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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Need some Help from those real Farmers out there
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Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-06-2002 at 21:57:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here's the deal. We have been growing gardens for 20 years but never used anything on them but cow manuer. Trying to stay so called organic in growing things. Things turn out OK and we never use any bug sprays or weed killers too. I would like to do something different this year. People use comerial fertilizers like 5-10-25 or something with those number aranged right for the garden. What would be good to use on our garden to perk it up some? Looking for something I could just rototiller into it befor planting it. I put 3- heaping Truck loads of cow manuer in it so far. You can see the ground in a picture posted below nice and fluffy and no rocks. It is fine soil and will pack that is why the cow stuff was needed to help hold the water and keep some air in it. I belive we have alkaline soil because Ceader trees won't grow but Ponderosa Pines do. I can build things and grow stuff just never used anything in the soil to do it. Can you help me out?? The garden is 40 X 100 ft in size and we like to grow Beans, Peas, Lettuse, Beets, Carrots, squash, onions and Spinish. Other stuff dose not do so good with our climent. We only have a 6 month growing season here and the beging and ending is cold. Planting time will be at the end of May or beging of June and ending time around here is October. We live at the 2,800 ft level. I hope I gave enought info to help me with this years garden. Thanks, Mark H.

buck    Posted 05-07-2002 at 15:08:50       [Reply]  [No Email]

going to give you a little more food for thought and this came from my father years ago. I was asking him why corn would grow just as well on poor ground as it would in good ground. He said Son the soil just holds up the plant, fertilizer makes it grow. He used the same thinking in the garden too.Now each plant in your garden needs a different fertilizer. Never saw my father put any type of manure on the garden just turned under what was left from year before and always planted a plant where that plant was planted the year before.

Pine trees grown in acidic soils.    Posted 05-07-2002 at 10:00:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Use soil survey and get a soil test done. Then you'll know what you have to begin with. Contact your extension service office.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-07-2002 at 10:10:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
I could not remember which it was that why I put in the part about the pine trees. I do now there is a reason the Ceader trees don't grow around here I have tried to make about 20 grow so far and they all die. But the Pines do great. I will have it tested to see what I need if anything. I know a lot of the lake around here have a white crust arount the edges when they go down. Mine seems to be one of the few that dosen't do that?? Thanks, Mark H.

Wrong climate for cedars    Posted 05-07-2002 at 11:18:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cedars such as the Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)is found in the mountains around you. They are found in the transition and Canadian zones at about 2,000 - 7,000 feet. They grow on rich soils with ABUNDANT moisture and are found in mixed coniferous stands.

Also the Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is found in the same zones up to about 7,000 ft. They prefer a deep, moist, porous soil, but are hardy in "drier" (relatively speaking) situations. They can be found in pure, dense stands or in a mixed coniferous stand.

You could probably grow some Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum). People call them cedars. They are very drought resistant. You will find them in the drier areas with Pine. Also seen them or the Western Juniper (out in sage brush areas. They are also called "weeds" by many ranchers.

John in Maryland    Posted 05-07-2002 at 09:56:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
The only downside to cow manure especially if trying not to use weed killers is that it can contain lots of seeds that grow into weeds if not completely composted, or composted at the right temperature to kill the seeds. Other than that it is good stuff, but if too much will burn the plants up.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-07-2002 at 10:04:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
We (they) pull the weeds by hand but they are there. Just bought the wife a real small rototiller to do between the rows. My back get sore bending over to pull weeds so that is Carols and Shelbys job around here now. I get it all ready for them and they take care of it. I can work all day standing up but bent over will yipe me our in no time. Old age or lifting to many heavy things in the past. The old mussels just cramp up to tight! Mark H.

Ludwig    Posted 05-07-2002 at 07:30:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
Around here our soil is awful acid so my
normal advice would be totally backwards for
Heres a bit though that works on the farm
where things are a bit more neutral. When my
great uncle wanted to grow tomatoes he went
around to all his friends that had wood stoves
and raided their ash piles. Then he sprinkled
that on the garden where he wanted to plant
his tomatoes before he tilled. Then he'd add a
bit more ash every couple weeks around each
plant on a day before he thought it would rain.
He had the best tomatoes around!
You have to kind of tailor the soil in each place
for the plants you want to grow there. We can't
grow lettuce for squat because its way to
acidic here, and it doesn't seem to like the
clay soil.

PCC-AL    Posted 05-07-2002 at 07:03:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Mark,
I don't depend on farming for my sole support, so I probably don't qualify, but here tis anyway. The suggestions to soil test are right on. My second suggestion is to contact your local Extention Service. It will give you guides for the soil and climate in your area.
I don't know how to post a link, so I will give you the address for Alabama Extention Service Planting Guide that contains suggestions for fertilizer on 100 ft rows. Remember this is for Alabama and yours may be different. The address:
Good luck.

kraig WY    Posted 05-07-2002 at 06:18:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Can't help you with the farming (a green thumb I don't have. However I could send you a train load of manure it that would help.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-07-2002 at 06:32:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
That I could use! Around here it dose not decompose unless you soke it down. It is so dry that only the bugs break it down. I was wetting our pile for a few years and some did break up other wise it just stays looking like staw and poop mixed together. When I was living on the coast side I could get the real good stuff from the dariys. Around here it is just steer manuer just powderd grass! Mark H.

