Elisabeth C. Miller Library logo Miller Library Home UW Botanic Gardens Home UW Botanic Gardens Home book graphic

3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98195 | (206) 543 0415 | Open Monday Noon-8; Tuesday - Friday 9-5; Saturday 9-3

Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Search Results for ' Garden fertilizers'

PAL Questions: 2 - Garden Tools:

Display all answers | Hide all answers


 

Keywords: Trifolium, Pisum, Vicia, Cover crops, Grain, Garden fertilizers, Legumes, Vegetable gardening, Compost

PAL Question:

We plan to put in a vegetable garden next spring where we now have grass. It is a great sunny spot that we think would work well for this. The question is, after we cut out the sod this fall, someone has suggested we plant rye grass for the winter, is this a good solution? If not, what do we do to the soil this winter? (We plan to bring in some top soil after we take out the sod).

View Answer:

There are several approaches that you can use to get your new garden ready. One is from Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon. He recommends removing the grass, covering it with no more than 1/2 inch of completely rotted compost or 1 inch of raw ruminant manure, and spread agricultural lime at 50 pounds per 1,000 square foot. Do this in early October. Then scatter small-seeded fava bean seed at 6 to 8 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Rototill no more than 2 inches deep and relax until May. In late May you rototill deeply and or spade in the overwintered garden area. Then you can plant.

Another information source, Seattle Tilth's Maritime Northwest Garden Guide, recommends using an annual winter cover crop to improve the soil. It suggests using 85% legume and 15% grain for maximum nitrogen fixation. For the legume, you can use Field peas, Crimson clover, Fava beans or vetch. For the grain you can use cereal rye, winter wheat, spelt or barley. Most of these are applied at about 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Again you would rototill or turn under the cover crop in late April or May.

Solomon's method will provide a better total approach. You also should consider having your soil tested to find out what is missing and what your pH level is.

Season Spring
Date 2008-03-27
Link to this record only (permalink)


Keywords: Garden fertilizers

PAL Question:

Are Epsom salts good for outdoor garden plants (trees, perennials, evergreens, deciduous etc)? If so, how much & when do I use the Epsom salts? Please let me know which plants would benefit from this solution.

View Answer:

The best information I found on the use of Epsom salts in the garden comes from horticulture professor Linda Chalker-Scott of Washington State University. Epsom salts are also known as magnesium sulfate, and the theory (or the myth , according to Chalker-Scott) is that adding this substance to the soil provides necessary nutrients to plants, and improves their growth. The reality is more complicated, and she ultimately recommends that home gardeners not use Epsom salts, as they tend only to be useful in intensive crop production (such as farming) where there is a known lack of magnesium.

Rather than use Epsom salts, you might simply make a practice of amending your garden soil regularly with compost. WSU lists some of the many benefits of using compost.

Seattle Public Utilities also has information on growing healthy soil and composting.

Season All Season
Date 2008-04-11
Link to this record only (permalink)


 

Didn't find an answer to your question? Ask us directly!

Browse keywords or Search Again:

We are continually adding new questions, so be sure to keep coming back.

June 24 2013 12:55:25