Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lime -- "Put yer money in yer dirt"

That is what an experienced farmer said to me once.

He was advising me what to do the first year with a new garden. I did that and I was not sorry.

The pH of the soil at StarBird Farm is quite low -- about 4.5, not surprising given the history and location of the farm. This is great for berries and most trees. Vegetable production requires a pH from 5.5 to 7.0.

You can add agricultural lime to your soil to raise the pH. According to WSU: "A rough estimate for a garden that hasn't been previously limed would be: per 100 square feet of garden: sandy soil, 4 pounds every 2 years; loamy soil, 6 pounds every 2 years; clay soil, 8 pounds every 3 years. Dolomite lime is most often used because it supplies magnesium as well as calcium. Add it in late fall after crops are harvested to prepare soil for planting the following spring."

Chris reports: "Carol had a "lime requirements" test done by UMass and they recommended 500 lbs. per quarter acre." That's a dozen 44 pound bags, less than $50 at the CENEX Co-op in Everett. A good investment!

1 comment:

  1. It takes several months for lime to break down and really become available to do its thing for plants. Don't expect great results this year. But next year you should see much greater yields.