Saturday, May 2, 2009

garden tools

Hand Wand...guards against blasting the plants...long handle not to much force...
Watering can...Basic tool plastic is light weight. Water suluable plant food. Applicator to sprinkle.
Soaked Hose, 50 ft. 5/8 diameter. Can be covered over with mulch. Conserves water and prevents plant death by that drying out between watering.
Hose get a good connector, they can be repaired . Old hoses are great for staking plants. Look for a hose that does not kink up too easily.
Protect from cold...Check how cold hardy your plants are for your zone. Cover all the way to the ground to make radiant heat, not just a bonnet.
Using Covers to Protect a Garden. All the way to the ground use old towels, sheets. Tomato, peppers, egg plants hate cold! Flowers. Keeps frost off.
Using Light Bulbs in Garden...under the covers keeps it 3-4 degrees higher for your favorite plant.
Gloves: Rubber helps keep safe from chemical/fertilizers Keep your skin away form the products. Oils peppers in the sprays... Cloth...Protect from sharp things in the soil. Peat moss Gripped rubber tips (best of both) out perform leather, great to have while using shovels and other tools.
Hydretain for water retention
Stakes...bamboo, cypress tie to the stake and the plant, trees fruiting trees...2-3 feet into soil. Do not use wire to tie use a soft yarn or velcro type tie.
Bow Saws to cut large tree limbs 3-4 inch limb, great for citris trees.
Hand Saw 7" cutting area, sharp and easy to work with, folds up. Cut off dead wood before it dies back further.
Hand Clippers used most to cut out dead mattereal, cutoff dead mattereals on tomato fast. Not a smushed type edge. Get the kind like scissors. Cut back to the green and alive part. Do not leave the dead at all.
Hand Sprayer to apply Pesticide/ fugiside or organic neem oils, bactcilus (good bacteria), pepper oils. Mark each sprayer or Wash it at least three times. Mark them if they are used for poision never store chemicals in it for it will gum up your sprayer. Sudsy Amoinia to wash it out well.
Hand Spread...for seeding lawn, light covering of fertalizer. Holds around 5 pounds at a time. Good for small areas. Orgainic based for garden.
Garden Trowels...good quality and stron so they do not need to be replaced, nice if it has a
hadle. some have a depth finders. GOOD TOOLS!
Hand cultivators...Three prongs to work arond the beds , use to pull out weeds by torcue...Loosen up the soil for good oxigynation and water.
Large (poney) shovel...Fibergass handle is nice, strong and sharp use a file to sharpen the edges. A rubbery handl is nice.
Knee matts...easyier on knees,back and getting down and up.
Rakes...clear out leaves, small hand rake that can also attatch to long handle...(in my dreams)
Hoe...Basic flat blade and a fork on the other side. Weeds cultivator...loosen soil.
Large Metal Rakes...must have. Keep the metal painted every few years. gathering leaves For petmoss and such.
Hanging Baskets ...for ease of harvest and to raise the aspects to eye level.

soil preperations for gardening

Perlite is exploded at 1800 degrees, it is steral lets air flow good for root starter.
potting mix for starting cuttings and seedlings.
gardening sand, washed builder sand drainage, not too much or it can dry out to fast
peat moss, for moisture Canadian, Michigan, Florida holds the water and nutrients holds water 25% of the garden soil
Back yard soil leaves and debris good ph add amendment vermiculite, perlite and sand compost
Cow manure soil improvement, staral "black Kow" is a high quality that has 1/2 of npk in it holds water and organic mater. 25lbs to 100 feet of garden
Using a PH Scale Acid/alkalinity sweetness or sourness of the soil...dolomite for to acid...alkaline add soil acidify 5.5 to 6.6 for the garden check every 6 months
Wood chips, pine, redwood, cypress, recycled...hold moisture and a mulch.
plant food 16 essential elements (hidden hunger) use a complete plant food.

Major nutrients


Most gardeners are familiar with the “N-P-K” in commercial fertilizers: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). But these three represent only half the major nutrients a plant requires in relatively large amounts. The other major nutrients are sulfur, calcium and magnesium. Consistent use of Perfect Balance fertilizer will result in the proper calcium/magnesium ratio for your soil, as well as provide the necessary nutrients which are not in balance.


Minor nutrients are not really minor, or unimportant. They are essential – vital to plant growth but needed in lesser amounts than major nutrients. Essential minor nutrients are the secret weapons of successful gardeners and farmers. In spite of their critical importance, most fertilizers do not include them.

