With my office smelling like wet soil and a motley crew of plants and planters straggling across my desk, I’m in a good place to celebrate Earth Day. It doesn’t hurt that the plants came from a campus clean-up project that one of my classes planned last week, and the egg carton planters came into being thanks to another class activity yesterday. I’ll spend another few minutes with these signs of spring, then head to a board meeting for the Crossroads Community Food Network. We’ll be talking about that organization’s fragrant, colorful farmers market, which opens in just six weeks.
I hope you’re celebrating where you want to be this Earth Day, or that you’re on the way.
Soil samples from my plot and my garden neighbors’ are mixed, dried, and ready to ship to U Mass.
Colleges just had that special break where students drink on the beach and faculty stay home to watch 90s movies, and I have potatoes sprouting on my kitchen table. So even if forecasters predict snow tomorrow, spring is officially here! For gardeners, that means it’s time to send in soil samples for testing, if you haven’t already.
Wondering what the deal is with soil testing? Here’s my basic guide to getting your dirt analyzed:
- It’s a good idea to test levels of various materials in your garden soil every year or two. It’s like getting a physical and doing blood work. Then you can add whatever nutrients you need to grow the most abundant and nutritious plants or, in some cases, remediate or move on to avoid harmful contaminants like lead. Find out more on this and the movement for better soil from the Bionutrient Food Association.
- A good time to do this in the D.C. area is usually late February. But if the ground is frozen solid during that time like it was this year, late March works.
My zucchini seedlings came into their own this week. From between the generic cotyledon lobes that feed the plant before it takes energy from the sun, they unfurled their true leaves. Spikey, spunky, furred. The original solar panels.