very poor soil ,animal and insect attacks - give up or what

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by sindhooram, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    planting marigolds can remove or control nematodes
     
  2. Mango1

    Mango1 Junior Member

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    using mustard as a green manure also works. The CSIRO recently did some work showing how decaying mustard 'fumigates' the soil and kills nemotodes.
     
  3. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    purplepear I did click on that link but the only way to get information seems to be to buy the video for $26. What is the speciality of that - would like to know a little more before going ahead and buying it???

    Good to hear about the mustard and marigolds - maybe I can grow that during the rainy season when other things dont do well...
     
  4. Ichsani

    Ichsani Junior Member

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    Hi Sindhooram,

    Hmmm… originally I thought that baking powder would do it but on closer inspection it already has an acid in it….so it will react with itself when added to water (no use to us!). You could still do test 1 & 3… you can also make homemade pH test strips if you are interested https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Homemade-pH-Paper-Test-Strips

    Gardening on the roof sounds good, should be a lot easier to keep the puppies out too! But don’t give up on the soil around the house, growing anything & turning it in will improve the soil over no vegetation at all.

    Nematodes are painful, I’ve had them in several gardens and for me the best approach has been using marigolds as ppp suggested (Mango1’s suggestion of mustard greens sounds good too… will try this myself :) ) as well as crop rotation… for me they generally became less as the soil was built up (sadly years, not months). I don’t know how nematodes travel… they seem to be in most places in low numbers though

    Your earlier question about ‘optimal fertility’ … ‘optimum’ is generally pegged to a particular set of crops …. and people definitely don’t agree on how much of xyz nutrients are needed nor in what form they are best delivered/supplied/’nurtured’…..so maybe more fruitful to focus on what you can do with what you have & where you are :) sometimes there are things that just won’t grow given the situation (for me its celery)

    I do believe that the all degraded soils can be improved/fixed/repaired/nurtured to be functioning (living) soils though :)

    Some links that may be of interest (remember to switch the monsoon period :))
    https://www.capetrib.com.au/thefarm_vegetablegarden.htm
    https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s829831.htm
    https://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/
    https://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/tropical-vegetables.html


    For Pebble – perhaps try the recipes for pH test strips above as groundwater in a schist dominated aquifer ‘should’ range between 6 & 8… which doesn’t really help you. For soils info for your region try here https://www.southland.org.nz/Home/L...SouthlandSoils/SoilInformationSheetIndex.aspx

    …but you will need to get the 1:50 000 map sheet showing soil types for your area to pin down you main type…. The online one seems not to be working at the moment https://www.southland.org.nz/Home/LandPeople/EnvironmentLandInformation/SouthlandSoils/SoilMaps.aspx perhaps call this fellow https://www.southland.org.nz/Home/LandPeople/EnvironmentLandInformation/SouthlandSoils.aspx else these guys would be able to help you https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/databases/db_details.asp?Database_Collection_ID=13
     
  5. pcereghino

    pcereghino Junior Member

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    I have a friend who has a hell of a time growing western veges in a tropical setting due to insect pests... Describe your location, climate, etc as well. Tropical burn rate on organic matter is quite unseemly... Managing the neighbors lot for biomass sounds like a great idea! ~PRC
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Fair enough sindhooram I must admit I didn't try the teaser. Peter Proctor is a New Zealander practising biodynamics and the DVD is about a trip to India. It shows how Indian farmers whet about revitalizing soils wrecked by artificial fertalizers and also talks about seed patenting and may things that are happening there and around the world. I found it very inspirational and still drag out my copy from time to time to refresh. BTW I am not involved in sales so try your local library or search u tube
     
  7. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    Hello, Ichsani I finally did those soil tests .....but didnt get much from them. the vinegar didnt bubble at all. I didnt have bicarbonate but I had potassium citrate which is also alkaline and that didnt bubble. but that may not work in the same way so i will get some bicarb when I am near a shop which sells it and try again...the soil when it is wet clumps together like a compact mud. Does that info give you any more clues? it is a light reddish brown colour and very stony.

