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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

Sounds like you may be tilling when it is too wet. Next time, wait until it dries out some more. Give your soil the squeeze test before tilling: This test should be with soil from a 2 1/2 - 3' depth. 1. Pick up a handful of soil. 2. Squeeze it into a small ball. 3. Upon applying pressure to the ball the ball should crumble. If your fingers' pressure ...


21

Q. Is it 100% safe to handle the soil by bare hands? No, nothing is 100% safe. That said, I've always done gardening (from the earliest age), also when working indoors or outdoors, with bare-hands. I don't like wearing gloves, just a personal preference. Though the above statement is not quite true, as I have worn gloves (and other safety equipment) when: ...


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, ...


20

I've recently moved into a house on heavy clay (Gloucestershire, UK) and have been working the soil for just over a year now. We decided to turn the central lawn area into several raised beds (ideal for clay-y soils with poor drainage) for a kitchen garden and leave the established shrubby borders. The first thing I did that was enormously helpful for ...


19

Trees might survive it, but unless you are sure what is in the paint (solvent, pigment, fixative, etc) then dumping paint on top soil is generally a bad thing to do. Even relatively simple solvents which you think would break down or evaporate in a matter of days/weeks/months, can contaminate the water table for years.


19

There are multiple reasons: If you use raw manure next to leafy plants or on root crops, you risk bacteria moving from the manure onto your food. E. coli isn't something you want on your food. Chicken and bat manures are high in nitrogen. It's intense enough to burn your plants. It can stink. If you dump a bunch of raw cow manure into a flower garden under ...


18

You are misinterpreting what the lab was telling you. They are not telling you that it is bad or harmful to use manure over a long period of time. They are telling you that it is bad to use manure as the only thing you add to your garden. Think of soil building as composting (because that's what it is). You want to maintain the same sort of C:N ratio ...


18

If you think it's a soil issue, then one possibility is to begin an aggressive campaign of mulching the soil around the trunks to build it. Get a bunch of organic matter, hay from your local hardware or garden store works fine, and spread it around underneath the tree about a foot deep. On top of that spread some composted manure and cover the whole thing ...


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 ...


17

Here is a good article about improving clay soil. I found this part interesting: Compost plays a key role Composts are integral to my clay soil management plan. Because of the humified nature of compost and its low concentrations of oxidizable carbon and available nitrogen, compost is relatively resistant to further decomposition, and ...


16

This is an interesting question. I have studied the chart you mention and, besides all the deficiency/ toxicity symptoms that it states may result from an excess of these nutrients, I would add that in the long term (1) excess calcium can increase the pore space in the soil to as much as 50%, as a result of which the soil dries out too quickly, water uptake ...


16

First, call the stump grinders and ask them what they used. Then you can make a more informed decision: Option 1: Wait. Depending on what they used, the potency will dissipate over time and you'll eventually be able to plant something in the area. Option 2: Build up the soil above that area -- make a raised bed. Don't mix the new soil you add on top with ...


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

I think anyone with loose sand or hard clay soil could probably benefit from triple digging. I've never personally gone to this extent though. However, my native soil is compact clay and I've found that the soil I've spent more time working additional organic material into tend to produce happier plants.


15

Some tillers aren't as large as you think they are. I recently had a similiar issue and I ended up purchasing a garden mantis tiller. http://mantis.com/mantis-4-cycle-tiller.asp I don't know how much you are looking to spend but this one costs 450 bucks..but it is worth every penny. I also got the dethatcher and aerator combo that can be put on this. It's ...


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

In my experiences with all varieties of aloe the one thing that they all have in common is there resilience. In the past couple of months I had been moving all of my plants to another location. One of the pots with aloe had broke and the plant was laying on the ground bare rooted. I have so many plants that I just left it where it was on the ground. Two ...


14

Yes, legumes do provide nitrogen to associated plants, through multiple mechanisms. Nitrogen is transfered from nitrogen fixing plants to the soil solution, where it is then available to other organisms (e.g. plants and microbes). This nitrogen transfer is in the form of root exudates, the sloughing off of root cells, and through the turnover (growth and ...


14

It depends on where you live. Toxic (poisonous / venomous) insects are more prevalent in some places than others. Where I garden there's only one kind (that I can identify) of biting ant, ground wasps are not common, and there aren't any poisonous spiders or snakes. In places like the southern US, fire ants are more common. Though I'm not sure how much ...


14

Are all kinds of earthworms good for the soil? The answer depends on a number of factors. In general for gardening and agricultural purposes, worms benefit the soil by providing aeration and decomposition and improving soil structure. Some people find earthworms to be a pest in lawns because they deposit too many castings on the surface which is ugly and ...


14

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 ...


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

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

Inspired by @winwaed to dig in a little more, I found an article on The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Yavapai County website: The Chinese Pistache Tree - April 14, 2004 The article specifically compares the Chinese Pistachio with the Pistachio Nut Tree in one small section: The Chinese pistache is a close relative of ...


13

In looking around to respond to comments, I found that some manure sources have harmful levels of salt. Since mine is homegrown vs from a CAFO, it's well-rotted, and I've got good water penetration, I don't think it's an issue. But for people buying bagged manure that may originate at CAFOs, it's worth keeping in mind and following guidelines from the ...


13

Did you ask them to pour chemicals (poison) into your landscape? If yes, lesson learnt. If no, they should be called back and instructed to clean up the area properly, at no cost to yourselves. Stump grinding is ok! but growing anything it that area is going to be difficult until the remaining stump and roots breakdown (decompose) naturally. Depending on ...


13

Some wisdom from the Lion King: Mufasa: Everything you see exists together, in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance, and respect all the creatures-- from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope. Simba: But, Dad, don't we eat the antelope? Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become ...


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 ...


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