Compost compost compost.

It’s the secret to a good soil and good crops.

No matter what kind of soil you have, unless you extremely lucky your soil will need improvement. Even if you are lucky enough to have good soil if you start growing things in it before long it will still need improving. For us, we have a sandy loam soil which in its natural state has very little organic material in it. Since we started our farm every year we add lots of organic mushroom compost every year to help improve the soil and move it towards a good soil structure that holds together rather than a sandy mess which will blow away in the first high wind. It’s a long hard battle but we are getting there.

Last week our new truckload of compost arrived so we can continue to add it to our field rows. We spent all Sunday shoveling compost onto our rows and are now finally finished! Hooray! For us it takes a LONG time to do because, at present, we have to do everything by hand. If we had a front end loader the task would be faster, but they are expensive and we cannot yet afford to purchase one. So its people power that runs our farm. After three whole day sessions we have completed all the rows in all our fields that needed compost added to them. This is not to say that all compost work is done, we still have sections of our new field to work on, repotting of larger shrubs that don’t yet have a home and more repotting to do. However all the field rows are done so its downhill from here (at least for compost, its all uphill for the rest of the farm work).

This year marks the beginning of moving around some of our perennials to give them new improved soil and allow us to amend soil in the field which has not been done in quite a while. The main field is easier to work with as we can take the tractor down the rows to put the soil on, however it needs more cart loads of compost since it has not been worked for a while, and next year will be back under perennials so it wont get much more apart from side dressing after that. So it took 12 cart loads of compost to do one row, which is a LOT of digging.

The last two weeks have had pretty good weather for digging, last Sunday was a perfect day to do this, it was cool and mostly cloudy which is excellent for hard physical work. It was also rather windy which we could have done without but hey, you cant have everything. This past Sunday was still cool but a lot damper since it had rained overnight but the humidity was still pretty low. We are all glad that the job is done, none of us like digging when its humid that really sucks.

Author: Janice Hazeldine PhD

Owner and head grower Floral Encounters. Organic Medicinal Herb Farm

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