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22

Well, basically, the perched table is the saturation point, where the capillary action in the soil is canceled out by the force of gravity. Every type of growing media has a different perched table. Capillary action will pull water up from a certain point, and below that point, gravity keeps the water from moving up. The size of the container does not affect ...


21

No, in your lifetime, normal amounts of pine needles will not measurably acidify your soil. They are somewhat acidic, and acidify soil over long periods of time, unless the soil base is extremely alkaline. They don't acidify soil more than other deciduous tree leaves, and oak leaves in particular (they have a pH of 4.5 to 4.7). Rain does leach the acid out, ...


18

My first step in your situation would be a soil test. The UC Extension service doesn't perform soil testing, but this pdf has a list of labs in northern and central California. The results of this test will tell you in what ways your soil is deficient. You don't specifically mention what you're growing, but it sounds like vegetables. One thing that makes ...


16

An artificial soil mix offers advantages to growers and some advantages to the people who buy the plants. For the grower: consistent artificial soil quality and mix across multiple batches free of pathogens and the crowd of bacteria/virus/fungi that live in soil different mixes are designed for seedlings, acid loving plants or plants that benefit from ...


16

It's called "granular convection" and there's really nothing you can do about it except continue to remove the stones as they come up. The winter cold and the water in the soil help this along - I'm forever removing stones - some rather large - from our garden beds and pastures. I pulled a stone out that was easily 7 inches long and 5 inches across a few ...


15

Blueberries certainly like acidic soil (about 4-5 pH) and is quite necessary for a healthy plant with good fruit production. This is not just for "serious gardeners", but is something that blueberries need. While the plant might grow in neutral soils, the fruit production might be low and the leaves generally sparse. I can tell you from experience that my ...


15

Legumes are often used for this purpose. From Wikipedia: Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. And Within legume nodules, nitrogen gas from the atmosphere is converted into ammonia, which is then assimilated into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), nucleotides (...


14

The wooden frame you describe is what I use, but instead of chicken wire I use hardware cloth (wire mesh). I have one frame with 1/4" mesh and one slightly larger (3/8"? -- I think 1/2" would be too big)). My large frame measures about 3' square, the small frame is built to fit over a specific bucket and measures about 15" square. The biggest problem with ...


14

Who knows? There could be lots of reasons. It might have been to help drainage (although proper rounded gravel probably does this better), but it might be just builder's fill - and a bulldozer leveled it out before the final top soil was added. A large number (majority?) of urban backyards in the US are made of varying degrees of builder's fill. All they ...


14

Well, in my area, unless you add about 6" of soil every year, the stones will rise to the surface each spring. Around here, we call it the 'crop'. I've heard it is frost action working on the stones in the subsoil, but I'm not sure that's the cause. In any case, it's a chore you can expect to have each spring, and eventually you'll get a system down to do it ...


13

Well soil is just the color it is. Some soils are dark brown, some are red, some are yellow. After several years of conditioning with good compost all soil will darken with organic material. If you really want it to look dark right now, you will probably best be served by top dressing your soil with a dark colored mulch. Mulch however, unless it's dyed is ...


13

Leaves are good compost if they are shredded. If left as is on garden beds or lawns they tend to clump and can smother the smaller perennials. To do my fall clean up I put a bagger on the mower and go at it. I can put up to six inches (12 cm) of fluffy shredded leaves on top of rhubarb and by next June or July the worms have eaten it up. They will do the ...


12

You could try seaweed which has been used as a soil additive. Just chop it up and wash it with freshwater or compost it before using. Depending on where you are you should find varieties of palm trees. The fibre found between the hard outer shell and the inner nut is also used as a soil additive. Animal manure from goats, pigs, sheep or chickens is also ...


12

Once, and then don't walk on it. Since you are starting with raised beds, which presumably have not been walked on since they were made, I'd not get overly concerned about it. There are, to be sure, contradictory opinions on this. Some folks like to stir everything up - it feels like they are doing something. I'm presently of the opinion (having done the ...


11

Digging in the composted manure is a good start - especially as it is free. The legumes (peas and beans) will help a bit too. I would also start to compost if you are not doing so already, and you can then dig that in in future years. Compost (especially the make-yourself kind) is mainly organic matter which will break down over time. Therefore it won't ...


