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Soil Amendments Question

 
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I have a compost pile and most of my raised beds have at least a bit of my compost in them.. it'll be better next year as I just started out last year with gardening in the fall.

I have a little bit of worm castings in each bed as well.. couple handfuls each.  

Also have about four handfuls of Jobe's Organics Vegetable and Tomato granular fertilizer in each bed.

(All my raised beds are 4' x 4').

Most beds have cow manure compost (Black Kow and the cheaper Timberline $2 per bag).   Plan on not having to buy any of this next year as actively working on getting a large compost pile for next year.

I've also added about 1.5 cubic feet of peat in the top 6" of each bed.

My question is should I be adding in a bit of epsom salt, kelp, azomite dust, green sand?   I haven't added any of that yet.   The soil in oklahoma generally is supposed to be mineral rich but haven't had it tested.   I have a bit of native soil mixed in every bed.. actually most of the beds at least bottom 6" are 100% native soil.   Raised beds are 14" tall.
 
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Jennifer Lowery wrote:The soil in oklahoma generally is supposed to be mineral rich but haven't had it tested.



Jennifer, I would definitely have the soil tested first. Without knowing exactly what minerals are in it, randomly adding soil amendments can be a crap shoot. Mineral imbalances can be just as much of a problem as deficiencies because you can get mineral binding, so that the minerals are there but not available to plants. Look for a soil lab that does a complete soil spectrum and analyzes trace minerals.
 
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Jennifer,

Have you considered adding in some woodchips?  And I don’t mean cedar, I mean something quick to decompose.  Here is the reason I ask.

Like you, each year when I planted my garden I used to start off by adding a bunch of amendments that looked surprisingly like what you add, in particular the black kow manure and worm castings.  I labored under the understanding that my vibrant veggies from the previous year seriously depleted my source of nutrients.  

But recently I discovered woodchips, and more importantly, the decomposers in the woodchips that form symbiotic relationships with the veggies.  I have stopped adding more nutrients to my soil and instead add woodchips (lots of them) and fungi in the woodchips consume the chips and wrap themselves around my veggie roots.  The veggies flourish now like never before.  I am sure that you have plenty of nutrients in both the garden bedding and the soil beneath.  The soil microbes radically help move those nutrients towards your plants.

I have had great luck in not fertilizing as my soil biota does the job for me.

Good Luck,

Eric
 
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You can get a pretty inexpensive soil test through your local extension agent.
 
Jennifer Lowery
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Eric Hanson wrote:Jennifer,

Have you considered adding in some woodchips?  And I don’t mean cedar, I mean something quick to decompose.  Here is the reason I ask.

Like you, each year when I planted my garden I used to start off by adding a bunch of amendments that looked surprisingly like what you add, in particular the black kow manure and worm castings.  I labored under the understanding that my vibrant veggies from the previous year seriously depleted my source of nutrients.  

But recently I discovered woodchips, and more importantly, the decomposers in the woodchips that form symbiotic relationships with the veggies.  I have stopped adding more nutrients to my soil and instead add woodchips (lots of them) and fungi in the woodchips consume the chips and wrap themselves around my veggie roots.  The veggies flourish now like never before.  I am sure that you have plenty of nutrients in both the garden bedding and the soil beneath.  The soil microbes radically help move those nutrients towards your plants.

I have had great luck in not fertilizing as my soil biota does the job for me.

Good Luck,

Eric



When and how do you add the wood chips?  Like do you mulch with them over the winter and then turn them in? Trying to understand how you go about adding them in and what state they are in when you do.  Do you make a wood chip compost pile hten mix in that in the spring? Do you get free wood chips then innoculate them with fungus?
 
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