Plants, like people, can suffer from too much of a good thing. In humans, vitamin D, necessary for health, can cause disease or even death when too much is consumed. Similarly, too much boron can be toxic to a plant.


Calcium is needed for cell division and plant growth. Its buffering characteristics are critical to soil balance and largely determine the availability of other nutrients. Lack of calcium results in yellow or pale leaves, and causes blossom-end rot on tomatoes and peppers. A deficiency in beans causes yellow leaves with curling margins, stunted plants, and blackened, dying shoot tips. Deficiency causes brown-tipped leaves on cabbage, forked roots in beets, and unusually small potatoes.


Magnesium (often confused with manganese, a minor nutrient) is an essential element of chlorophyll, and a deficiency is generally shown in yellowing leaves. Carrots may be poor in flavor and color. Insufficiency also affects potatoes and peas.

When calcium and magnesium levels are not in balance, the availability of many other nutrients is affected adversely. Minor nutrients produce best results when the calcium/magnesium ratio is close to 68:12.


Phosphorus is required for cell growth and plant reproduction, and it is crucial for flower and fruit formation. Too little phosphorus can result in stunting, but too much can cause bitter flavor in crops. Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are often mistakenly attributed to virus disease.


Potassium activates plant enzymes and keeps cell fluid movement in balance. Potassium regulates water loss through stomata (tiny pores) on the leaves, and it is necessary for root formation and food storage in the plant. Severe deficiencies in vegetables can appear as deformed, stunted or yellow leaves, weak stems and premature fruit drop.

Potassium deficiency in young tomato plants results in deformed stems and leaves, browning in older leaves; ripe fruit falls off vines.


Iron is essential for plants to make chlorophyll, plays a role in the synthesis of plant proteins, and helps plants fix nitrogen. A deficiency causes young yellow leaves with green veins, symptoms which are often confused with nitrogen deficiency. Iron deficiency often appears in soils with pH above 6.8; at neutral or high pH, the iron that may be in the soil is not readily available to plants.


Zinc aids in moisture absorption and in the production of chlorophyll. A deficiency is indicated in tomatoes by small, narrow leaves with black spots in yellow areas; plants may be stunted.


Boron is the most widely deficient minor nutrient in vegetable crop soils. It is needed in protein synthesis, and increases flower set, crop yield and quality. In combination with adequate phosphorus, boron increases pollination, fruit set and seed development.

Boron deficiency causes growth reduction at the growing tips. Plants have small, crinkled, deformed leaves, with large areas of discoloration. Boron deficiency is often caused by application of too much lime. While boron is essential for root growth and fruit development, it can become toxic if over applied. Always test the soil and apply only the recommended amount.


Most soils are deficient in copper. Some gardeners believe that copper is toxic to plants and should be kept out of the garden. In fact, too much copper can be toxic to roots and leaves, but a small amount is a necessary component of plant growth. Copper should not be applied before having the soil professionally tested.

Copper increases flavor and sugar content of vegetables and fruits. It increases color intensity and yield of carrots, spinach, onions, corn and cabbage.

Soils with high organic matter form a tight hold on copper and can cause copper deficiencies in the resident plants. As a result, soils which are high in organic content are more likely to respond to copper application.

An early sign of copper deficiency is the uniform, light green color of young leaves. Deficient plants produce small or yellowing leaves and may be particularly susceptible to airborne fungal diseases.


Sulfur increases the protein content of crops and stimulates more rapid root development during early periods of growth. A lack of adequate sulfur is almost always a limiting factor in garden soils. Visible symptoms include a uniform yellowing and mild upward curling of leaves on deficient plants. (Nitrogen deficiency shows confusingly similar symptoms.) A moderate to high level of sulfur is especially required for potatoes.


Manganese accelerates seed germination and hastens fruiting and ripening of crops. Deficiencies result in yellowing, cupping and/or spotting of leaves, stunted growth, and reduced crops.


Nitrogen is the element that plants use in greatest amounts. It is the most important – yet the most often deficient – element in plant growth worldwide. Nitrogen is highly volatile, so it escapes to the air, and it leaches away in run-offs of water. It needs to be applied more often than most fertilizer components, especially when the organic content of the soil is low.

Nitrogen is essential to photosynthesis and healthy cell growth and reproduction. It is vital in producing chlorophyll (which gives leaves good green color) and amino acids. It also promotes shoot and leaf growth.

Sources of Specific Nutrients
Many of these fertilizers are available processed and packaged. You don't have to harvest your own.