    Since i made that posting I have moved some things up onto the roof. have 6 cherry tomatoes growing very well - i mixed beachside sandy soil with compost and old cowdung and they seem happy but will have to see at fruit set time....I guess one main problem with our soil is that it gets so hard and compact and the plants cant get their roots in - when I pull up things that arent growing well I notice they have tiny root systems...

    i also have a tray of lettuce growing well on the roof and it is bliss....so far not a single leaf has even been nibbled,no animal disturbance and it looks healthy....only a couple of leaf miner attacks but I think I can cope with that.I've planted some more in a bigger tub....thinking to get some beans going...i wonder if I could even get some container short carrots in the slightly cooler months if I give them only morning and evening sun???
    Obviously its not self sufficiency yet but at least feels good to see some things growing happily....
    I would still like to have some good garden beds too but I think I'll wait for the rain to come and then go all out collecting organic matter and see if I have better luck next season....
    By the way those links were very helpful to me about what to grow - thanks for that!!!!
     
  8. palalab

    palalab Junior Member

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  9. Ichsani

    Ichsani Junior Member

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    Hi Sindhooram,

    Hey your roof garden successes sound great! Very glad you are getting good results with your soil mix too. On the whole it sounds like you're onto a winner wit the roof garden - which is good, because I have some not so good news for the soil around the house.

    From the tests that you've done there's no indication of excess acidity or alkalinity and there's no need to worry about redoing the acid soil test with sodium bicarbonate - potassium citrate has v similar pH so your results won't differ.

    .... which sadly leaves what's called 'hard setting' clays soils that have very poor internal structure - extremely dense.... like rock when dry and & waterlogged when wet so the plants are either drowning or dehydrated. There are several reasons why a clay soil can be hardsetting and most of them have to so with the mineral nature of the soil (the type of clay, high sodium or high soil salinity for instance). Its pretty hard to tell from a distance which it could be.

    Here's a page with gardeners tips on working with clay soil & some plants that deal better with it. Focusing on tree crops rather than annual vegetables is also potentially useful.
    https://www.bachmans.com/Garden-Car...pageIndex=_pageIndexToken_workingWithClaySoil

    One thing I would recommend maybe trying is working in gypsum (calcium sulphate) to a test bed (when the soil is almost dry) and then lightly work in a fair bit of organic matter to the surface followed by a green manure like Palalab suggested above. Dig this in when grown. Whether the gypsum will have any effect on structure depends on the type of clay - but the mineral nutrient will be of use and so will the organics. I guess over time this is building the soil higher to help with drainage too.

    One other thing with these hard set clays is that when you add organic material it needs to be dug in - it just doesn't physically move into these pesky soils when put on top... not like lighter soils with earthworms. Mulching with coarse stuff is always good though.

    For a bit of fun you might find this interesting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2z-IdnIGLE&feature=related heavy clay makes a solid foundation... :)

    Anyhow, glad to hear of your sucesses

    Cheers
    Ichsani
     
  10. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    the roof garden is still working well - cherry tomatoes starting to set fruit and the plants growing fast ....I wont plant much more now as it just got really hot and we'll probablly travel to the mountains in April when it gets a bit unbearable...
    but its nice to feel there's something I can get stuck into next season...

    Well now I know a bit more why the soil is so bad and have many more ideas - thanks for that...
    The green manure - I did try that a bit before using mung beans which is what my husband's uncle uses (he lives a couple of hours from here)- but the soil was too poor for them to grow well so it didnt really work....I'm thinking clover may be a better option ......
    dandelion doesnt seem to grow here - I know comfrey is a major permaculture plant but have never seen it here - does it tolerate heat and humidity / a long rainy season?

    Will post again in the future when i find what works well ...
    best wishes to all...
     
  11. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    Hello - one other question that I was thinking about - Ichasni you said with this kind of soil its better to dig the organic matter in rather than spread it on top of the soil....then what is the best way to fertilize plants that are already up and running and I cant really dig?- (I'm thinkin here mainly about my pomegranate trees which look like they need a boost - also the passion fruit vines and tomatoes)?
    I have cow dung and a shop bought organic fertilizer which smells like it contains bone meal among other things but when I apply these on top I dont really notice much difference - any suggestions?
     

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