This morning I posted a new video in which Steve Solomon joins me to fix our bad soil:
This is a quick mineralization of what we now know to be terrible, acid, rotten, no-good sand.
Here is my soil test:
Not only are the mineral levels low and the organic matter abysmal, the minerals that are in the soil are hard for plants to access due to the poor exchange capacity. In the video, Steve and I mix up a recipe which will fertilize and mineralize a 100 ft2 garden bed for a season.
The complete recipe we used for my bad sandy soil:
Since I know everyone wants the recipe, here it is:
4 quarts cottonseed meal
1 quart garden lime (better to use 2/3 quart garden lime and 1/3 quart dolomite)
2 cups pelletized gypsum
3.5 cups bonemeal
2/3 cup potassium sulfate
1.5 tbsp borax
2 tbsp manganese sulfate
2 tbsp zinc sulfate
2 tsp copper sulfate
1 quart kelp meal
1/8 tsp sodium molybdate
Here’s what everything looks like spread out and labelled:
Mix thoroughly by pouring from bucket to bucket, then spread as evenly as you can over a one hundred square feet of garden.
In my old garden back in Grenada, I had volcanic clay-loam. Here I have acid sandy grit. I love a challenge!
I can’t even easily get seaweed here, or lots of good biomass. Gonna have to make do. And buy stuff. Right now I have 100lbs of kelp meal on order, plus I’m going to plant some serious cover crops to get my organic matter content higher.
You can see the extended interview with Steve here on Unauthorized: https://www.unauthorized.tv/watch/steve-solomon-complete-fertilizer-mixing-interview-unauthorized-73b934/
And you can get Steve’s book The Intelligent Gardener here: https://amzn.to/3jNUvSL
Steve Solomon’s Soil and Health Library: http://www.soilandhealth.org
Compost Your Enemies T-Shirts: https://www.aardvarktees.com/products/compost-your-enemies
“what we now know to be terrible, acid, rotten, no-good sand.”
David, your patriotism and endearment for Florida-like soil is palpable
Could you put a cost per square foot on your fertility enhancers for us fellow poor soil folks?
[…] and see what happens. We’ll try biochar in one, nothing in another, no-till in a third, Steve’s fertilizer mix in a fourth… it’ll be […]
Where’d you order your kelp meal from?
Some I got from the local feed store. Then I bought two more bags from here: https://www.7springsfarm.com/
They have a lot of awesome stuff.
They have a lot of great stuff, but the shipping hurts. I need to find something local.
David, you got the complete package + extras for the soil testing? Looks like even the basic has more detail than my county extension for the same price. Mich State Univ. Starting composting all kitchen waste, will add higher fence, Deer literally ate everything, got a salad and couple squash, not even a tomato made it. Been enjoying watching your new garden take shape. God Bless.
I got the “standard with extras”. It was $30. Thanks, John. I need to fence for deer soon. They are awful.
[…] If you can add micronutrients as well your food will taste better and give you more nutrition. There is a recipe from Steve Solomon here. Just do your […]
%1.94 Organic matter! That’s a great place to demonstrate soil improvement methods, sure enough.
[…] recently moved to a place in Alabama with sandy, dead soil. His soil test was so abysmal that he called Solomon for help. Solomon studied his soil test to formulate a […]
Why is this Steve Solomona mix. Dr Mittleider was using micronutrient mixes decades ago. 13 essential elements was his thing.
Steve has tweaked it, Mike, and added more slow-release sources, as well as ingredients such as kelp meail which provide many traces. Compare these ingredients to Mittleider. A basic side-by-side will show you the difference.
I don’t know if you remember me, but we traded plants several times when y’all were in Ocala and my husband and I visited y’all in that unspecified tropical paradise a few years back. We recently bought a house in Gainesville with a killer gorgeous yard and I’m having all kinds of mineral imbalance issues. I bought Steve Solomon’s book back in October after your recommendation and read it- parts of it two or three times. Since then I’ve had three separate soil tests done and done some home testing and I’m even more confused now that I was before I started testing. All of the tests have given wildly different numbers, despite using the same holes to dig samples! Any recommendations for discussion groups that talk about his methods maybe?
Of course I remember you, Andi. I miss reading your blog! Good hearing from you again and congrats on the new house.
What lab did you use?
Hi Dave 🙂 Just sending you a wave from sandy Santa Rosa County, FL. 😉 I’m a wannabe novice gardener, trying to absorb enough knowledge here to not completely fail in my first attempts at growing something besides weeds in my back yard.
Rock on. Glad you’re here, Nicole.
Just stumbled upon your website and HOLY SMOKES that soil report! Coming from SoCal I have a totally different readout but OI! that’s a rough start! I feel your pain. Luckily it seems that with a little time you should be able to make great soil. The aluminum level is the only thing I’d be really concerned with. I read Intelligent Gardener 6 years ago after a farm internship in Middle Georgia, changed my life and its direction. Been on the nutrient density kick for awhile now, there is so much to learn. I highly recommend checking out the BioNutrient Food Association if you haven’t. Wonderful Resource.
Keep the faith!
Yes! It’s terrible. Thank you for the lead on the BFA – I will look them up now.