Monday, June 21, 2010

Room for Improvement, Soil Improvement

This being our first growing season in the new house, we're starting to find out what does well in our soil and what really doesn't.  We've yet to do a soil test, and we haven't added any amendments, but we're working on that.

Last weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to attend a potluck dinner with the Community Gardens of Chester County.  Dinner was amazing and made even better by a talk on the manufacture and use of biochar by our gracious host.  The wheels are already turning as to how we'll be adding this medium to our soil.  Our big hope is that we can lighten the heavy clay in our soil with material sourced from our own yard.

Our garlic, it appears, doesn't like our heavy soil much at all.  The Gardeness dug up the German Extra Hardy today, and even though the leaves looked fine, almost all of the bulbs are rotten.  The Romanian Reds seem to have fared better, but they're small, with only a couple of cloves each.  I hope this doesn't mean bad news for our potatoes as well.  As you might recall from last year, the Romanian Red was the variety that survived when the other rotted out then too.  It's really important to me that we keep this stock going, even if that means replanting all of it this fall and having nothing to cook with.

On a brighter note, our heirloom family corn seems to feel right at home, and all three varieties of beans have sprouted and are growing nicely.  Our goal is to find plants that do well here naturally, and save those seeds year after year.

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