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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

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, ...


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

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

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

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

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

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 ...


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

I live in the St Louis area so my soil is also very clayey. I make 5 gallons of compost tea each week (from late Spring to earlier Autumn "Fall") and apply the 5 gallon batch to the front garden one week, then the following week apply a new fresh 5 gallon batch to the back garden. I repeat that cycle for the period given previously. I have been doing this ...


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 ...


12

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


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

The Wikipedia page on Nitrogen Fixation says the nitrogen is released after the plant dies. Under legumes, quote: Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae – with taxa such as clovers, soybeans, alfalfa, lupines, peanuts, pistachios and rooibos. They contain symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobia within nodules in their ...


10

Just to round off the sterling advice already given: if it is available, I would definitely add plenty of well-rotted horse manure (not farmyard or cattle manure, which is more suitable for amending light soils). Over time, horse or stable manure - preferably one that contains plenty of straw, rather than wood shavings - will open up the soil structure, and ...


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 ...


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