Tips and Trick for Adding extra Soil
A survey of soil testing revealed that garden soils have too much fertilizer more often than too little. Adding too much can be just as bad for your crops as not applying enough. A soil test every few years is a good idea. If you apply grass clippings and or compost according to the guidlines you will only need to use more concentrated and costly organic fertilizers in a few special circumstances. When you start with a balanced soil and apply grass clippings, compost and mulches regularly necessary nutrients will usually be replenished in the correct proportions.
If fertilizers sold in bags or bottles are easier for you to use than grass clippings or compost, nitrogen is the nutrient to use to guide your application rate, becasue it is the nutrient most likely to be depleted as you harvest your crops each season. Plants need the right amount of nitrogen to grow new stems, leaves and other parts. If they don’t get enough, they stay small and spindly and never come close to their productive potential. If they get too much they grow into huge plants that produce way behind schedule. To complicate matters if your soil doesn’t get regular additions of compost or organic mulches it will have trouble holding on to the nitrogen you add. Nitrogen is a slippery nutrient, prone to volatilizing into thin air or washing away. For most crops you should replenish nitrogen to the tune of about one third pound per 100 square feet of growing space each season. There are also some situations when even garden with high level of soil organic matter may benefit from supplemental fertilizing. Usually the reason have to do with time and temperature. In spring and fall if soil temperature are low, the biological process that release nutrients from organic matter slow to a crawl. A fertilizer that quickly releases nitrogen will help support strong early growth of hungry cool weather crops. Before planting big brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage or kale and to help spring peas get off to a strong start, mix a half ration of one of these products into the soil before planting.