Sunday, May 3, 2015

Acidifying Mandarins' Soil

After last week's pH test of the upper mandarin at 7.5, I went to the nursery and got two products to address that.  The first is E. B. Stone Naturuals Soil Sulfur.  The quantity instructions on the box are very confusing, but mostly it seems to be an imprecise science anyway.  The amount to add depends on the type of soil (mine is clay-ish) and seems to also depend on how buffered the soil is.  So, I winged it and sprinkled the sulfur granules generously over the top of the well and worked it in with a claw.  I did this project while wearing gardening clothes because I'd read elsewhere that sulfur can stain clothes badly.  My understanding is that this soil sulfur could take months to break down since it requires certain bacteria in the soil to work on it, and that they are most active in soil temperatures above 80 degrees F.  So, I'm not counting on that working fast.

Once I had the granules worked in, I got out my trusty foliar spray pump.  Into the canister I put a few tablespoons of Bonide Liquid Iron + Micronutrients.  I'm trying this product because it is a liquid with multiple ingredients, most of which involve "sulfate".  The principle ingredient is ferrous sulfate, which is another way to quickly lower pH in soil.  I also added to the canister some Fish Emulsion to give some nitrogen kick to these poor plants.  We need leaves!  So, I sprayed the few leaves they have with this concoction.  I made a similar blend in a watering can and watered the well thoroughly with it.

Also, I've continued to work on the watering for these trees.  Feeling it was dry, I basically doubled the watering time and went from every 5 days to every 4 days.  Then, I've been checking it more often and still wonder if it is slightly dry.  Today we changed it to every other day.  I know this may not let it dry well in between, but so far, I haven't felt the soil was soggy.  When we had some very rare rain, that did coincide with the lower tree blooming and creating a few leaves, so I wonder if the rain influenced that.

While we were out there, DH also did some shredding to add to the compost pile.  Go DH!

I planted some dill and basil in pots from seed.  I put little plastic domes over them to create a greenhouse to aid sprouting.

The kids and I also put about 18 jade pieces into pots for the fun of starting more jade plants.