Archive for the ‘Soil’ Category

barren garden

Preparing Soil for Winter

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Leaves are falling and the air is crisp; fall is definitely here. Another year eaten, canned and preserved! The garden season is over. It’s time to put away canning supplies, garden tools and prepare for winter to come. The garden looks barren and boring. I already miss the color and purpose of this space. In preparation for spring, consider Ward Upham’s, K-State Extension Agent’s, advice: “Fall is the preferred time to prepare garden soil for next spring’s vegetable garden. Spring is often wet making it difficult to work soil without forming clods that remain the rest of the season. Fall usually is drier allowing more time to work the soil when it is at the correct soil moisture content. Even if you work soil wet in the fall and form clods, the freezing and thawing that takes place in the winter will break them down, leaving a mellow soil the following spring. Insects often hide in garden debris. If that debris is worked into the soil, insects will be less likely to survive the winter. Diseases are also less likely to overwinter if old plants are worked under. Also, garden debris will increase the organic matter content of the soil. Working the debris into the soil is easier if you mow the old vegetable plants several times to reduce the size of the debris. Fall is an excellent time to add organic matter. Not only are organic materials usually more available in the fall (leaves, rotten hay or silage, grass clippings) but fresher materials can be added in the fall than in the spring because there is more time for them to break down before spring planting. As a general rule, add 2 inches of organic material to the surface of the soil and till it in. Be careful not…
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10 Ways Soil Nutrients are Similar to Human Nutrients

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
“Show me your hands! Wow, they look too clean! Let’s get them dirty!” School is way more fun when the students get to dig in! I am a regular volunteer at our school garden and the students love to see me in the hallway because they know they are going to get dirty while they learn. With almost every garden lesson we talk about the importance of fertile soil. To make it relevant to the students, I often compare their needs to the needs of plants. Humans and plants both have nutritional needs. Whether you in the garden, the kitchen, or at school, you too can teach the importance of human and plant nutrition. Here are ten ways soil nutrients are similar to human nutrients. Nutrients for plants mainly come from the soil. Nutrients for humans primarily come from food, often food grown in the soil. Potassium helps human control muscles and the rhythm of the heart. In plants, potassium helps plants control and use water efficiently. In the context of plant requirements, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen are called the non-mineral nutrients. People need these too. The full list of essential nutrients both humans and plants need includes manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, iron, copper, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and chlorine. Nutrition labels & fertilizer bag labels give a clear breakdown of the nutrients provided. If only I didn’t have to worry about pesky calories like a pea plant! All of the essential nutrients plants and humans need can be found on the periodic table of elements. Iron in humans helps move oxygen. Iron helps the body make hemoglobin that moves oxygen and hemoglobin through the blood. This is similar to phosphorus moving energy around the plant. Calcium equals strong bones for humans. Whereas in plants, nitrogen helps grow strong stalks.…
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Teacher Retreat Recap: A Meeting of the Minds at the Mine

Monday, July 28th, 2014
With beautiful mountain ranges as a backdrop, eight educators from around the country recently convened at the Simplot Smoky Canyon mine to “talk soil.” Their mission was an important one: guide the development of future education materials for the Nutrients for Life Foundation. (more…)
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Nutrients in the Garden 13: 5 Steps To Directly Sow Seeds

Friday, May 9th, 2014
Between soccer games, track practice, birthday parties, and life we finally started planting the garden. The girls were as excited as I was to be digging and planting. We had limited time before the sun set, so I handed the camera to twelve year old and started sowing. (more…)
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Nutrients in the Garden 12: How To Read A Fertilizer Label

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
As promised, this week we are looking at fertilizer labels. When you walk into the garden center you will see there are lots of different choices. Below, I show different samples of fertilizers. I am not promoting one or the other; I use a variety of different fertilizers for different purposes. (more…)
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Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
  It’s Earth Day, so let’s celebrate the Earth! I love the feel of finely tilled soil and it’s earthy smell. Did you know that only 3 % of the entire Earth provides all of our food? We are dependent on this tiny bit of Earth for every morsel we put to our mouth. (more…)
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Nutrients in the Garden 10: Prepare & Amend

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Oh, my sore muscles! I took advantage of the sunshine and removed some plant stubble that was in the garden since last fall. It felt good getting dirty and putting in a few hours of hard work. These sore muscles remind me that gardening is great exercise and part of a healthy lifestyle! How many overweight gardeners do you know? (more…)
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From the Ground Up: The Science of Soil Launch

Monday, March 17th, 2014
The Foundation is excited to announce it is now expanding its reach into the digital education world! In collaboration with Discovery Education,  the Foundation is making an impact with a program called From the Ground Up: The Science of Soil.  (more…)
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Garden Spotlight: Sue Meggers & Hannah Ludwig

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Sue Meggers has gardened for many reasons over the course of her life.  When she was young, she gardened because her grandparents did.   (more…)
autumn-optimism

Autumn Optimism

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Well, it’s the middle of October. How can that be? Time has a way of moving quickly and I find myself emotionally tied to the fall season. (more…)
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Garden Spotlight: Micah Weber

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
"Just plant it, seed is cheap!" says Micah Weber of Rock Valley, Iowa.  Mr. Weber has been the Agriculture Education Instructor for grades seven through twelve at Rock Valley Community School for the past 13 years.   (more…)