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43 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
What are some indicators of poorly drained soil?
when the soil feels stickly or has blusih gray flecks.
What are the names of the test used to test the condition of the soil yourself?
1. The Squeeze test
2. the Perc test
3. the weed test
4. the earthworm test
What does the squeeze test determine?
the texture of yoru soil, that is the relative amounts of sand, silt and clay. Sand feels gritty, sitl feels moist and clay feels slippery. You simply pick up a handful of moist soil from your vegetable growing area, squeeze it and open your hand. If the soil remains in a ball, it has too much clay in it, and if it crumblies, it is considered an ideal soil for plant growth.
What is the perc test?
This test is an easy way to assess how quickly water drains through your soil. You simply dig a hole in your garden 1 foot deep and 1 ffot wide, fill it full of water and allow the water to drain. Fill the hole full of water again and allow it to drain but record how long it takes for the water to drain this time. If it takes more than two hours, the soil has too much clay in it.
What is the weed test?
An observation of the types of weeds growing in your vegetable growing area can give you many clues about the soil condition.
What is the earthworm test?
A record of the earthworm population in a given voulme of soil. Soil from a hole 1 foot acrss and 1 foot deep with at least ten earthworms is an indication that the soil is in good shape.
What are some methods of testing the soil pH yourself?
1. POrtable pH meter
2. Litmus paper test
3. plant indicator test.
When is a portable pH meter most useful?
If you have a large yard or many different plantings that have verying pH requirements.
How is the pH determined after having dipped a portion of litmus paper in a dish slurry made from your 1:1 ratio of soil and distilled water?
By matching the dipped litmus paper change of color to the chart that comes with the litmus testkit. Each color represents a differnt pH level.
Is the "plant indicator test" an alternative means of determining the pH of your soil?
Yes because the presence of a particular plant can be an indicator of pH. If your soil is acid, you may expect to find acid adapted weeds such as sorrels or horsetails. White an dred clovers are signs of fertile and near neutral or moderately acid soil.
Is "Leaf analysis" considered a do-it-yourself test?
No, many agricultural service offices and some private labs will analyze certain nutrients, especially nitrogen, more accurately.
When attempting to correct soil imbalances in an organic garden, should one expect overnight solutions to the problem?
No, the organic gardeners don't look for a 50 pound bad solution . They look for a two three or four year program that will result in a fetile and rich soil. For a quick fix, suupplement your soil building program with organic fertilizers
As an organic gardener, you have recently conducted a soil assessment in your garden revealing problems wirh the physical structure of your soil compacvtion, low humus, poor drainage or poor water and air retention. What is the solution to these problems?
Add 1 inch of compost or other fine-textured organic material, such as mowed buckwheat, spead over the soil sufrace equals to about 5 percent of the volume of the first foot of soil.
What is the best method of getting organic matter into your garden soil?
Rotary tiling and double digging
What is a green manure crop?
A crop that is grown and then incorporated into the soil to increase soil fertility and organic matter content.
Some green manuers are legumes, crops whose roots form an association with soil borne bacteria that can transform nitrogen from the atmosphere into nitrogen compunds that can be used by plants. What is this process called?
Nitrogen fixation.
What is the best method of incorporating organic matter into the soils where plants have already been established?
By mulching= use a 4 inch layer of chopped leaves, wood chips, etc.
What are the best methods of top-dressing your lawn?
Add a 1/2 inch layer of inihsed compost over the intire surface of the lawn in the spring and again in the fall.
What are the best methods of dealing with heavey clay in an organic garde?
Double digging is the best short term option, and adding sand along with organic materials or using green manures and incorporating organic matter are the best long term solutions.
What causes hardpans in soils?
Soil compaction by heavy traffic in the area or plaowing the soil to the same depth each year.
How can drainage problems caused by hardpans be eliminated
1. double-digging
2. plant deep-root crops such as sweet clover
3. use raised beds in wet area
4. install a drainage system.
How can one improve the biological activity in the soil?
1. by adding organic matter which improves the soil condition for living organisims such as bacteria and other microherd memnbers.
How can one revive or increase the earthworm population in the soil
1. add organic matter to feed them and they will return
2. you can order earthworms from a mail order catagog , but it is best to release them only into your compost pile, not your soil.
What is the most common species of earthworms?
the Red wriggler worm
What is the best way to improve the mineral conttev in the soil of an organic garden?
Add finished compost or other partially decayed organic material this helps to balance mineral content and even modify soil pH.
What are some acid-loving plants?
1. Hollies
2. blueberries
3. rhododendrons
4. broom sedge
What are two types of ground laimestone?
Calcitic, which slowly releases calcium in the soil; dolomitic, which slowly releases both calcium and magnesium in the soil.
Most soils with a pH of 6 or less will reveal acidic results. As a rule of thumb how many pounds o flimestone per 100 square feet are required to raise the soil pH by one point?
Five pounds
When is the best time to test soil pH
mid to late summer
Wood ashes may be used to adjust soil pH, too. Select it as a last resort. How much and how often should it be added to the soil?
Add 25 pounds per 1000 square feet and apply it once every two or three years in any particular area.
What is a weed?
Any plant in the field that is out of place
What are biennial weeds?
Plants that live for two seaons. They grew only roots, stems and leaves for the first year and usually lie low to the ground in a rosette pattern.
What are the names of two common biennial weeds?
Common Mullein and Queen-Annes Lace
What are perennial weeds?
Plants that live at least three years.
The best strategy in dealing with weeds is prevention. How can weed problems be prevented without using chemicals?
By keeping existing weeds fromr setting seed.
2. Mulching around the plants to smother out any weed seeds that germinate
3. Grow cover crops to form a dense living soil cover that will out compete any weeds that try to sprout through
How do mulches prevent many weeds from germinating?
By creating an unfavorable enviornment. Light layers of mulch such as rotted hay or straw are so low that they can trigger seed dormancy. Without adequate light, the plants that do survive don't produce enough chlorophyll to enable further growth. They will eventually die.
When is the best time of the season to apply mulch?
Early spring, after you have applied compost or soil amendments and tilled or dug the garden.
What colors of synthetic plastic lumches are best to use on certain crops?
Use light colored mulch around lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and other crop sthat benefit from cool soil. Use dark colored mulches around tomatoes and peppers which will benefit from warm soil.
What are cover crops?
Cover crops are grass, legume, or grain crops grown to protect and enrich the soil. Cover crops suppress weed populations because they grow so quickly that new germinating weed seed can't compete.
What are green manure cros?
Cover crops grown especially to be incorporated into the soil to improve fertility and add organic matter. You will likely plant cover or green manure crops in your garden becuase of their beneficial effects on soil structure and fertility.
Some growers plant alsike or white clover between rows of young squash or corn to add nitrogen to the area and to avoid mid season weeding. The clover is called living mulch. Why?
Bevause it is a growing crop, but serves all the functino of a standard mulch.
There are a few weeds you shoudl never till under any circumstances. What are they and why shouldn't they be tilled?
Comfrey, dandelions, Jerusalem artichokes, and quackgrass. These weeds shoudl not be tilled becuase they can reproduce from tiny bits of the original rootstock. For every weed you till, you will have two, three or even more weekds to replace it.
What is soil solarization?
The process of spreading clear plastic tightly over the soil surface during mid summe rmonths to trap heat, raising the soil temperature to levels that will kill weed seeds, as well as soil porne plant pathogens.