Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mother Nature's Got Me Singin' the Blues

I'm singin the pouring down rain blues.  It was supposed to be sunny next Monday and Tuesday, but after checking the forecast this morning I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the sun.  My garden beds are so wet there are puddles on top of them, luckily they drain well and one good warm day will leave them workable. 

Meanwhile, I ordered some beneficial nematodes that should arrive soon.  I figured the nematodes couldn't hurt, and I have some concerns regarding the spotted cucumber beetles I saw last summer.  If they laid eggs in my soil I'd better have some defenses in place; I don't really have enough room for good crop rotation so have to use other options to control problems.

I also took some advice on my seedlings and spritzed them with 1/2 strength fish emulsion to give them a boost, one week later it seems to be paying off since they are working on putting out new leaves and aren't showing signs of nutrient shortage.  I ran a quick soil test too, to see where things are in this third year of gardening in the same soil.  I usually add some compost during the growing season to keep the plants happy, but this is the first time I've actually tested the soil to see how it's holding up.  Turns out that my soil is low on Nitrogen and Phosphorus, but a little high in Potassium. 

Nitrogen is essential to good stem and leaf growth; phosphorus is for root, seed, flower, fruit growth; and potassium is for root growth and overall plant health.  So my soil is all set to keep plants alive, but they may not grow well, or fruit/flower/seed well.  From what I can find, it looks as though my best bets for keeping things growing well are a starter of fish emulsion to get them growing followed by compost added to the beds, and fish and/or kelp meal to add micronutrients and more phosphorus.  I really aught to just dish out the cash for a professional soil test to find out what levels of micronutrients and microbes my garden has.  I know it has more than its fair share of slugs, and it's no wonder with all of this rain.

Whatever the case, I am getting more and more disappointed by the weather and feel like I'm falling way behind on things.  Luckily I do have seedlings that are doing great and can stay inside longer if needed, it's worth the late start to protect them against powdery mildew (the scourge of too early plantings).  I just need them out of the house before they get too big!

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