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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2005 * Archive through June 14, 2005 * Hop fertilizer? < Previous Next >

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Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 3260
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 09:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My cascade hop plants are probably 14 years old. This year I am experiencing the worst growth I have ever seen with them. They are only about 3 feet tall - usually by the first of June, they are reaching the roof of the garage. By contrast, Saaz has reached the roof, and Hallertauer is about 2 feet below. These plants are about 7 years old.

I have never done anything but water them, and we are having a wet year. Usually, cascades kicks butt on those week-kneed, wall-eyed, European varieties. I'm thinking about fertilizing them. Any one have any recommendations? N-P-K ratios? Also, what is the life expectancy of a hop plant? Are these plants just nearing the end of their life expectancy?
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1689
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 09:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are you seeing any yellowing of the lower leaves that would indicate a N deficiency? Any signs of mildew on the cascades? The wet weather would promote fungal diseases that the other 2 might have resistance to? I'll see if my hops guide has any listing of mildew resistance of those varieties tonight.

At this point you don't have much option to go with manure or organic fertilizers. They would need time to break down. You shouldn't have any problems with fertilizers with high N at this point. It's only when they get into the reproductive stage that you need to limit the N.
 

Ron Siddall
Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 245
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 09:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, Nitrogen is for growth while the other two help either the roots or the fruiting. If you want growth, go with the Nitrogen although a good 10-10-10 worked into the soil will work well. If you do not want to use chemicals, a good compost tea works well too. If that is too much of a hassle, you can also bury a dead liberal as they are full of #^&$ as we all know (I am just kidding!)

Your plants probably are a little old. Also, depending on how much they blossomed last year can determine home much energy reserves they have this year as well.

You also mentioned it being wet. You may have lost a good portion of the plant to root rot.

Just fertilize and see where that gets you.

Good luck.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 3262
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 09:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nothing yellow, they are just small. Traditionally, they have kicked arse on the other varieties for production, and have by far the best flavor/aroma, hence the concern.

Okay, I'll pick up some nitrogen-type fertilizer - something simple like Miracle-Grow, maybe?
 

Ron Siddall
Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 246
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 10:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Miracle Grow is fine but depending on your soil pH, you might want Mir-Acid.
 

Pete Mazurowski
Member
Username: Pete_maz

Post Number: 165
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 10:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Mir-acid seems to not be called Mir-acid anymore. It's now called something like Miracle Grow for Azaleas, Rhodo's, & something else.

If you're concerned with root rot, I'd think you would want to go with more P rather than N, to get the roots to regenerate. Is that right?

Vince Turley, calling Vince Turley...
 

Ron Siddall
Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 247
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 10:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pete, if he indeed does have root rot, then Chumley would need to fix the soil moisture problem before he would want to try to stimulate root growth. But otherwise, you are correct.
 

JimTanguay
Intermediate Member
Username: Pizzaman

Post Number: 462
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 11:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If they have been there for 14 years i doubt you have a root rot problem. I say gor for the miracle grow. Any pest problems?
 

Vince Turley
Member
Username: Vince

Post Number: 184
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 01:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley-

Could be a lot of things... wet "feet", or even not enough sun (has it been somewhat cloudy in your area?). One possibility is that the Cascades will do better than the European counterparts with more sun (and vice/versa).

Regarding a fertilizing regime, remember that healthy plants are a SYMPTOM of healthy soil... feed the soil, not the plant! High nitrogen (i.e. synthetic/salt type) fertilizers will certainly make your plants green... but you don't want leaf, you want bud, man! Mulch the area around the roots with soft rock phosphate (good micronutrients), and a layer of bark mulch. When the ground is begining to dry, fertilize with a liquid seaweed, something with a high middle number... like 6-12-6. If you really want to spur on growth, then also foliar (read: spray) feed with the same or even better a high nitrogen fertilizer (10-4-4 or similar). Miricle grow et al is basically salt, and over time will ruin your soil.

Oh, and as a preventative because of your wet weather, grab a cup of corn meal and sprinke it around the roots as insurance against root rot. It also works as a source for nitrogen, so it's a win/win.
 

Pete Mazurowski
Member
Username: Pete_maz

Post Number: 166
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 03:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I did a search for life expectancy of hops and found only one good link. The answer according to that link is.....(drumroll please).......10-20 years. So it could be that your Cascades are just a little past their prime, and may soon be headed for the great brewery in the sky. Sounds like a good excuse to root one of the vines or get a new rhizome. Freshops gives some instructions for creating & cutting your own rhizomes from existing plants.
 

