Hardening Off and Soil Tests

Like Laura said a few blog posts ago- I am sharing my room with lots and lots of baby greens. On top of that, our bed room is also the temporary headquarters for Recycle-A-Bike!

I fear that I am raising several hundred men-children though, because in my over zealousness I started some way too early. This means my plants are big and should be out in the garden, so I need to harden them to the outside world. I”ve been placing them on my patio for longer and longer lengths of time, and watering less often. Getting them ready to leave the womb.


It should be rainy for a couple days, then nice and mild. I will spend lots of time next week putting transplants in the ground. Lettuce, Red Russian and Dinosaur Kale, Collard Greens, Chard, Scallion and Cress. They all have a nice home awaiting them.

Yesterday I recieved my soil test from the UMASS soil lab in my e-mail. I had tested my soil last year when Front Step Farm was simply a vacant lot. The test came back with low lead levels, which was a godsend, but also serious deficencies in every single nutrient.

I spent a lot of time working to grow my own soil over the past year. I had a large compost operation- using leaves, seaweed, literally tons of coffee grounds, and food waste from Farm in A Cart I made lots of nice rich soil for my bed. I also mulched every garden bed with seaweed and shredded maple leaves for the winter. This had been my main activity, much more so then even growing food. Of course, there is a big risk here, and Front Step Farm has no leases, and a highly unstable landlord. If I get kicked out it will take weeks to move my soil somewhere else.

The new soil test came back with nutrients off the scale! Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potasium are all listed in the “Very High” range. As an added bonus, my lead level slid even further down. Organic matter is up, and the Soil PH is well within the desired range! Not too geek out too much on the blog, but I am really fucking happy about these results.

Strangely the Nitrogen level is low. I don’t understand how that could be, except that the shredded leaves I mulched with over the winter might be tieing up a lot of the available nitrogen in order to decompose.

At the end of this season, if I am lucky enough to keep the farm, I will plant nitrogen fixing cover crops in every bed for the winter, and turn them in in the spring.


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2 Responses to Hardening Off and Soil Tests

  1. Dad says:

    I am wicked happy for ya!

  2. Mike says:

    No, no, please do geek out. I’m a perennially awful and ever aspiring gardener and anything you can throw out there I’m sure will be interesting.

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