Maerk Hendershot    Posted 05-07-2002 at 06:10:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well most of you said the same thing as the wife did. She said have the soil analized. So I will do that and see if I do need anything for it. I don't want to ruin the dirt in the garden with the wrong stuff and I guess I should'nt just put stuff on to be putting stuff on. After the snow melts I will get a soil sample and find a place to test it. Thanks for the help and maybe I will get to plant it some day! Mark H.

Spence    Posted 05-07-2002 at 05:21:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
I fed commercial fertilizer to my garden too. But I only use it as a supplement to the manure. Manure is better in that it also supplies
the humus and organic matter to build up the soil.
Chem fertilizer doesn't do that and if applied too heavy can also burn the crop.

I manure the garden every second year and it does great. The year skipped allows the stuff that isn't completely rotted to break down.

Tom A    Posted 05-07-2002 at 04:16:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Don't know that I qualify as a 'real farmer' but I'll throw in my 2 cents. I'm in about the same boat as you, but maybe a year or two farther along...or not.

Take soil samples and have them analyzed before you throw any fertilizer'll save you money and ensure you buy the right stuff. Too much of any one nutrient can be just as bad as too little. Local extension agent probably has a list of places to take or send it, some are free others not.

I personally think you're on the right track using manure. I use mostly manure, with some little bit of supplemental fertilizer when needed. As you know, the manure does more than simply adding nutrient chemicals but improves texture and air- and water-holding capacity too. I don't care what anybody says, I *know* that stuff grows better when it is fertilized with 'organic' fertilizers.

I do use some modest amounts of insecticides, but only when things get out of hand, which isn't often. Usually there are other pretty good ways of controlling bugs, if you're willing to eat food that isn't totally 'unblemished.' I've found that the folks around my area--I guess mostly older folks--seem to prefer stuff that looks like it was grown in the garden rather than molded in plastic and shipped from Taiwan so that isn't a problem with me.

man, that was four cents....oh well, you figure out whether any of it was worth reading. Have fun Mark.


Hogman    Posted 05-07-2002 at 04:46:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Don't want ta be argumenative here Tom but while You are right about manure to the extent of addin "compost" and makin tha soil more friable,nitrates are nitrates wheather from a bulls butt or an oil well. Kansas University Ag people did some research on that just a few years back durin all tha whoopdeedo about certifyin organic products and farmers. Their results,nitrates are nitrates period.
Now one thought that seems to always be missin on tha manure thing is SALT content. Cattle consume lots of salt which is excreted in the manure and urine. As Marks problem sound like alkali the last thing He needs is more salt and too, the salt will accumulate unless there is some way of leachin it out.
Otherwise Tom I think cow poops durn good stuff as a general rule. Cept when I'm movin Em with tha fourwheeler'n and have ta make a fast end run and go thru a realy fresh plop and and tha tires picks it up'n gives Me a bovine feces bath.

Greg VT    Posted 05-07-2002 at 10:53:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yup, nitrates is nitrates. But the process of getting those nitrates ready to go on your garden is a lot less impactful on the enviroment when the bull does it rather then the chemical fertilizer processing plant. I'm not arguing nor am I a tree hugger trying to tell ya how to run your business. Just adding my $.02. We get by with adding some compost in the spring, planting a cover crop in the fall and using some chemicals here and there when we need to. Course seeing how a lot of my kin are dairy farmers and I get to rake up more leaves then I care to every fall compost is pretty easy for me to come by.

Tom A    Posted 05-07-2002 at 06:50:10       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hogman, I don't think you're being argumentative: I thought I sortta said the same thing you did...the chemicals (nitrates or potash or whatever) is the chemicals, but that isn't all there is to soil management. And you're right about salt.

I'm not spittin' on chemical fertilizers (I said I use 'em) and I'm not an 'organic farmer' since I don't agree with a lot of the stuff in the certifimacation reg, but I still believe that manure is overall better for soil than pure man-mixed chemical fertilizers.

Tom A

Hogman---AND MOSTLY CHEAPER    Posted 05-08-2002 at 03:18:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
I run a drag or rock rake over all the pastures at least once a year to break up all tha "plops" and spread em around.

Les...fortunate    Posted 05-07-2002 at 03:04:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Take Ira's advice. I would have said the same thing but he beat me to it.
"Organic" sounds nice but chemicals is chemicals and plants don't know nor care whether the nutrients they take up come out of a bag or were processed through a bovine digestive tract.

Ira    Posted 05-07-2002 at 02:32:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Mark, What you need to do is take a soil sample and have it analyzed.Extension service should be able to help there.

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