Friday, 24 May 2013 21:18

Backyard Gardener Part 3: Soil Test Results and Container Gardening

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BANGOR - Knowing what's in the ground is crucial to getting a garden started.  After waiting for the results of our soil test, we've learned what we need to prepare to plant. Our Erin Thomas has the latest in our "Backyard Gardener" series.
This week we received our soil report from the University of Maine testing service and Kate Garland, horticulturalist from the Cooperative Extension, explained to us what exactly those numbers mean.
Firstly, she informed us our soil was lacking magnesium.  She explained this means we need to add lime. However, something you have at home may already work.  Unleached wood ash can be substituted just as easily as lime. 
Kate said we would need to supplement the soil with other elements as well: nitrogen, phosophorus, and potassium. These are nutrients commonly needed in Maine when planting. They can be purchased at a local nursery or garden center.
Unfortunately our garden saw rain all week, and we were not able to begin tilling.  Instead, Kate went over the basics of container gardening for individuals who may not be able to plant in the ground.
She showed us how she uses pots, which many of us have around the house, or can easily find in a garden center. Seedlings such as basil and sage can be grown in containers by simply using potting soil.
Kate says plants grown in containers do need to be watered more often than those in the ground, but the benefit of container gardening is the ability to bring the plants inside at night this time of year.
Next week we will try again, weather permitting, to dig ground and make proper amendments to the soil in the garden as needed.