RJ Testerman
Junior Member
Username: Rjt

Post Number: 86
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 03:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dave at Freshops recommends fish pellets, I am using them this year with excellent results...

RJ

btw, after all these years with nothing added those hops NEED some nutrients.
 

RJ Testerman
Junior Member
Username: Rjt

Post Number: 87
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 03:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One other thing, a few of my plants were definitely lagging behind the others, I had noticed a few small holes in the ground and didn't give it much thought. Then I noticed something was burrowing through the plants, I put out a few traps and have caught 48 mice in that little patch in a little over a week.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 3189
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 11:21 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Occasionally moles can cause problems as well.
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 131
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 12:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yep, a shrew killed my Mt. Hood last year.
 

Vince Turley
Member
Username: Vince

Post Number: 186
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 02:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Shrew defined:

- a scolding nagging bad-tempered woman

- small mouselike mammal with a long snout; related to moles

So, Steve, which was it?
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1690
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 02:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Moles eat insects so are not usually a plant problem. Shrews and voles feed on plant roots and do cause problems. They all create the tunnels the everyone attributes to moles. Unless I had dinner with one I wouldn't know the differnece.

I forgot to look up the mildew resistance of the varieties last night. Make my self a note tonite....
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 3191
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 02:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the zoology lesson, Vance.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1692
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 03:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry, from my former life in plant path and entomology. At least some of the things I learned studying them cross over to brewing. I saw my former college biology teacher about 10 years ago and told her I was culturing yeast in my basement. She got quite a kick from it when I explained the brewing side.
 

Steve Sampson
Member
Username: Sampsosm

Post Number: 132
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 04:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vince,

Last year it was definately a shrew.

This year, with seven plants of six varieties of hops growing up "ugly" sticks (in her opinion) in the side yard, along with the fact that I removed many flowers to make room, it could be the "other" variety of shrew, that works by pouring paint thinner or gasoline on hop plants to destroy them.
 

Steve Funk
Junior Member
Username: Tundra45

Post Number: 81
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 05:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My hops are lagging in comparison to previous years as well. In fact, my two cluster plants had root rot and were not viable. I replaced them with another variety. I think it is related to the amount of rain we've had this year combined with the high clay content of my soil. I need to turn in some organic matter into the soil to help with drainage. And Vince, thanks for the corn meal tip. Two years ago I used cedar shaving mulch on my hop garden. Does anyone think this may be a problem?
Steve
Stevenson, WA
All and all, it's only about the beer.
 

Roger Herpst
Member
Username: Roger456

Post Number: 155
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 05:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I planted rhizomes in two locations this year. My cascades are definately lagging behind the centennials and glacier, but are still ahead of the chinooks.

I had a nasty slug infestation earlier this spring, which was remedied by a lovely product called Sluggo. No more swiss hop leaves.

As for the moles, they have dug *around* my cascade rhizome a couple of times, but haven't done any damage other than displacing soil.

I have been fertilizing monthly with fish emulsion. I can't determine the effect on the hops, but it really kicked the rest of my garden into gear.

(Message edited by roger456 on June 07, 2005)
 

Ron Siddall
Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 249
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 05:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cedar shavings would be a problem in that the bacteria use the available nitrogen in the soil to break down the wood chips. That leaves a nitrogen deficiency until the bacteria have completed their work. Meanwhile the plant is starved.

If you have clay, add gypsum to the soil. It not only helps seperate the clay particles, it adds sulfur and that lowers the soil pH. This does not replace the organic matter, you should always add that.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1694
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 07:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you've got clay then adding organic matter and sand would help with the drainage.
 

Bob Boufford
Intermediate Member
Username: Bobb

Post Number: 258
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 07:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Little late coming into the thread. Let me see if I can cram an old three hour soil science lecture into a few paragraphs. In any plant growing environment, there are going to be gains and losses. When losses exceed gains, there will be depletion of something in the soil. In a natural environment, nutrients absorbed from the soil by plants are mostly returned when the plant dies back. Additions continue through inputs from other areas such as nitrogen-fixation by free-living and symbiotic bacteria.

However, in most agriculture and horticulture (gardening) situations, there are greater losses due to harvesting or cleanup. So in the situation with hops, if the bines and leaves are cut down each fall and tossed in the trash, that's a definite loss that needs to be compensated from other sources, hence fertilization.

Now there are several factors that need to be considered when developing a fertilization program. The worse thing one can do is just take a "10-10-10" fertilizer and applying it indiscriminately. The use of a "6-12-6" fertilizer (the middle number is percent phosphorus as P2O5) can also be problematic, especially if the soil already has a high phosphorus level.

