Friday, May 27, 2011

Fenton Friday: Soil and Toil

This week I planted three Bush Bean seedling plants between the squash mounds at my Fenton Community Garden plot. My theory being when the bush beans mature all at once, I'll harvest them, then pull up the whole plants and by then the squash will be meandering and need the space where the beans were growing. We'll see if this particular inter-planting theory works or not.

I added one mound of 'Long Green Improved' Cucumbers from seed. This seed pack was given to me to trial by the Fabulous Beekman Boys and is from D Landreth Seed Company. The soil is 50-50 mix of the wretched stuff originally at the garden plot site and an organic soil mix, Mr. Natural, that I'm trialing.

David Hadary, President of Green Stripe Products in Alexandria, VA, called me up and asked me if I'd like to trial some of the Mr. Natural soil mixes in the garden plot and I thought that was a great idea. Little did he know the toil he was in for! He came by today and we dug out a 3x5ft bed and mixed in 50-50 of the Mr Natural CLM (Complete Landscape Mix). I think it will be worth it though to see how it does in comparison to adjacent beds and garden plots. The CLM mix is all organic and is made up of hen manure compost, worm castings, pine bark humus, coarse natural river sand, and Permatill expanded slate. In that bed, I'm planting 7 different Tomato seedlings, one Eggplant, and two Basil plants.

David (pictured above) and I probably lost about 5 pounds each in sweat working that new planting bed this morning. The sun was scalding and the infamous DC humidity has definitely moved in. Worst of all, was the cistern had run dry the night before and was awaiting a refill from our busy garden leader, so we weren't even able to splash a little water on our faces for relief. I went home and hand-carried a few gallons of water from my rain barrel over to the plot to at least get the tomato plants and other seedlings a drink until tonight's predicted thunderstorms.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hope YOU have more success with your vegetables in Mr. Natural CLM than I am having in N. Ga. clay/ rock soil. Pitiful, yellowy tomato plants, compared to same variety bushes (from seed) that I planted in Earth Box same day. 2 pitiful fruit in CLM and 23fruit in Earth Box. I will not use CLM again for vegetables. I think the CLM is over-fertilizing.

Anonymous said...

Aug 13,2011 - Just a postscript to the comment on the tomatoes planted in Mr. Natural CLM versus Earth Box. To-date, have harvested ONE fruit from 2 plants in CLM, and over 20 on the 2 Earth Box plants, set the same day. There are over 50 fruit maturing on teh 2 Earth Box, and only 5 immature fruit on the 2 in CLM. Too much nitrogen & high blossom drop percentage.

Would enjoy an update on your vegetables planted May 27.

WashingtonGardener said...

Hi - not much to report as far as the tomato bed planted on May 27goes - a few tomatoes and a couple eggplants have come in, but I don'y blame the soil as yet - no blossom drop, just horribly hot weather so tomato plants just sat for about 12 weeks and did not do much. Now that we have cooler temps I see lots of flowers and fruit coming on.

Gardening is great! said...

The CLM is for planting. We prep the beds with it for transplanting the plants we germinate from seeds in in small containers. CLM is not a potting soil for germinating seeds. We love it! There is also a MrNatural HenManure Compost for recharging the organics after the first season in CLM. Sorry you didn't get great results. Use it when transplanting and I bet you will be impressed. We have used it in clay and in sandy soils. It is dyamite soil. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Any feedback on CLM mix? I guess is that CLM by itself would not be great for vegetables, however, when used to improve soil, it would likely be highly beneficial. Maybe 50/50 mix?

Hope to see some feedback, I understand this is an old post.......

WashingtonGardener said...

Not real a true scientific test as we did not have a "control" nor did we have "normal" weather to test it in, but I'd say overall that it worked well as a soil amendment for our clay and would recommend it for that purpose - especially if starting off a new garden or working in a compacted site (as this community garden was a former parking lot).