Garden & Greenhouse October 2017 Issue - Page 49

problem. It will really amend the soil, adding nutri- ents and improving its capacity to retain water. Be careful to use only mature compost, otherwise your plants may be deprived of supplements. You can also prevent water evaporation by mulching the soil around the planted crops. Enhance soil drainage and fight excessive damp- ness by adding some extra space between the parti- cles of the earth. To achieve this, you can incorporate sand or gravel in the soil. Such amendments, how- ever, might also require additional organic matter that will bring more nutrients to your garden. Be careful and do not add sand to clay soil. Raised bed gardens are a good solution in this situation as they help the planted areas drain quicker. Avoid planting your greenery in areas that are too close to natural water pathways or it will be very hard for you to take care of the plants. Too High or Low pH Levels Alkaline soils can be amended with iron sulfate or elemental sulfur. If you choose to use sulfur, it should be applied to the garden soil about a year prior to planting the crops as its reaction is slow. If the pH level of the soil is generally high, check it annually and add amendments whenever needed. Of course, you can simply accept the fact that your garden has alkaline soil and grow plants that are suit- able for such conditions such as spinach, asparagus, lettuce and cabbage. Many gardeners’ favorite amendment for acidic soil is lime. Apply the lime depending on the soil’s type and pH to avoid possible negative effects caused by over application on your greenery. For more or- ganic gardening, the soil can be treated with wood ash, but the ash should be applied very carefully. An excessive amount can increase the level of potassium in the soil, which will prevent plants from absorbing other types of nutrients. Some of the crops that toler- ate soils with lower pH are potatoes, radishes, apples and raspberries, so you can consider growing them in your garden, instead of constantly trying to reduce the soil’s acidity. October 2017 The more you take care of your garden, the healthier and the richer it will become. Yet, some- times too many chemicals can have a negative im- pact on the soil or produce. Growing in a more eco-friendly manner is never a mistake and there are plenty of organic amendments that can be used to improve the productivity of a garden. Biological soil amendments which contain plenty of beneficial mi- croorganisms are an excellent way to stimulate and improve the soil. GG Bill Baugh is a product manager for Custom Biologicals, Inc. a manufacturer and distributor of innovative microbial products. You can visit their website at and he can be contacted at 561.797.3008 or CONTAINMENT CAGES Prevent cross contamination ■ Keep bugs in ■ Keep bugs out ■ All systems custom made ■ Mesh covers ■ Colors Available: Natural and Green Mesh Size: 18x18, 20x20, 52x52 Metal frame tube/fi tting style Waterproof rain jackets available Protect yourself from late season rain. Redwood Empire Awning ■ PHONE: 707.588.9900 ■ 49