Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Photo!

As always, click to embiggen. This shot is from today, March 31, 2009. The color is starting to deepen and the density is slowly increasing. If you look very closely, you'll see a few minor problem areas that I've now core aerated. I'd already reseeded those over the winter and they should be sprouting sometime soon.

Bonus shot! Here's a blue blooming Iris Reticulata.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Soil Testing

I'm sending off soil tests to U. Mass Amherst, but I also have a small and very basic sample kit of my own from Rapid Test.

The pH tested at 6.5 (see below), and I'm pending on the other tests waiting for the soil mix to settle. That could be 24 hours, so I'll update this later. (Later: N is testing as deficient, which is no surprise on an organic lawn. P tests as sufficient. K is testing as surplus).

Here's the pH test. I'm calling it 6.5, give or take a little. If that's correct, it's nearly perfect.

Here's the mixed soil sample (disgusting!) Make sure to use a cheap blender

And here are the soil cores for U. Mass Amherst.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kelp on the Lawn and Gardens

I just put down 10 pounds per thousand square feet of kelp meal on the lawn and gardens. Using a standard of 1-0-2, that's around 0.1 lbs nitrogen, no phosphorus, and 0.2 lbs of potassium. However, kelp generally isn't used for its NPK supply and functions far better as a soil conditioner.

Kelp contains auxins, cytokinins, and gibberelins, which encourage the roots to grow as well. That will help in both the lawn and gardens and assist in restoring more of the grub damage they sustained last fall.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Corn Meal

I bought 7 more bags of corn meal, six for the lawn and 1 for the gardens. That went down today.

One note that I have is not to purchase the fine-ground stuff in the future. I had to put that down by hand, whereas the rougher ground will go through my spreader. Doing it by hand took four hours.

Well, at least it's complete! That's now 83 pounds of corn meal per thousand (about eight times normal), or enough to condition the soil through spring. If I add any in May, I'll probably go with cracked corn. Right now, I have some very happy earthworms who will hopefully have more earthworms...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Corn Meal and the Lawn

200 pounds of corn meal went down today, and I'm starting to account for the area that will end up being planted with Thuja come April. As of now, I'm using a typical standard of 6,000 square feet of lawn, figuring that about 1,000 will either be under or behind the new bushes and I won't want to feed it because I don't want it to grow that much.

So that works out to 33.3 pounds per thousand, about half what I'd like to add (but I could only get 4 bags and will need to go for four more). Corn meal is mostly a soil conditioner, or used to combat fungal issues, which I don't have. I'm looking to deepen the topsoil more, however, and for that it works well and can be put down in very large amounts as it has few resources. I use a standard NPK of 1.65-0.65-0.40 for that, a far cry from soybean's 7-1-2.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Updated (Late) Image and Mowing

The lawn went through first mow yesterday, taking it down to 1 1/2" to get rid of the dead tips and expose the soil to a little more sun. It's greener, and the weather looks to hold in the forties and fifties this week so it should green up even more.

I took a reference photo of the bluegrass back in February but neglected to post it--whoops! Here it is now. As always, click to embiggen.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Alfalfa On The Lawn

I distributed 100 lbs of alfalfa meal on the lawn today, for about 14 pounds per thousand square feet. I usually use a standard of 2.5 - 1 - 2 (NPK) for that, so it adds up to around 0.35 lbs of nitrogen, 0.14 phosphorous, and 0.29 of potassium.

It has the advantage of containing tricontanol (a growth hormone) as well, so the roots will respond to it very well. After some issues with grubs last year, any response I can get on the roots would be very good.

This already has my total organics near 85 pounds per thousand this year. That's quite high.

I also planted a second Double Knockout rose bush as the first one flowered after only a month in the soil and kept flowering until it froze. I added several handfuls of alfalfa meal to the soil--roses love it--and fed the older bush as well.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Several Tasks

I moved a rose bush today to prepare for the new shrubs on the back line. That, at least, was fairly easy!

The lawn saw another treatment with Nature's Magic and Aerify since the weather was a very nice seventy. I also applied a small amount of Sul-Po-Mag to get 1/3 of a pound of potassium down.

Deinflation is Grand

I stopped out at Albright's Mill in Kempton today for soybean meal (and corn meal for some new shrubs). Last year's price was $13.25, this year's was $10.97. If I'm doing the math right, it went down 17%!