  • Nitrogen: bat guano, blood meal, chicken manure, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, kelp meal, livestock manure (composted)
  • Phosphorus: bonemeal, rock phosphate, super phosphate
  • Potassium: granite meal, greensand, seabird guano, shrimp shell meal, sulfate of potash, wood ashes
  • Calcium: bonemeal, chelated calcium, eggshells, limestone, oyster shells, wood ashes
  • Boron: borax, chelated boron, manure
  • Copper: chelated copper
  • Magnesium: chelated magnesium, dolomitic limestone, Epsom salts
  • Sulfur: iron sulfate, sulfur, zinc sulfate
  • Zinc: chelated zinc, zinc sulfate
  • Iron: chelated iron, iron sulfate

Nitrogen= for leafy growth,Phosphorous helps to promote healthy roots and flowering.
Phosphorus= helps to promote healthy roots and flowering. Phosphorous
9-59-8 for bloomers
Potash= strong root and stem development

Manganese sulfate , deficiency palms frizzle top


Magnesium (Mg)- is essential to photosynthesis in plants. It’s the "main molecule" in chlorophyll, the green coloring in green plants! Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use the sun’s energy to create carbohydrates. Without magnesium, plant leaves turn yellow (usually at the bottom) and will soon die.

PH- is measured on a scale of 1-14 with 7 being "neutral". Acids are lower than 7 and alkalis (bases) are above 7. To be technical, the term pH refers to the potential hydrogen-hydroxyl ion content of a solution. Solutions ionize into positive and negative ions. If the solution has more hydrogen (positive) ions than hydroxyl (negative) ions then it is an acid (1-6.9 on the pH scale). Conversely if the solution has more hydroxyl ions than hydrogen it is alkaline (or base), with a range of 7.1-14 on the pH scale.
Pure water has a balance of hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH-) ions and is therefore pH neutral (pH 7). When the water is less than pure it can have a pH either higher or lower than 7.

When the pH is not at the proper level plants will lose it's ability to absorb some of the essential elements required for healthy growth. For all plants there is a particular pH level that will produce optimum results. Most plants can still survive in an environment with a pH of 5.0 to 7.5.

If the pH is too high, some plants suffer from a lack of iron, zinc, manganese, copper and boron. If the pH is too low, it lacks phosphoric acid, calcium, and magnesium. At lower pH (more acidic) ranges, diseases can thrive. Normally, plants tend to take up more acidic elements, causing pH levels to increase or drift up the scale.

Magnesium deficiency in soil

To get an accurate reading of any deficiency, the soil can be tested, but in the case of magnesium, the results are quite variable. Magnesium content can deteriorate quickly, especially during rain or watering. Magnesium is quite water-soluble and gets leached to the lower layers of the soil easily. It is brought back up by tree roots. It is therefore important to return the falling leaves to the topsoil.

Unless you live in an area where the dolomitic rocks is dissolve in the water, you can be pretty sure that magnesium would benefit your garden, especially if you are not adding tree leaves. Magnesium shortage is a real problem in most parts of the world. It is caused when we water or irrigate instead of growing what is natural for the climatic conditions. It causes a serious calcium metabolism problem in people and animals, because calcium cannot be used without magnesium.

Extreme magnesium deficiency is recognized by pale green leaves and by blossom and fruit rot, but don't wait for that. Sprinkle dolomite or epsom salt on the soil from time to time, or add a little epsom salt to the water. Using a little frequently is better than using a lot once, because the excess just gets leached.

Epsom salt recipe: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 gal. of water. For healthy nightshade plants (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) water just as flowering starts. Or use this mixture as a foliage spray in the garden and on house plants.

Epsom salts
Epsom salts

What dose Epsom Salts do for Plants?
Epsom salts contain hydrated magnesium sulfate, two elements vital to plant growth.
• Sulfur is crucial to the inner workings of plants, but it is almost never lacking in the soil, thanks in part to synthetic fertilizers and acid rain.
• Magnesium (10%) can become scarce in soil, because of erosion or depletion of the top soil or a pH imbalance. Some plants, like lettuce and spinach, don’t mind going without magnesium. Others may exhibit symptoms like leaf curing, stunted growth, which can be attributed to more than one cause.
• In general, magnesium plays a role in strengthening the plant cell walls, allowing the plant to take in the nutrients it needs. It also aids in seed germination, photosynthesis and in the formation of fruits and seeds.

Magnesium sulfate is great for palm trees.


Very little in general. Boron occurs in very small amounts in soil - less than 1 part per million so you have to be very cautious in trying to correct it. The balance is upset by excess of the major minerals - such as you can get when too much nitrogen and calcium are used . Sometimes the use of uncomposted manures creates this. You could try a proprietary mix of trace elements or try this. Mix a quarter level teaspoon of borax with a half gallon of water for using over an area 5 square feet. Use acidic mulches.

