Hi! Johnny L. Dose here again, aka John Allan. Now that I know how to contribute to The Garden Dreamer, I would like to switch gears to the topic of soil blending from the last topic of vermiculture, which we will definitely come back to.
I blend my own soil. Why? Well, first the growth media for plants has just as much importance as keeping your plants watered, your plants with the right type and amount of sun, and with selection of seed genetics that you choose for you plants. Soil Fertility is the collegiate term for this expertise. And as a science, it’s as old as dirt. 🤣
The ingredients that I use currently are:
- Local topsoil
- Sand or Clay (optional depending on your local topsoil’s texture)
- Peet Moss
- Wood Ash from the fire pit
- Re-hydrated oyster shells after burning (after planting)
- Worm castings (after planting)
- Osmocote pellets
How you blend these ingredients is up to you. I’ll tell you how I do it.
My unit of measure, which I totally made up, is The Smokey the Bear Shovel load; [unit = “sb”]
In a wheelbarrow, (Mfg: True Temper), add: 7sb of local topsoil, 5sb peat moss, 3sb vermiculite, 3sb perlite, 2sb wood ash. I usually put on some blue hospital gloves partly to freak out the cats, but also to blend ingredients by hand or you can use the shovel.
Note: Chicks don’t like dirty fingernails.
As you are mixing include osmocote pellets. Don’t go overboard. Treat it like adding pepper to a pot of soup or a garden salad.
The addition of sand or clay is an important topic, which can be in the next contribution. If you look up soil texture and if the link above actually works, you’ll find that texture, what we know as combinations of sand, silt, and clay, is all based on particle size. The various other names for soil, such as: loamy sand, sandy loam, loam, silt loam, silty clay, silty clay loam, sandy clay loam, clay loam, and sand clay make up all the defined USDA textures; aka the texture triangle.
“Light” soils are sandy soils (course texture; large particle; easy to plow)
“Heavy” soils are clayey soils (fine texture; smallest particles; hard to plow)
Note: I guess they were thinking about the plow horse when they came up with those terms:
Good Textbook: “The Nature and Properties of Soils”, Nyle C. Brady, 8th ed. (1974).
Anyway, feel free to ask me any questions about my experiences with soil blending. I’ll stop now and save some material for my next post.
All the Best,
Johnny L. Dose