Best place to start is a good soil test by a reputable soil testing lab. This will at least cover most of the nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium (the second and third numbers) except nitrogen (the first number) along with micronutrients and soil acidity. The reports will also often make fertilizer recommendations based on the crop or purpose. Nitrogen is usually not tested due to it's everchanging form in a soil (Another 5 hour lecture and three labs).

From what I can find on the net, it looks like hops require about 150 lbs/acre or 3 lbs/1000 sq ft of Nitrogen in two or three applications. My preference coming from a turfgrass management background (lawn care, golf courses) is to go with a slow release nitrogen fertilizer.

I couldn't find any definitive P-K recommendations except for fertilizers in production hop fields often had a 2-1-1 ratio (N-P-K). So an application of a "10-10-10" at 1 lb/1000 sq ft in the spring followed by supplemental nitrogen applications totaling 2 lbs N/1000 sq ft should be adequate.

If you are applying well composted manures or decomposed composts around the plants as a mulch, you can likely cut back on fertilizer rates.

There will be a quiz tomorrow
 

Steve Funk
Junior Member
Username: Tundra45

Post Number: 82
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 08:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the suggestions and soil lecture. To sum up my situation, I fertilize with organic 9-3-5 fertilizer in the early spring and another single dose of Peters 20-20-20 around the first of May (salt build up?). This has done wonders on past crops but this year seems something is wrong. When the dead Clusters were dug up I noticed that the soil around the rhizome crown had a packed mud consistency. I think drainage is the key here since we've had so much late spring rain here in the Columbia River Gorge. Slugs have also been rampant this year. I am going to have the soil analyzed and plan to add gypsum/corn meal to aid in drainage. Hopefully, I wont lose any more plants before alleviating the problem.
Steve
Stevenson, WA
All and all, it's only about the beer.
 

Ron Siddall
Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 250
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 08:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vance, do you know how to make bricks? Mix sand with clay and add some straw. You are spot on with the organic matter. You cannot put enough well composted organic matter in the soil. As Bob said, you gotta put back what you take out at a minimum.

If drainage is real bad either use raised beds or employ a French drain to run the water off.

Hey Bob, how about a disertation on soil pH and how that can lock up certain nutrients/minerals? That would be an interesting thread.
 

Roger Herpst
Member
Username: Roger456

Post Number: 156
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 08:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Only if PTA does the graphs.
 

Bob Boufford
Intermediate Member
Username: Bobb

Post Number: 259
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 03:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ron, here's a 6 hour lecture on soil pH in 5 sentences

1. Get a soil test by a reputable soil testing lab.

2. Follow their recommendations, which means if they say "No need to add lime", it means "Don't do it!"

3. It's easy to raise the pH of an acidic soil but very difficult to lower the pH of an alkaline soil.

4. Most plants do best in a slighty acid soil pH of 6.5 but can usually handle soil pH between 5.5-6 and 7.5-8

5. When it comes to soil pH... Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew

And so PTA doesn't have to do any graphics, here's the classic chart of the Effect of Soil pH on Nutrient Availability, http://www.avocadosource.com/tools/FertCalc_files/pH.htm which will give the reason why most plants do best in slightly acid soils.

Cheers, Bob
 

Craig Henry
Member
Username: Sail

Post Number: 244
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 01:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Poor compacted soil respond differently to the addition of fertilizers. Any gardner will tell you don't put a $100 tree into a 1 cent hole.

Hops like any plant need soil that drains to some degree and some decent nutrients. Heavy fertilizer doses will eventually lead to PH problems especially in compacted clay soils.

So like all others have said:
A. Get your soil tested.
B. Transplant your hops in the fall to a home with improved drainage (sand), compost and amemdments. (Or at least remove the root ball and dig a larger $100 hole with additional drainage & Compost)
C. Wait a year for the plant to come around again.
 

Miker
Member
Username: Miker

Post Number: 203
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 02:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was going to comment on the gypsum, since it is usually not a good idea to add to MOST clay soils in the western U.S. which are usually alkaline and calcic (high in calcium), unless you have sodic (high sodium) soil, but then when I saw you were in Washington state where rainfall is higher and soils are often acidic I let it pass. But now that I see you're in the Columbia Gorge maybe you don't have such high rainfall most of the time, so I would definitely get a soil test before adding gypsum as you may just be making things worse by adding even more calcium to what may be a calcic soil already.

As far as the corn meal, it doesn't improve drainage, but has been shown to have anti-fungal properties in some cases.

I am another advocate for lots of organic matter to improve drainage and for slow release fertilization.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1695
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 03:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bricks my arse. The best all round soil is a sandy clay loam. Sandy = sand, clay = clay, and loam = organic. If you were only going to add 1 item to improve drainage, it should be sand, not organic matter.

