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Thread: Micronutrients and veg gardening

  1. #11
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    Deep rooted weeds (over here the prime example being comfrey) pull up minerals from below the normal level our crops reach - so cutting and composting these replenishes the soil. So does human urine
    Perennial crops develop greater root systems so theoretically should be more nutritious than annual veg.
    Seaweed is a good mineral mulch, some people use "rock dust" but I'm not convinced.
    Planting legumes means nitrogen is fixed from the air (there are other kinds of nitrogen fixers too) by bacteria in root nodules.
    Finally the mycorrhiza of fungi can transport nutrients amazing distances (see the work of Paul Stamets if interested).

  2. #12
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    otzi Guest
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    The problem of depleted minerals in soil is mostly confined to areas of heavy agriculture. If the land your garden will be planted in has been residential for a long time, it should be fine. If it was commercial farmland, it may be depleted.

    That said, if this is your first year of gardening, go light on adding an fertilizer, if any. You will know right away if your soil is poor by the way your plants sprout, grow, and look. For instance, if you plant corn and it is stunted or has purplish leaves, that can indicate a lack of nitrogen and phosphorous. It's easy to find info on-line pertaining to this.

    You probably have a cooperative extension service in your area, they usually provide free soli sample kits you can use to see specific deficiencies in the soil.

    Most commercial garden fertilizers contain only N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium), which is usually enough to provide suitable crops, but some places also have fertilizer with NPK, plus sulfur and other organic compounds such as blood meal, feathers, bone meal, fish, etc... Those are the ones I use.

    You can really build your soil up nicely over a few years. Buy some redworms, or find your own to put in the garden. Recycle every scrap of vegetation you can into the soil, don't use any pesticides or weedkillers, and plant some cover crops in late summer that are known to boost nitrogen, like buckwheat or field peas.

    In choosing vegetables, I'd like to give a shout-out to the purple foods...potatoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, etc... These have way more antioxidants than the standard colors of these veggies and are considered more healthful in general and can't usually be bought in stores. Have fun!

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