17 June 2011

Whoa Nelly on the Big K

For you non-scientists out there, that K stands for kalium- Latin that is, for potassium and I’ve plenty of it!

In the PNW, soils from British Columbia to the south end of the Willamette Valley are heavy on potash (alkaline) and deficient on calcium (Ca, for the closest chemists). That means, of course, I have to add it, and add I shall.

Amend at a rate of about 50lbs to 1000 square feet of garden. Good. It’s cheap stuff. Ours, purchased through Azure Standard of Dufer, Oregon, was six and some change, for a 50lb. bag. Oops, now! Don’t overdo it! More is too much and you could do damage to the tilth (healthy dirt).

Soil west of the Cascade Mountains, range from coarse loam to clay. Ours here in the Hedgerow falls smack dab in the middle at fine silt.

Though only a few feet under the surface lies clay (fine, flat particles, fitting tightly together), the fraction of clay particulate in the topsoil for balanced loam, is quite probably wanting. Did I say balanced loam? That would be redundant, silly me!

Loam is soil that is balanced. Just about equal parts sand, silt and clay (clay being the slighted fraction) and loam is what we’re aiming at.

Our garden is blooming with math and science. It’s a new classroom (without the ‘class’ or the ‘room’) everyday we’re in it! We hope yours is too.

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