Soil Secretes

Gardeners add fertilizers to the soil to feed the soil microbes, which control the flow of sulfur, nitrogen and other nutrients to the plants.

Soil isn’t just dirt. It is alive, teeming with tons of organisms per acre. Earthworms come to mind first, but in spite of the fact that we cannot see them, microorganisms comprise a greater weight per acre than worms! Without these microbes, life as we know it would not exist.

Soil microbes control the flow of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and other soil nutrients. Microbes flourish when the soil nutrients are in balance. Essentially, when we add fertilizer to our soils, we are feeding the microbes, which then release nutrients to, or “feed”, plants. Some soil microbes even produce substances, which help to control plant diseases. Provide the microbes in your soil with a balanced diet of nutrients, and they will feed your plants with a balanced diet of available nutrients. Strangely, it possible to apply too much compost!

Soil science is extremely complex. For every action there is a reaction. For example, for every 1% increase in the base saturation of calcium, there is a 1% decrease in the base saturation of magnesium. The levels of other nutrients impact each nutrient’s availability. By adding too much of one nutrient, you are almost certain to reduce the availability of one or more other nutrients.

Even compost, revered by gardeners as a super soil builder, can be over-applied! Too much compost can make potassium so high that boron and manganese are less readily available to plants.

How pH affects nutrient availability

In low pH soils, aluminum reaches toxic levels and reduces plant uptake of the essential nutrients – calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Iron and manganese toxicities can also occur.

In high pH soils (7.5 pH or higher), iron, manganese, zinc and boron are less available to plants.

The pH is essentially a measurement of how well nutrients are balanced. When nutrients are balanced to a pH of 6.5, phosphorus (the “P” in N-P-K) is most available to plants. As you move in either direction from 6.5, phosphorus becomes less available. As a practical matter, soil pH will be impossible to maintain at exactly 6.5. However, with proper soil management, soil pH can be kept between 6.0 and 6.5, a range that is optimal for most nutrients, and, as a result, for most plants.

Healthy plants start with fertile, nutrient-balanced soil

*High yields. The level of yield can be no greater than that allowed by the poorest of the essential plant nutrients
*Better nutritional content of crops. Studies have shown that fresh-grown produce can be much higher in vitamins and minerals that store-bought produce.
*Crops that grow vigorously are less vulnerable to insect attack. Weak plants are always the first to be attacked by pests.

Soil Composition has a major impact on fertilizer requirements

It is no surprise that the “inert” or mineral composition of soils varies widely from region to region. However, it is surprising to discover how much difference can exist in soils from one end of your property to another.
Farmers recognize this and are now using satellite technology to allow them to make adjustments in the amount of nutrients applied to different areas of the same field.

There is no single fertilizer, whether it is organic or chemically derived, which can provide optimal results in all soil types.

While an N-P-K fertilizer will generally improve results, depending on the soil type, it will only proved one portion of the nutrients needed to produce truly healthy plants and bountiful yields.

Blossom End Rot

What is blossom-end rot? How can I prevent it?

Blossom-end rot is a disorder of tomato, squash, pepper, and all other fruiting vegetables. You notice that a dry sunken decay has developed on the blossom end (opposite the stem) of many fruit, especially the first fruit of the season. This is not a pest, parasite or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself.


BER, or blossom-end rot usually begins as a small "water-soaked looking" area at the blossom end of the fruit while still green. As the lesion develops, it enlarges, becomes sunken and turns tan to dark brown to black and leathery. In severe cases, it may completely cover the lower half of the fruit, becoming flat or concave, often resulting in complete destruction of the infected fruit.


Calcium is required in relatively large concentrations for normal cell growth. When a rapidly growing fruit is deprived of calcium, the tissues break down, leaving the characteristic lesion at the blossom end. Blossom-end rot develops when the fruit's demand for calcium exceeds the supply in the soil. This may result from low calcium levels in the soil, drought stress, excessive soil moisture, and/or fluctuations due to rain or overwatering . These conditions reduce the uptake and movement of calcium into the plant, or rapid, vegetative growth due to excessive nitrogen fertilization.


