the roots take up calcium. In foliar feeding, calcium enters through the leaves. Spray your plants with a solution of 1/2 to 1 ounce (14-30 ml.) of calcium chloride or calcium nitrate to one gallon (4 L.) of water. Make sure the spray thoroughly covers the newest growth
Technically, magnesium is a metallic chemical element which is vital for human and plant life. Magnesium is one of thirteen mineral nutrients that come from soil, and when dissolved in water, is absorbed through the plant’s roots. Sometimes there are not enough mineral nutrients in soil and it is necessary to fertilize in order to replenish these elements and provide additional magnesium for plants
Copper is an essential element for plant growth. Soils naturally contain copper in some form or other, ranging anywhere from 2 to 100 parts per million (ppm) and averaging at about 30 ppm. Most plants contain about 8 to 20 ppm. Without adequate copper, plants will fail to grow properly. Therefore, maintaining fair amounts of copper for the garden is important. Copper Deficiency in Plant Growth On average, the two factors that commonly influence copper are the soil pH and organic matter. Peaty and acidic soils are most likely to be deficient in copper. Soils that already have high alkaline content (above 7.5), as well as soils that have had pH levels increased, result in lower copper availability. Copper levels also drop as the amount of organic matter is increased, which usually hampers the availability of copper by reducing soil mineral fixation and leaching. However, once organic matter has sufficiently decomposed, adequate copper can be released into the soil and taken up by plants. Inadequate levels of copper can lead to poor growth, delayed flowering, and plant sterility. Copper deficiency in plant growth may appear as wilting with leaf tips turning a bluish green color. In grain-type plants, the tips may become brown and appear to mimic frost damage.
How to Organically Add Copper to Your Garden
When considering how to add copper to your garden, remember that not all soil tests for copper are reliable, so careful examination of the plant growth is important. Copper fertilizers are available in both inorganic and organic forms. The rates for application should be followed closely to prevent toxicity. Generally, the rates of copper are about 3 to 6 pounds per acre (1.5 to 3 kg. per .5 hectare), but this is really dependent on the soil type and plants grown. Copper sulfate and copper oxide are the most common fertilizers for increasing copper levels. Copper chelate can also be used at about one-quarter of the recommended rate. Copper can be broadcast or banded in the soil. It can also be applied as a foliar spray. Broadcasting is probably the most common method of application, however, thee can be Copper Toxicity in Plants
Although soil rarely produces excessive amounts of copper on its own, copper toxicity can occur from the repeated use of fungicides that contain copper. Copper toxicity plants appear stunted, are usually bluish in color, and eventually turn yellow or brown. Toxic copper levels reduce seed germination, plant vigor, and iron intake. Neutralizing copper soil toxicity is extremely difficult once the problem occurs. Copper has low solubility, which enables it to persist in the soil for years
Mushroom compost makes a great addition to the garden soil. Organic gardening with mushroom compost can be accomplished in several ways and offers many benefits to the garden. What is Mushroom Compost? Mushroom compost is a type of slow-release, organic plant fertilizer. The compost is made by mushroom growers using organic materials such as hay, straw, corn cobs, and hulls, and poultry or horse manure. Since the mushroom growing process varies slightly between individual growers, mushroom compost recipes may differ here and there. For instance, additional materials like gypsum, peat moss, lime, soybean meal, and various other organic items may be added to the compost as well. Once the mushroom spawn are mixed into the compost, it is steam pasteurized to kill weed seeds and any other harmful agents. A mixed layer of sphagnum moss and lime is top-dressed onto the top of the pile for the growth of mushrooms. Mushroom composting takes about three to four weeks to process, during which it is monitored closely by mushroom growers to maintain adequate temperatures. After the process is complete, the leftover compost is disposed of and sold as fertilizer. Mushroom Compost for Gardening Mushroom compost is generally sold in bags labeled as SMC or SMS (spent mushroom compost or spent mushroom substrate). It is available at many garden centers or through landscape supply companies. Mushroom compost is also available for purchase by the truckload or bushel, depending on its use in the garden. There are several uses for mushroom compost. It can be used as a soil amendment for lawns, gardens, and container plants. However, this product should be used with caution due to its high soluble salt levels. These salt levels can kill germinating seeds, harm young seedlings, and cause damage to salt-sensitive plants, like azaleas and rhododendrons. Mushroom Compost Benefits The beneficial uses of mushroom compost, however, far outweigh the downside of high salt levels. This type of compost is reasonably inexpensive. It enriches the soil and supplies nutrients for the healthy growth of plants. Mushroom compost also increases the water-holding capacity of the soil, which decreases your watering needs. Mushroom compost is suitable for most garden plants. It supports various types of plant growth, from fruits and vegetables, to herbs and flowers. To get the greatest results when organic gardening with mushroom compost, thoroughly mix it in with the garden soil prior to planting or allow it to sit over winter and apply in spring
Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of the soil. The soil pH range is measured on a scale of 1 to 14, with 7 as the neutral mark — anything below 7 is considered acidic soil and anything above 7 is considered alkaline soil.
