Family Plot - Nov. 22, 2012

Uploaded by WKNOPBS on 27.11.2012

>>Chris: Hi, thanks for joining us, welcome to
The Family Plot, Gardening in the Mid-South, and Happy Thanksgiving.
This is our final episode this season, and today
it's just me and Mr. D,
and we're going back to basics...back to the earth.
Our raised beds are filled with soil and we're ready to pull a soil test.
We'll take a tour of the soil testing lab in Nashville.
And we'll show you how to interpret the results.
All that and more is just ahead on The Family Plot Gardening in the Mid-South,
so stay with us.
>>Female announcer: This is a production of WKNO, Memphis.
Production funding for The Family Plot: Gardening in the Mid-South
is provided by Good Winds Landscape and Garden Center.
In Germantown since 1943, and continuing to offer its
plants for successful gardening with 7 greenhouses
and 3 acres of plants, plus comprehensive landscape services.
International Paper Foundation,
the WKNO Production Fund, the WKNO Endowment Fund,
and by Viewers Like You. Thank you.
♪ Music ♪
>>Chris: Hi welcome to The Family Plot, I'm Chris Cooper.
Today, it's just me and Mr. D. We're gonna' get started
by taking a soil sample from our raised beds. Ready?
>>Mike: Let's do it.
>>Chris: Where you want to start?
>>Mike: The important thing is to do a random sample.
I like to use two trowels, or a trowel and a spoon,
or a shovel and a spoon, or a military shovel. Anything works.
Okay, we need to do a random test.
I see random as here, here, here and here.
Just kind of randomly through here.
We want to sample the upper 4 to 6 inches of soil.
I'll take a trowel and push it down in the ground about 4 inches.
I'm going to lean it over and I'm going to go down and just do a scoop up that cut.
And we're done there. Let's go to another spot.
A teaspoon works really good, really works better than another trowel.
I'm gonna' go down and scoop it up.
I want it to be as uniform from very shallow to that 4 inches as I can get.
I'm gonna go down 4 to 6 inches, bring it on up.
And we need a pint? Is that what we need?
>>Chris: Just enough that will fit in the box.
>>Mike: Something like that.
I might start getting a little bit bigger bites as I do this.
I may fall in the bed here in a minute.

>>Chris: That looks good.
>>Mike: That'll work.
>>Chris: It looks like you might have done this a time or two.
>>Mike: Actually, most of the time when I do this I use a soil probe.
I have a soil probe in my truck.
But we're figuring most home owners don't have a soil probe.
So this is a very simple and good way to do it.

All the beds have the same soil so we're only gonna' sample one bed.
Now out in the agricultural community one sample can cover up to 10 acres.
And a farmer will use one type of sample if the soil is the same.
If he sees that the soil types are different,
then he will pull a different sample from each of those areas.
But one sample can cover up to 10 acres.