One positive aspect of clay is that it will hold the nutrients better than organic material or sand because of it's high CEC (cation exchange capacity). It's the worst for drainage due to the way the flat particles compact together.
 

Nick Zeigler
Junior Member
Username: Ziggy

Post Number: 52
Registered: 09-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 06:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley & Funk -

I'm starting a garden in a Mexican desert, and will be facing the same problems as you two are, but in about 1/20th the time. Lucky for me, I work at an agricultural research institution, so I have a plethora of experts at my disposal.

My soil is 'tetepe' (or something like that) that is ideal for making adobe bricks, but crap for just about anything other than agave to grow in. As such, I'm digging the shite out of my garden, (to a depth of about 2 meters), mixing the soil with lots of loam and innoculating it with a very hearty microbe-brew to get the beneficial bacteria and fungus up to snuff, as well as fertilizing with an initial addition of 20-10-20 and starting a compost\mulch rotation.

If you have a good idea of what your soil has (or lacks) in the beginning, there is no reason that you can't turn even a sandbox into a good garden. You just have to figure out how to A) get it going to begin with, and B) get it so that it keeps itself healthy with the right organisms and planting schedule.

In brief, get the soil analyzed and then hunt around for ways to add the right nutrients and microbebrew.
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 251
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 06:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vance, the best soil is a sandy loam, not sandy, clay loam.

Indeed, the amount of sand needed to turn clay soil into a sandy loam is huge! The reason for this is that the clay particles will float to the surface when you water and form a clay top-straight that will then dry out. You will have to till this soil again and again in order to keep the two from seperating. If you want good soil, stay away from the sand and add organic matter only.

The reason I know this is that I live on an old apricot orchard that the farmer never put anything back into the soil. It is all clay with a pH of 8+. Being a new garderner, I did what you would do, add sand. I still had problems until I was told to add nothing but compost to the soil. Voila, I had great soil and the pH was buffered so that it was brought in line as well. If you want to add sand after that, that is okay.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1697
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 06:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sandy loam is good but without any clay the nutrients are just washed out with the rain. All of S. Ga is sandy loam soil and that is a big problem. Over near the Chattahooche river valley the sandy loam also has clay from the old river delta and the soil fertility is much better because of it. It's the clay's CEC that's crucial.
 

Miker
Member
Username: Miker

Post Number: 205
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 06:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

According to what I've read, adding sand to clay will almost always equal concrete when wet and then allowed to dry out. It can be done, but only if ratios and sand particle sizes are exactly right. Check out one of the garden forums such as Gardenweb in the soil and compost section and they usually have long arguments, er, I mean discussions, going on over this issue.
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 252
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 07:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Okay, sandy clay loam is approximately 70% sand, therefore, for every square foot of clay that you have, you would need to add 70 square feet of sand to achieve the correct proportions. Now, since clay soil is not 100% clay, you would not need to add that much sand but you would still need to add one hell of a lot of it.

For perspective, if you were to multiply the diameter of a clay particle by 1,000, it would be about as think as a piece of paper while a grain of sand multiplied by that amount would be about a meter thick. It is this variation in size between the two particles and the clay's affinity for moisture that turns the combination of sand and clay into bricks.
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 253
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 08:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vance, it is not the clay that makes the soil so good, it is the river silt. Silt is a larger particle than clay but is smaller than sand.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 1698
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 09:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm done arguing er discussing but my soils science prof was adamant about the clay and it's CEC. And if you've got straight clay it's probably much simpler to build a raised bed and fill it with good soil. Go around the problem instead of trying to fix it.
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 255
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 10:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Aw shucks. We are just talkin' dirt.
 

Bob Boufford
Intermediate Member
Username: Bobb

Post Number: 260
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, June 09, 2005 - 03:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ron!!!!

"Dirt" is what you find on the floor and the kids, otherwise it's "soil"!!!

As to the rest of the discussion...

From a soil chemistry standpoint, Vance is right about Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) is greatest in clays for most temperate climate mineral soils. Only organic matter often has a higher CEC value.

However, from a soil physical properties standpoint that also has a major impact on plant growth, clay has much going against it unless it's in a well developed soil with good soil structure. How does one develop good structure in clay soils.... Organic Matter!

And like Vance, I'm done lecturing on soil science for awhile.

Bob
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: Listerdister

Post Number: 256
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 09, 2005 - 02:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bob!!!

I used the word "dirt" as a euphemism. The humor would not have worked with the word "soil" in it.