With spring temperatures upon us I hope you are thinking about some preparations you need to consider for the upcoming growing season.
One of the first items I plan for are the aspects of soil fertility and nutrient management. This requires studying a historic soil test(s) and then beginning the planning process to address the characteristics of your soil type. Some of these amendments might include compost, sand, top soil, composted manures, or clay. These will alter physical properties as well as nutrient availability but may not address all your nutrient needs requiring other nutrients to "feed" your plants throughout the upcoming growing season.
Compost is a very good source of Organic Matter (OM) which is like the sponge for both water and nutrients. Along with the OM it also contains nutrients which can be used to feed the plants. It is best to apply the compost and then collect a new soil test after the compost has been worked into the soil. By taking the soil test after it allows you to have a better idea of the complete soil mixtures nutrient availability. This then allows you to use a more consistent nutrient dense product(s) to address deficiencies in soil nutrients. Here are two websites that can help you how to make and use a compost bin and also how to use compost to fertilize your garden. If you have any questions please call us at 218-749-7120.
Troy Salzer, Extension Educator