11

Well you're right to be concerned. The soil level around the base of a healthy tree should preferably not be raised at all, but if you must, 2 inches of something very light and free draining you might just get away with. However, because you've got a closed in 'well' around the base, it doesn't sound as if any soil there will be particularly free draining. ...


11

Agree with J Musser's answer - where I lived, the soil was very stoney, and yes, they do surface every year, and you notice them particularly after winter. I used to wonder if it was the rotation of the planet that brought them up (you know how if you shake a container of nuts, the largest ones come to the top) but however it happens, it does happen. ...


10

Once you get below the root zone, the only thing you're affecting is drainage. How deep the root zone is varies from plant to plant; see e.g. "Root Development of Vegetable Crops". Even when taproots go very deep, you probably want to focus on where most of the root hairs are, for most of the time the plant is growing, which is of course less deep. ...


10

When: twice a year, spring and fall for areas where there is a cold winter how much: you should be able to still see the grass. complete coverage could be counter productive if the grass cannot grow fast enough to reach the light. Whether it will or not depends on your zone and health of grass and soil raking helps but is not necessary unless you put a lot ...


10

As with any complex systems, there are no universally accepted definitions, so let's see the differences from this points of view: soil a) = naturally occurring granular covering on the surface of Earth, capable of supporting life soil b) = substrat plants are growing from compost = partially decomposed organic matter, human-made fertilizer and soil ...


10

Glyphosate needs to be applied while the plants is actively growing and transpiring moisture, which requires sunlight. This means you need to apply glyphosate in the morning so that it will take effect during that day. Glyphosate it deactivated very easily so applying at night, even if it doesn't rain, is likely to be ineffective. So, apply in the morning ...


10

If it doesn't contain manufactured materials, plastics or anti-rot pressure treatment, burnt woody material when thoroughly consumed will leave behind the wood mineral content and charcoal. You're burning off carbohydrates, cellulose and lignins which are complex molecules of mostly hydrogen, carbon and with any protein content nitrogen. Of course all the ...


10

No, provided the 'garden fabric' is water and air permeable and not thick plastic. Geotextile fabrics are commonly used in areas with existing planting, usually with some kind of decorative mulch on top. If such a membrane were laid with stones on top and left for some years, it's likely that the area would need to be improved by digging over and ...


10

Blueberries have a rudimentary root system that doesn't have the finer root hairs found on most plants. They grow best in forest duff (lots of acidic, organic matter). The acidic nature of the soil causes bacteria and fungi to thrive that release minerals and ammonia that blueberry bushes thrive on and that their roots can readily absorb. In plant root ...


10

Good quality topsoil is probably best, preferably with some organic or humus rich composted materials added (composted animal manures, leaf mould, spent mushroom compost, garden compost, anything like that), though the latter component should only be added if you're not growing root crops like carrots, which will fork badly in manured or very rich soil. ...


10

Hippotion celerio (Linnaeus, 1758) Gabi Moth, Vine Hawk Moth You must have disturbed it as it has tucked its head under its thorax and expanded its eye segments. It's agriculturally important as the adult moth contributes to the pollination of Papaya. http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/sphi/celerio.html


9

Below is what I would consider a "Rolls-Royce" job, all of it might not need to be done if water doesn't puddle on the surface of the lawn... French drains on the back face/side of the upper and lower retaining walls: Dig 300 to 450mm (12 to 18inches) wide trenches. The trenches should run the length of the retaining walls. The trenches should bottom out ...


9

If you have a warm-season lawn, mid-Spring is the ideal time to renovate: * Can my lawn be saved or is it time to dig it up and re-sod? Seeing as you live in the Boston area, I'm 95% certain you would have a cool-season lawn, therefore late-Summer to early-Autumn (Fall) is the ideal time to renovate: What's an organic way to discourage crabgrass from a ...


9

A pH of about 4.5 is required for blueberries to do well. (Some sources say as low as 4.3, some as high as 5.0; most sources say they do well between 4.0-5.5, which is a fairly large range.) At higher pH, the bushes will have an iron deficiency; see the photo and discussion on this page for iron deficiency caused by high pH. The best way to adjust the pH ...


9

The easiest test to do is also perhaps the most important: organic matter content. You do this with what is commonly called a "soil shake test." Find an area clear of weeds and growth where you can get about ¼ quart jar of screened soil (no rocks or huge lumps). Add water to the quart jar until it is perhaps ¾ full. Attach lid and shake vigorously for some ...


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