Doesn't this look pretty random?
>>Chris: Looks random to me.
>>Mike: Let's do one more, one more. Is that going to be enough soil?
>>Chris: I think that's going to be more than enough.
>>Mike: Okay, good deal.
>>Chris: Soil looks good.
>>Mike: You can't tell by looking though.
You can tell that you've got quite a lot of organic matter,
but you can't tell the nutrient content by looking.
You can tell that's pretty wet, so we need to let that dry out.
Leave it on newspaper or a paper towel for several days and let it dry out.
It costs money to ship water. We don't want to mail water.
We want it to be completely dry before we send it to the soil test lab.
>>Chris: And that's how easy it is to pull a soil test.
Right now, we're going to take a tour of the soil lab in Nashville
to show you how they analyze it.
>>Debbie: I would like to encourage growers to soil test
before they assume that they've done something wrong.
Because sometimes we might buy a shrub, or buy a tomato plant
or plant some things and it not go right.
And you think oh well you must of planted it too deep,
or it had a disease. I encourage you to soil test.
It's cheap, it's $7, you can get the results back within a week.
It's the best $7 I think you'll ever spend and plus you know.
You can't tell by looking at your garden what it needs
or what your soil fertility is.
You only can know that through a soil test.
>>Carmen: We get daily delivery of the US Mail,
we also get UPS and I guess FedEx does also send samples.
Whichever is more convenient for the person,
they'll send it in that way.
Then once it arrives we open up the samples.
As soon as all the paperwork is checked in, paid for,
then I line up our trays.
I usually test, on a tray we'll have groups of forty.
>>Debbie: The sample is dried at 150 degree temperature
and then the sample is ground, passed through a crusher,
and then through a tin mesh so that all the soil particles
are the same size or less so that will facilitate analysis.
At that point the sample is split off in two different directions.
One 10 gram sample is measured for water pH.
Which tells us essentially the pH of the soil,
which indicates how available or unavailable the plants may be
and also that analysis gives us an indication of whether we need lime or not.
And then 5 grams of that sample is measured off to do the elemental analysis
and that's phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium.
In the basic test and then if they're any other increments
that are ordered then we can also do that analysis with that 5 gram sample.
Then from that point the results are tallied,
they're stored in a data base and then we take
those soil test results along with the information
you provided on your information sheet.
So if you want recommendations for a garden or a warm season lawn
or if you're wanting 200 bushel per acre corn,
we'll provide lime and fertilizer recommendations
based on the soil test results and those recommendations
are formulated using the University of Tennessee row crop recommendations.
>>Carmen: And the main thing is quality control.
Making sure that your samples are -- you keep the integrity of them.
So that's kind of where we focus.
And Debbie has the degree in soil and so that's why
when you call you usually wind up talking to Debbie on the phone.
And she can help you interpret the numbers that I pull off of the instruments.
>>Debbie: Crop codes are used to give us an idea of what you're trying to grow.
Otherwise we don't know and we've got over 100 crop codes in our data base.
And each one, many of them are the same if you look at pounds of nutrient per acre.
But we've done the math for you.
So, say for example, you're growing squash, let's say summer squash.
We have that in a large, like a VC crop code,
but the recommendation you would be getting would be per acre.
And most home owners don't have an acre sized garden,
and then they would be calling us going -- how am I gonna' put 300 pounds
of this on my- how do I figure this out?
So essentially we've done the math for you.
And so if you choose the G crop code which is "garden",
it's for all those plants that are typically grown in a garden
in an increment that's easier to consume, it's in per 1000 square feet.
Now regarding your lawn, there is a little bit of difference
because lawns typically consume or require more nitrogen than we recommend for gardens.
And of course, that depends on the test results as well but as a general rule
a Bermuda grass lawn would be fertilized many times a year
typically two maybe three times in the fall and then
once or twice again in the spring.
We don't recommend an application like that for a garden.
We get the rap for not recommending very high amounts of fertilizer.
There are several reasons for that and a lot of it is cost.
But also environmentally, our recommendations are sustainable because they're very small.
I've had people call and say, "well you can't even see the fertilizer on the ground
when you apply it", and I said well that's the point.
You need it, but you only need very little so if we say
5 pounds per 1000 square feet, it doesn't mean 10 pounds is better.
It means don't go over 5 pounds. That's all you need.
And if you add more fertilizer than is recommended
then you stand the chance of contamination.
Also as these fertilizers, and especially potassium,
potassium is a salt, as you over fertilize or keep fertilizing
