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It’s more than just the weather.

February’s weather always teases gardeners. With temperatures in the 60’s for a bit, it’s easy to start thinking about planting things – not only cold tolerant varieties, but our summer vegetables as well. I enjoy planting a gamble garden, and typically plant some vegetables like tomatoes earlier than I should. That’s part of the fun in gardening, right? I have planted tomatoes (just a couple) the last week of February and have gotten them to survive the cold weather with the help of frost protectors. Did these plants produce tomatoes any quicker than those planted weeks earlier? Not weeks earlier, but it was fun seeing how early I could get them started.

With the fluctuating temperatures this week, and one mornings low of 9, there are a few things that I’m going to do at the Acre to help my production of vegetables this summer. I’ll admit, I’ve never done a soil test to check the Ph and nutrient levels of the soil. I’ve lived or worked close to the Acre my whole life. West Wichita has some great soil, and there has never been anything built on this city lot. From time to time someone has chosen to dump various things at the Acre. I’ve found oil filters, pieces of carpet fibers, rusty matchbox cars, broken glass and various other items. By getting readings I’ll be able to adjust the Ph and use correct amount of N-P-K for the nutritional needs of the specific crops.

Doing a soil test is simple. Take soil samples, about a cup each, from several spots in your yard or garden. Put into a coffee can, mix together, put sample into test tube, add distilled water and testing ingredients followed by the reading. Add nutrients according to results.

I’ll have to say I’m glad I did the Ph test. In just a few short minutes, I found out the Ph is 8, the test showed a nice kelly green color! Tomatoes like it a bit on the acidic side, or under 7. Changing soil Ph is not an overnight project. I’ll add 1/2 lbs of Sulfur per 100 sq ft, in 30 days test again and see where it goes.

Most of the time its easy to blame the weather for the lack of production in our Acres. My thought is that it may be as simple as a half pound of Sulfur.