Friday night it was 19 degrees out. Today I went and checked on the broccoli, cabbage, and tatsoi we planted under row covers last week. The good news is that their leaves were all green and happy looking. The bad news is that their stems were all shriveled and weird. If you add those two things together you get dead sprouts. On the bright side, it was super simple for me to plant out the scheduled seedling for this week. Beautifully prepared beds all ready and waiting! I even found a worm.
Our “greenhouse” is overcrowded and we can’t let the too-early sprouts stay inside past their transplant date, hard frost or no, because it would delay the planting of the on time sprouts. Tomorrow we are planting tomatoes in miniblocks and potting on the miniblocks from last week (eggplant, basil, peppers) into larger 2 inch blocks. I’m going to make a little tent for everybody over the heating pad and hope it is enough to keep them all happy.
Other exciting news – we stopped by Judson’s farm today and spoke with him about plowing our field when he comes to plant corn on the field he rents next door. He says it’ll probably happen around May 1st. He’ll plow and harrow and doesn’t expect it to take more than an hour. Badass.
And we stopped by Utter Bros feed store to see about getting soil amendments. So far no one we’ve talked to has heard of most of the things we want. We ended up picking up some calcitic limestone, blood meal, and bone meal. The rest (see below) we’ll need to have shipped from somewhere.
We are doing about 13,000 sq feet this year. Here are the calculations for what soil amendments we should add and their approximate costs (based on U Penn soil tests, various books, and the internet):
From U Penn Soil Tests:
- lime (calcitic limestone) 7lb/100 sq ft (non-bulk $9/5lb bag)
- Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash recommendations (NPK) – 3.5lbs/100 sq ft 5-10-10 fertilizer and .75 lbs per sq ft 0-46-0 (we should go for slow-release, organic equivalents – see below)
- We also need to add one inch of organic matter to get the cation exchange capacity right
Organic Substitutions for U Penn NPK:
- Colloidal phosphate (0-3-0) – 2 tons/acre (50 lb bag is like $22)
- Greensand/”glauconite”(0-0-3) – 2 tons/acre ($400/ton is NON bulk rate for greensand)
- Blood Meal (15% N) – 1-2 kg/10 sq meters – should be about $25 for 2kg
- Organic Fish Emulsion (5-1-1) 1 oz per gallon of water to cover up to 25 sf. 16 OZ is like $10 (this is supposed to also keep deer away!)
coarse sand (for soil blocks)