Gardening on really poor soil

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by ClissAT, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I think I have struck on the solution for my poor quality soil & dam water.

    Each different fertilizer recipe in its own way has contributed to the improved health, vitality & nutrition of the soil.
    The water on the other hand, is another matter so for now I am making up the shortfall with more fertilizer.

    The latest Blood & Bone fertilizer recipe that I described in a recent previous post has caused a surge in growth & fruiting which is most satisfying!
    Here's a couple photos of my current winning endeavours.

    grummi-charma Jan2017 second crop collage.jpg pomegranates bearing well.jpg summer corn crop.jpg

    Not a yellow leaf in sight! What a major victory! Not even watering with dam water all of this past dry season has produced any yellow leaves on the fruit trees. That means I have overcome the shortfalls of the soil & the binding up of nutrients & minerals by the dam water. On top of that these trees are bearing their little branches off.
    In the background of the corn photo is the pawpaw tree growing in the compost bin. It is a male but has numerous fruit now beginning to grow.
    The corn is a late crop that I hope will be fertile during a sunny spell in a few weeks time. But look how green & robust these few plants are. There are 3 rows of 7-10 plants each row between the 2 bath tub beds.
    After 3yrs of feeding the soil with trace & major elements alike, beneficial fungus & bacteria, many bales of lucerne, far more nitrogen & potassium than recommended, I seem to have regained my gardening mojo.
    All I'm waiting for now is the return of my ride-on mower from the mower shop so I can get that long grass under control to make the place look loved.
    I'm a very happy camper! :yahoo:
     
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  2. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    It's looking very good. You should be proud of all your work and sit back and enjoy eating the results
     
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  3. David - coona

    David - coona Active Member Premium Member

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    Loved this thread. Lots of takeaways. Compost horse manure or make tea. Dig in lucerne!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Cliss
     
  4. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    So the upshot of all my trials & errors is that the problem lies mostly with the water from the dam which seems to lock up the nitrogen mostly, but also to a lesser extent the phosphorus. It happens instantly upon application of the water & shows yellowing in the oldest leaves within a few days of watering. Also, plants stunt straight away. The difference in growth & flowering rates between weeks where it rains & weeks where I need to use dam water is quite striking.

    Extremely disheartening when the only available water apart from rain is this dam water.

    The solution is to aerate the water using some sort of turbulence method sitting on a pontoon in the dam. Currently I have one designed & am saving to buy the aluminium required to build the frame & buy the solar panel. I have the pump which is a 12v bilge pump from a boat that pumps 15,000lt/hour while the sun shines.

    This aeration will cause the solids to precipitate out of solution so the dam will clear to look like a spring fed dam rather than a yellow muddy hole. At a molecular level, it will mean much more oxygen is applied when I water, so the chemical processes at the molecular level around the roots will be more beneficial to the plants.

    I am having good success with the blood & bone & potasium recipe & for application to the soil I am adding 100% by weight of gypsum.

    So the recipe is equal parts B&B & gypsum with 10% by weight of potassium sulphate.
    If I am applying it to the numerous container gardens which I now have, I omit the gypsum except for twice a year to help make calcium more available in the potting mix used in the container gardens.

    When watering with the dam water, I have to cultivate this recipe into the soil every 4th watering. The amount is a thin scattering all around the plant which is roughly a double handful per 2mx1m sized plant or same amount per bath tub garden. So if I have to water 3times a week then I am applying that fertilizer almost weekly too. I will need to be careful not to overdo the potassium in the container or bathtub beds but only time will tell. I will see signs in the leaves.

    My next step is to experiment with using just a nitrogenous or phosphorous fertilizer on it's own such as urea & super phosphate to see which is required more due to the dam water usage.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
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  5. Raymondo

    Raymondo Active Member Premium Member

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    About the Cera traps , I used them on my star fruit ( carambola) with fabulous results, previously every fruit stung and so keeping the tree clean of contaminated fruit was not only tedious but also unproductive , now my main problem is to pick so many fruit and utilise or share them cheers and happy planting ! Raymondo
     
  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ash did I answer your question re the sera traps?