Importance of Soil pH for Plants
The middle of the range on the soil pH scale is the best range for bacterial growth in the soil to promote decomposition. The decomposition process releases nutrients and minerals into the soil, making them available for the plants or shrubs to use. Soil fertility depends on pH. The mid range is also perfect for micro-organisms that convert the nitrogen in the air into a form which the plants can readily use. When the pH rating is outside the mid range, both of these extremely important processes become more and more inhibited, thus locking up the nutrients in the soil such that the plant cannot take them up and use them to their full advantage
Testing Soil pH
The soil pH can get out of balance for several reasons. The continued sole use of inorganic fertilizers will cause the soil to become more acidic over time. Using a rotation of inorganic and organic fertilizers will aid in keeping the soils pH from getting out of balance.
Maintaining the critical pH balance will make plants hardier and happier, thus allowing the gardener to enjoy top quality blooms and vegetable or fruit harvests. There are some good and low cost pH testing devices on the market today that are also easy to use. Soil pH testing kits are available from many gardening stores, or your local extension office may be able to test soil samples for you
PROPER SOIL PH FOR PLANTS
There is no 1 level of measurability that is associated with cannabis, or any other plant. Instead, a range has been identified as the preferred range of pH
That RANGE IS 5.8-7 WITH 6.4 BEING THE MOST ACCETABLE MEASUREMENT
Adding amendments to the soil can also alter the soil’s pH rating. Testing soil pH of the garden occasionally and then making the appropriate soil pH adjustment based on those tests is highly recommended in order to keep things in balance
Standing in the fertilizer aisle of a garden or farm store, you are faced with a dizzying array of fertilizer options, many with a series of three numbers like 10-10-10, 20-20-20, 10-8-10 or many other combinations of numbers. You may be asking yourself, “What do the numbers on fertilizer mean?”. These are NPK values, which leads to the next question of, “What is NPK?”. Keep reading to learn more about fertilizer numbers and NPK
The three numbers on fertilizer represents the value of the three macro-nutrients used by plants. These macro-nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), or NPK for short. The higher the number, the more concentrated the nutrient is in the fertilizer. For example, numbers on fertilizer listed as 20-5-5 has four times more nitrogen in it than phosphorus and potassium. A 20-20-20 fertilizer has twice as much concentration of all three nutrients than 10-10-10. The fertilizer numbers can be used to calculate how much of a fertilizer needs to be applied to equal 1 pound (453.5 g.) of the nutrient you are trying to add to the soil. So if the numbers on the fertilizer are 10-10-10, you can divide 100 by 10 and this will tell you that you need 10 pounds (4.5 kg.) of the fertilizer to add 1 pound (453.5 g.) of the nutrient to the soil. If the fertilizer numbers were 20-20-20, you divide 100 by 20 and you know that it will take 5 pounds (2 kg.) of the fertilizer to add 1 pound (453.5 g.) of the nutrient to the soil. A fertilizer that contains only one macro-nutrient will have “0” in the other values. For example, if a fertilizer is 10-0-0, then it only contains nitrogen.
These fertilizer numbers, also called NPK values, should appear on any fertilizer you purchase, whether it is an organic fertilizer or a chemical fertilizer
So now that you know what the numbers on fertilizer mean, you need to know why NPK is important to your plants. All plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow. Without enough of any one of these nutrients, a plant will fail.
Nitrogen (N) – Nitrogen is largely responsible for the growth of leaves on the plant.
Phosphorus (P) – Phosphorus is largely responsible for root growth and flower and fruit development.
Potassium (K) – Potassium is a nutrient that helps the overall functions of the plant perform correctly.
Knowing the NPK values of a fertilizer can help you select one that is appropriate for the type of plant you are growing. For example, if you are growing leafy vegetables, you may want to apply a fertilizer that has a higher nitrogen number to encourage leafy growth. If you are growing flowers, you may want to apply a fertilizer that has a higher phosphorus number to encourage more blooms. Before you apply fertilizer to your garden beds, you should have your soil tested. This will also help you determine what balance of fertilizer numbers will be appropriate for your garden’s soil needs and deficiencies
Tips To Sterilize Potting Soil, Garden Soil And Soil For Seeds
Since soil can harbor pests, diseases, and weed seeds, it’s always a good idea to sterilize garden soil before planting to ensure the most optimal growth and health of your plants. Many store bought soils will contain pathogens (insects, larvae, eggs, insects, fungi, etc.). While you can go out and purchase sterile potting mixes to meet your needs (expensive and not always a true statement by vendors (never buy OLD bags of soil that have laid around for a long time in the store, warehouse, etc. , they usually are / have hard spots, aged plastic bagging, faded). You can also learn how to sterilize soil at home quickly and efficiently. Methods for Sterilizing Soil for Seeds and Plants There are several ways to sterilize garden soil at home. They include heating the soil. This is how compost piles work, they heat the soil to >135°F (57°C). This destroy pathogens, seeds (like weeds), eggs, larvae, insects. But the easiest is to treat your soil before use or mixing!
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