I had a recent soil test done on one section of my garden. I have had plants die in the past and recently the plants looked poorly in most of the area.
The test showed high levels of phosphorous, potassium and organic matter. The test does not test for nitrogen, but based upon my organic matter levels they didn’t recommend any added nitrogen. They did mention that, “Nitrogen is not listed because the level is not stable in the soil. It changes too frequently.”
What they recommended was to cut back on the compost, since my organic matter level is so high and to cut back on the phosphorous and potassium. He said that high levels can stop the uptake of other nutrients.
Their main recommendations were…
Just use a high nitrogen fertilizer without added phosphorous or potassium – blood meal, cottonseed meal etc.
Don’t add compost for a while. Try hardwood mulch on top
I did notice that added milorganite did green up the plants, but also adds phosphorous.
I was recently asked where I found my seeds for the different plants I grow.
The best place to get seeds is your own garden. Save them in paper bags and label them.I like to let them dry on the plant and then put them in a paper bag. If you save your own seeds, then you don’t have to buy them.
The 2nd best place will be MY garden.I save lots of seeds every year in St. Louis. You are welcome to come over and get seeds in the fall.
The 3rd best place for seeds is Google. Do a search with the scientific name and you will find numerous seed resources. Many times I will visit the Missouri Botanical Garden and find a new plant I want to try. Take a picture of the plant and its name and then there’s a good chance you can find it online.
Another option are some of the Facebook online groups. Sometimes, many of the people are willing to share seeds for the price of a SASE.
June 2nd in St. Louis. as I was weeding the gardens, I found two newly emerged Monarchs. The first eggs I saw this year were around April 21st. Doing the math, it turns out that these Monarchs took six weeks to go from egg to Monarch butterfly. The extra long time period probably has to do with the cooler temperatures and extra spring rain.
If you are weeding in the garden, take some time and see if you can notice these newly emerged Monarchs.
This also emphasizes the importance of having early spring milkweed. My favorite is Ascelpias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed.
Note – June 6th – Monarch is flying around the garden. I’m not sure if it is MY monarch, but it’s nice to see.
One of the easiest ways I have found to create holes for plants is to use a battery powered drill with an auger.
I have tried two sizes, a 1.75″ diameter with a short shaft and a 2.5″ diameter with a two foot shaft. The smaller shaft works well if you are sitting down, but does not leave a clean hole. You need to use one hand to clean it out before putting in the plant. The advantage is that the hole is smaller. The drill does have a tendency to get dirty as a result of having a shaft which is so short.
The 2.5″ diameter auger makes a clean hole, but the hole is larger. This is my favorite since it is easier to make a clean hole and easy to just throw in the plant and fill it in.
I have had good luck using an auger in good soil and bad. The auger will break up the soil into small pieces and will make it easy to fill in when the plant is in the hole.