Adequate preparation of the garden bed prior to planting is the key to preventing BER. Insure adequately draining soil in the bed by adding needed ammendments, maintain the soil pH around 6.5 - a pH out of this range limits the uptake of calcium. Lime (unless the soil is already alkaline), composted manures or bone meal will supply calcium but take time to work so must be applied prior to planting. Excess ammonial types of nitrogen in the soil can reduce calcium uptake as can a depleted level of phosphorus. After planting, avoid deep cultivation that can damage the plant roots, use mulch to help stabilize soil moisture levels and help avoid drought stress, avoid overwatering as plants generally need about one inch of moisture per week from rain or irrigation for proper growth and development.

Once the problem develops, quick fixes are difficult. Stabilize the moisture level as much as possible, feeding with manure or compost tea is recommended by many, foliar applications of calcium are of questionable value according to research because of poor absorption and movement to fruit where it is needed but many have reported that foliar application of magnesium (epsom salts) can effect added calcium uptake. Other various suggestions consist of powdered milk, crushed egg shells tea, bone meal tea, Tums tablets, etc. but prevention is the key. Some recommend removing affected fruit from to reduce stress in the plant.

BER should not be confused with fruit abortion or inadequate pollination although the symptoms may appear similar. The onset of BER occurs only after the fruit is well on it's way to development while insufficient pollination problems terminate the fruit while still quite small.

Don’t discard your egg shells, save them for you garden. Egg shells add nutrients to the soil, specifically calcium. Calcium is a beneficial nutrient for tomatoes as the calcium will help stop end blossom rot. They also help discourage slugs and cabbage worms from you tender plants


Gypsum -- hydrated calcium sulfate -- has little effect on pH. The same goes for calcium chloride, which is often used to prevent blossom end rot on tomatoes.

The above "experts" recommend mixing the oyster shell or whatever with your compost well before application, this can vastly increase the availability as well as the permanence of this added mineral. Otherwise, lime products often need annual reapplication.

As to quantities, I remember Andersen talking about no more than 500 pounds of a lime product (somewhat equivalent to oyster shell I think) per acre at one time. I think this is very roughly a pound per 100 sq. ft., not much at all compared to normal liming rates. This shouldn't really upset your pH, Arden mentioned that calcium doesn't do that much to pH compared to magnesium, potassium and sodium. He's actually seen pH drop after application of calcium, probably thru replacement of more alkaline elements.
Egg shells provide calcium to your garden while coffee grounds provide a high content of nitrogen to your garden. Calcium and nitrogen supplements (egg shells and coffee grounds) will help keep your garden soil and plants healthy.

The gypsum question might revolve around the sulfate content, which will always have some depressing effect on many microbes (sulfur is a natural fungicide). Also some gypsum is artificially produced, tho most available up here is naturally mined and therefore acceptable for certified organic input. I would only use a bit of gypsum along with other calcium sources...but I am always tempted to include some because sulfur can easily become deficient in my high rainfall climate. The ideal time for application is before planting and it should be tilled or disked in. This application rate was "moderate".

Friday, May 1, 2009

Are you hungry?

Morning in the garden and I got the prize of the efforts to nibble on.
The Melon and the berries are doing very well
They need a bit of a breakfast them self.

you may recall the egg shell for the tomato

The cabbage bolted for lack of nitrogen.
I have learned now the importance of offering up the proper food.
Satisfy the belly and the heart of the life will flourish.
I saved the seeds today.

Plant by plant the cabbage is being harvested for seed then going over to the chickens as scrape feed.

Carrots are mighty happy.
So I feed the garden today.
I am taking down the pea poles and twine.
Now I'll better be able to tend the beans.
We are ready for a change up to beans.
The peas were struggleing with some powdery mildew. They were getting old and tired so I am removing them.
This soil is full of nitrogen from the peas, it is a by product.
So the plan is to plant the thing that needs high nitrogen here next.
Research, study and success.

Remember every living thing has a diet their very own.
Don't let them go hungry.
If They are going to feed us they need to eat too.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tomato Harvest

Two days of tomato and the days Butter Lettuce

Hello, I placed those orange tree trimmings in the bail, it seems to be working to keep the dogs out. Cayenne pepper was sprinkled around the bails...
The dogs licked it up!!!!!!
Then they drank a lot of water.
Oh it is so hard to do those things...
if it works it will be best for their long term.

These las two days the harvest is huge!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The future of food

Life is in the seed
Please watch this

Sound the alarm!

This can is a great chime to spook the dogs away from the gate.
It rattles, when the birds sit on the cans they tip and the bird gets off kilter and fly's off.
Pretty cool way to put the tins to good use.
The cans also protect my face when bending to harvest.
The poles can be a hazard.
Up turned terracotta pot are prettier, but this will do well.

Monday, April 27, 2009