    Anyway yes they work, plus I now add an equal number of baits for the male fly.
    So I get the whole family now.
    I put the baits out when I see the first peach flowers which is usually end of June or early July.
    But guess what.... I saw my first peach flower today in my orchard! So I will have to put the baits out soon.
    They must be kept active until all fruit picked around late summer.
    The trouble with putting the baits out now is they fill with rain overnight which ruins the bait. Far too expensive!
     
  7. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    A follow on from my post above from May 2017 re my water causing the soil problem.

    It turns out the water and the soil are extremely heavy in iron but there are no supporting or balancing minerals to keep the iron in check.
    The dead giveaway is the yellow subsoil.
    I should have known this. I'm sure at one point I was taught this vital piece of information which would have saved me considerable heartache and expense had I absorbed all I was taught!
    There are many parts of this country that have high iron but they have their full complement of balancing minerals so the soil rusts and goes red and often very deep from volcanic activity.
    This has not happened here on this land. It is pure ancient, simply worn out, costing a fortune to fix.
    Too much money actually. I have stopped trying to fix it all. I work on small parts if I want to plant a tree and use rain water now I have the new shed to catch more.
    So I spent my money on a shed rather than soil amendments.
    Now that I am far more incapacitated and unable to look after the place anymore, I won't be here on this property much longer so no point in spending heaps of money trying to fix the land.
    My horses are also near the ends of their lives so even though it was this soil and water that made them sick, there is no cure so when they are all too ill they will be PTS and I will sell.

    Anyway as sad as it is, the lesson from it is not to expect yellow country to be productive for you unless you have a truckload of money, plenty of time and machinery to amend the soil by making heaps of nutritious compost. For my place I would need absolute bulk tons.

    The other thing to note about this subsoil (the yellow schist stuff) is when it is cut into and gets weather on it, it becomes very reactive and almost melts once wetted. Heavy things sink into it or depressions appear for no reason. Cut walls dissolve and fall down into a mess of slurry.

    Its impossible to be successful at gardening on such ground.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  8. Mojtaba

    Mojtaba Active Member Premium Member

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    exactly like time in spring and in summer I give water to my passion fruit whit water of our house this is kill my passion fruit
     
  9. Mojtaba

    Mojtaba Active Member Premium Member

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    can you send a picture?
     
  10. DanRicho

    DanRicho Member Premium Member

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    @ClissAT Out of curiosity, what's the pH of your dam water?
     
  11. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    The dam water pH can get quite high at times.
    But its the coliforms which do the most damage to the roots of the plants the water is applied to. Coliforms are non-beneficial bacteria that you don't want around the roots!
    The reason my applications of far more fertilizer was working was that it overwhelmed the coliforms thus providing nutrition to the plants for a time. But then when I watered again with more dam water, I applied more coliforms and the cycle of nutritional starvation started again.
    I've completely stopped using the dam water now and interestingly the horses don't drink from it much anymore either.
    Especially now in such a bad drought when there hasn't been any runoff for years to flush the dam through.
    Its quite stagnant with a heavy scum on the surface now. Usually an onion bag of barley straw thrown into the dam would provide sufficient bacteria to fix the quality for the horses but not in the last few years.
    So I gave up on it.
    I wrote above about making an oxygenator to float on the dam but although I have most of the materials, I'm nolonger well enough to do the heavy work of building the thing.
    Since I'll probably have to sell up in a year or two now anyway, I can't be bothered.
    Since getting the big shed built I have two big tanks of rainwater off the roof for the garden and horse water now. I'm just making do with that.
    But I do have a drawing of my idea which I'll post later since that photo is on the big computer which is nolonger connected to the net.
    And if you google 'dam water oxygenator' you'll get all sorts of pictures.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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