year after year with high rates of fertilizer you'll build up the salt volume
in your soil and salt is toxic to most plants.
So you'll end up with over fertilization problem.
And then there's nothing you can do about that. Just give it time.
I think it's good to plan.
That way if you are going to plant a garden,
say for example in a new place, or let's say you're wanting to establish blueberries.
Nine times out of ten, if you're growing blueberries
you're going to have to lower your soil pH.
You can't do that today and expect the pH to be lower a week from now.
It takes 6 or 8 months, or better, to get that pH down.
So my advice is to soil test now for your garden in the spring.
Is it wet? Yes, it's cold and the ground will be frozen before long.
But we can dry soils. And actually you can dry your own soil.
Not in an oven, but put it on a paper plate and lay it out on a countertop.
It'll dry by itself in a day or so.
A dry sample is cheaper to ship than a wet sample.
But yes, soil test far enough ahead of time,
not necessarily for us, but for you so that you can plan
and have all those things ready to go when it comes time to plant.
>>Chris: Okay when you get your results back, here's what it's gonna' look like.
So I guess we can get started Mr. D. with the pH.
>>Mike: Looks pretty good.
>>Chris: Looks go to me.
>>Mike: I'm impressed with the quality of the soil we have here.
The pH is 6.8, which is slightly acidic, just a little below 7.
And most vegetables and fruits like a pH in the 6.5 to 7 range.
So no lime is needed. >>Chris: No lime is needed.
>>Mike: It looks like we're high on phosphorus and very high with potassium.
And as long as we don't let it get any higher we're okay.
That basically means we do not have to add any phosphorus or potassium.
If you look over on the recommendations it says:
Limestone, lime is not recommended at this time.
Phosphorus and potassium levels are high and/or very high,
therefore additional application of these nutrients is not recommended.
So we don't want to use a complete fertilizer out there.
>>Chris: Something like triple 10 or triple 13.
>>Mike: We don't need anything that has the last 2 numbers.
So basically all that we need is 5 pounds of a nitrogen source like 34-0-0 or 27-0-0.
Or something that has about 30 percent nitrogen. 5 pounds per thousand square feet.
>>Chris: Now, we're not going to add that much are we?
>>Mike: We do not have 1000 square feet.
So, this is where algebra kicks in.
Kids, study your math, it's important that you understand algebra,
whether you're a farmer or not.
>>Chris: Let's go through a little bit of it though.
>>Mike: Okay, basically what I did since they're recommending
5 pounds of a nitrogen source per 1000 square feet,
I broke it down into an algebraic expression.
Five pounds per 1000 square feet is not a lot of fertilizer,
so I broke the 5 pounds down into ounces.
Five pounds times 16 ounces equals 80 ounces.
So 80 ounces per 1000 square feet, and we have 124 square feet.
And you just break it down to an algebraic expression,
and it comes out to 9.92 ounces for our spot.
Which is about 10 ounces for our raised beds.
>>Chris: So that'd be 10 ounces of the 34-0-0.
>>Mike: Ten ounces of the 34-0-0.
So, sometimes when you're using very small amounts like this
it's a better idea to mix it with water and spray it.
You start and try to put about half of it out going one way and half going the other way.
Do it 2 or 3 times and that way you get a much more even distribution.
The recommendations after the plants come up are that
you side-dress with nitrogen, because nitrogen will only give you
about 4 weeks if it's not a slow release form of nitrogen.
And these types are not generally slow release forms.
When vines of cucumbers, cantaloupe, pumpkins,
squash and watermelon are about a foot long.
Or when your tomatoes, peppers and eggplant fruit are about 1 inch or more in diameter.
And that's usually about 4 or 5 weeks after you've planted them.
When your sweet corn is about 12 to 18 inches tall, you'll go in and you'll side-dress.
>>Chris: What do we mean by side-dress?
Somebody's probably like "what's that?"
>>Mike: You will sprinkle a little bit of this same type
nitrogen fertilizer alongside the plant, or spray it.
And the recommendation is about one to one and a half pounds per 100 foot of row.
Now, I don't know if our rows are gonna' be long ways or cross ways, on our bed.
But we need to break this down to per foot of row.
And one and a half pounds per foot of row is about .24 ounces per foot.
But the main thing, the most important thing here that I see
is that you have very high levels of potassium and phosphorus.
And do not under any circumstances use a complete fertilizer
out here right now because if you increase, especially the phosphorus.
Phosphorus is very stable and it will stay out there a long time
and too many nutrients will interfere with the uptake of other nutrients.
>>Chris: Okay, well that's some good information Mr. D,
and if you need help with interpreting your results
you can call us at the extension office, we'll be more than happy to help.
Alright, here's our Q and A session,
the last one for the year, how about that. And these are always good.
We have a couple of letters here. Our first letter is
from Frank & Angela in Clifton, Tennessee,
they have questions about Imidacloprid.

