April 2009 
In This Issue
April Garden Tasks
Exercise and Died for your Soil
Quick Links
Greetings!It’s been a wild Spring here in Colorado.  The latest storm dumped over 3 foot of snow.  We lost power for a few days and worked hard to dig and plow ourselves out.  This newsletter is late partly because our internet is still down.

The greenhouses and plant protectors held up well.  We eat our own greens and salads every day.  A fresh batch of transplants, including tomatoes are nearly ready to put in the ground.  I just have to wait until the snow melts in the 70F sunshine!  If your garden is ready, check out this month’s article Exercise and Diet for your Soil.  It will help make sure you get the best harvest possible. From the beginning, Organic Bountea has embraced a vision of helping people get the most from their soil.  We support a number of local Green projects and these are now extending overseas.  John, while still living in Ireland, is helping farmers in the Philippines use a modified Bountea Growing System.  With just a little Bountea, bok choi transplants were ready for market in just 18 instead of 40 days.  Trials on rice cultivation are in process and already looking good.I am excited to be involved with an international charitable project in Kalimantan Indonesia called Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM — Foundation for Noble Work).  We are working to adjust the Bountea system to use local resources and simple technology within organic small-scale farming methods.  I believe this pilot project will give rise to many different ways to support farmers in developing countries and can potentially revolutionize crop production. More information will soon be up on the website for those who want to support our Green projects.We are set to launch our new recyclable cardboard boxes packaging.  I think you will enjoy the brighter fresher look with John and lots of gorgeous vegetables on the label.  Ask your local gardening or hydroponic store to carry them so you do not have to pay shipping!

Roland Evans
Organic Bountea
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April Garden Tasks
(April 15th — May 15th)
Seeds outdoors: Now is the time to plant any of the cold weather varieties you did not get around to in March – salad mixes, chard, beets, Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, collards, kale, caulis, etc), even fava beans.  Don’t forget to plant radishes where ever you have left over space.

Plant peas and pod peas when the soil warms a little – sprout them first so you get fewer misses.
Seeds indoors: If you did not start your tomatoes yet, they will be a little late.  Think about buying transplants.
Start your warm weather veggies — cucumbers, melons, gourds, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash.  If your soil warms quickly, wait a little and plant outdoors as they often grow as quickly when directly seeded in the garden
Start your tender annuals flowers like nasturtiumVegetable transplants: Time to put out your Brassica transplants: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. Keep starting seeds and transplanting into space as it becomes available.

Pest control: place floating row cover immediately over plants of cabbage family. Also, putting out larger transplants will mitigate flea beetle damage.Roots: Buy mature asparagus plants and put them in a well dug perennial bed.
Potatoes like fresh fairly rich soil that is slightly acid.  Put them in a trench and mound up as they grow.

Ornamentals: move volunteer perennials seedlings, cut back late summer blooming shrubs like buddleia and blue mist spirea, Russian sage, harden off shrubs and perennials purchased as container plants, prune winter kill from roses, prune lilacs by harvesting blooms and cut out dead stalks


Bountea Compost Tea:
  You should be ready for your second batch of the Bountea.  Keep it simply with just the Humisoil and Bio-activator.  If you are looking for fast leafy growth, add the M3 as instructed.  Dilute 10 – 1 and apply to the leaves of all your seedlings as well as the soil.
Tip: Signup for reminders and special advice on when and how to apply Bountea Compost Tea.  Click on Update Profile/Email Address at the bottom of this page.
Exercise and Diet for your Soil

In last month’s column I suggested some simple methods to get a feel for your soil and its needs.  Hopefully you have a better sense of your soil’s composition: humus, minerals, water, air and soil life.  The next step is to develop an individualized health program consisting of exercise and diet.  You exercise your soil through different methods of cultivation.  You feed your soil using the necessary minerals, amendments and inputs to support or restore its optimum health.As with all health programs, moderation is key.  More recent ideas on organic cultivation tend toward minimal disturbance of the soil.  Constant churning of the topsoil breaks up delicate fungal networks; the living soil web has to rearrange itself after each disturbance.  Often an initial deep cultivation is required to get rid of weeds and loosen compacted soil.  After that, shallow tilling, crop rotation, organic mulches, green manures and layering with compost may be all that is required.In general, nothing should be added to the soil that could be toxic or over-balancing.  Too much chemical nitrogen (N) and phosphate (P) will severely damage soil life.  Even adding quantities of natural materials such as wood ash can cause detrimental effects.  A good question is: what is the least I need to do to achieve my desired result.  

Below are some suggestions on how to work with different types of soil.  Remember, your own soil may not fall conveniently into either sand or clay, so adapt the advise according to your specific situation.

If you are familiar with sand, as I am, you know it is weak and hungry. Table 1 shows it to be deficient in humus, water, minerals and soil life.  Sand has to bulk up; it needs strengthening and feeding.  Too much exercise in the way of digging or working the soil allows the water and nutrients to simply pass through (I dig only the top 5″ of soil).  Without humus to hold the soil life and water, plant roots are starved.

When there is enough added humus, the soil life has a place to live and thrive.  Then is a good time to add microbial life using compost tea and other microbial inoculants.  The ecology of microbes, single-celled organisms and worms produce organic glue to bind the sandy particles together and retain moisture.  Sand is hungry so it needs added minerals to provide major and minor nutrients.  Gradually as sand turns to sandy loam, the soil ecology becomes more resilient and less needy.

Unlike sand, clay is challenging, stodgy and heavy…

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Care for your Plants — Care for your Soil — Care for the Earth
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Organic Bountea
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