Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Double, Double, Soil and Trowel

The Plot at Fenton Street
I've just ordered a soil testing kit. This gardening habit of mine is getting serious. I'm now a confirmed soil freak. Last fall, before closing up my community garden plot at Fenton Street, I grew a cover crop of clover and then just as the clover started to cover the plot, I carefully dug it up in troughs, row by row, from the front to the back, and turned the clover upside down into the hole. Then over the top of that, I layered bags and bags of organic leaf gro. To great satisfaction. The smell of all that composted material left me woozy.

Now upstairs in Claire's abandoned bedroom, I've built a shelf and light system and my three-week-old seedlings are throwing off a delightful aroma that makes me yearn for summer sun and soil. I got it bad this gardening bug.

So the soil bags should arrive within a few days and I've been up early watching how-to videos from the University of Maryland.  I'm going to soil test both my home garden and my plot at Fenton Street and I'm feeling as if my dirt is going to pass the test with flying colors. I'll have a complete understanding of my nutrients—sulfur (S), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), and boron (B), and textural analysis (e.g. silty clay loam), percentage of organic matter, and cation exchange capacity (whatever that is??!!!). I'll be silly with scientific analysis. And with that knowledge, I'll bring out my kale, my Swiss chard, my onions, my lettuce and my basil and I'll plant them knowing that the nutrients that they need to grow strong and vigorous will be easily available to them. It's going to be a beautiful gardening year this year. The scent is in the air. The Putterer

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