Let's take that one first.
>>Mike: I would say absolutely. If you follow the label directions,
if you put the labeled amount of material out there.
And if you follow the post-harvest interval that is on there.
I've seen with Imidacloprid it range from 3 to 7 days depending upon the crop you have.
I know with blueberries, it's 3 days post-harvest interval,
with some of the other fruit it's 7 days.
But Imidacloprid is probably one of the most widely used insecticides.
It's been around since the early '90s and there's been a lot of research done on Imidacloprid.
It's been found to have extremely low toxicity where mammals is concerned.
And high toxicity where insects are concerned.
So I would not worry about that as long as you follow
the label directions on the amount that you use.
>>Chris: Which is why it's important to read the label.
>>Mike: And it's gonna be a lot more toxic,
I know a little later in the question they ask about neem oil
and some of the other materials, it's gonna' be a lot more effective
on these insects than some of these other more organic insecticides.
>>Chris: Well, let's get to it then, it says,
would this product cause the first 1/16 to 1/32 inch

And I don't think so.
>>Mike: No, this product wouldn't have anything to do with that.
I don't know what would cause that.
That sounds like, it could be an oil,
I don't know if an oil would have been mixed with that or
it almost sounds like frost injury or freeze injury.
>>Chris: That one's going to be hard to tell without
having a visual, but this product wouldn't do that.
And to go further, I used the product to combat the many types of ants
and a small one fourth inch flying bug with black spots.
Or, would a mixture of "neem oil" and hot pepper "cayenne" work better?
>>Mike: You know, I'm not sure if Imidacloprid is labeled
to control ants or those kind of insects,
I've seen Japanese beetles and things like that.
>>Chris: Wood boring insects.
>>Mike: So I would look at the type of insect you're trying
to control and make sure you target it with
the insecticide that's recommended for that.
I'm not familiar with these ants that she's talking about, flying ants.
>>Chris: Yeah, I'm not either; again we need a picture to make that distinction.
I hope that helps them out. Alright Mr. Frank and Mrs. Angela.
Here's our next question.
We have a letter from Ms. Chandler up in Cadiz, Kentucky.
and you say you know where that is.
She has several questions and the first one has to do with magnolia seeds.
She wanted a step-by-step means of getting them to grow into a tree.
But Ms. Suzie Askew was here to talk about that and we're going to
get Ms. Suzie to send her some information about
those step-by-step procedures to get her magnolia seeds
to grow into trees. And her next question was this.
She has 5 apple trees of different varieties from yellow,
striped red/yellow, solid red round apple to a Sweet 16 apple.
My neighbor knows man who knows how to graft buds to another tree.
I tried on my own from a magazine article I read,
but I'm not sure if will be successful.

>>Mike: I can.
And what I've done is I've gone to,
the University of Kentucky has an excellent publication
that you can go on the web and it will give you
some good ideas about budding.
This is not the time of year to bud.
Budding is done in the summertime when
the bark will slip on the plants.
I thought about bringing in some wood and trying to demonstrate
how to that, but we need to do that next year.
But the way that you do it is you select
about a pencil-sized branch from the plant that you desire.
And you cut off the very tip of it and cut it back so that
you've got a branch about 4 to 6 inches long.
Take the leaves off, but leave about a quarter of an inch
of the petiole at each of the buds.
And you select a bud from near the middle of that branch
because it should be the one that's most mature.
The ones out on the end are less mature and the ones back toward
the larger side of the stick is probably too mature.
But you make an inverted "T". A slice in the branch where
you want to put the bud, or the root stock.
You can put it on the branch of a big tree about that same size
or a little larger, or the root stock when you plant it
and you do an inverted "T" bud, which is,
you make a slit about an inch long and a half inch for the bottom
of the "T", it's gonna' be upside down.
And then you take your bud and make sure
it's pointed in the direction it was growing in.
>> Mike: The top's gotta be up.
You've selected the bud from the desired bud wood that you have.
And you just slide it up into that inverted "T" so that
it sits in there and you tape it with rubber grafting tape
or you can even use electricians tape and things like that.
Do several of them because you're gonna' lose a few.
>>Chris: Alright, thank you Mr. D.
Well, that's all we have time for today.
Since this is our final episode for this season,
I want to thank all our viewers for watching and sending us your questions.
We'll be back in February, in the meantime,
don't forget, your county extension agents are there
to answer your questions year-round so don't hesitate
to give them a call.

Thanks for joining us, I'm Chris Cooper and I'll see you next year.
I hope you'll have a safe and joyful holiday season and
a Happy New Year and be safe.