Applying to many additives to soil

Asked December 10, 2015, 7:10 PM EST

There are many variables to my growing situation. So I am just seeking a general answer. I am planting my garden on the edge of the forest. Up in our untouched mountains where the soil looks and feels amazing. Furthermore, there are many composted logs I am willing to break open for endless black organic matter. I would like to give the garden the best start as possible so I am willing to do many things but am unsure if doing too many things would not be good for the soils health. #1 I would like to apply my (not ready) compost to the top of the ground as it sits before winter (fresh chicken/horse dung mixed heavily into leafs from this fall), in hopes it will be ready and the nitrogen will mellow out over winter before planting after last frost. #2 I would like to apply molasses and raw milk to the soil to prep it. I am unsure how much and when to do this exactly... #3 I heard that using charcoal soaked in healthy human urine over-night, and then topped dressed on the garden is very good for the bacteria to culture the soil. #4 Applying some lime to move the soil towards alkaline. #5 (Unsure if needed); I researched the benefits of using straw cultivated mycelium from fungus that penetrates the plants roots feeding it in exchange for it's sugars and such. Would I need to do this being that this IS in the forest? The article stated that this certain type of fungus only survives and lives off alive roots. I am not sure how prevalent this fungus is and how fast it naturally would be able to spread to my garden in the first season. #6 How much of this black log humus/matter should I mix in or throw on top of the existing soil. Or maybe I should rather ask how should I lay or mix in everything properly. Respectfully, Thomas and Family

Washington County Maryland

1 Response

1. Yes, you can add your organics/compost now and it should be decomposed and ready to go by spring planting time.

2. You do not need to add molasses or raw milk. This is not necessary and we do not have research that would give you specific amounts anyway.

3. Same as #2.

4. You need to know what the current pH of the soil is before you add lime. You can work in lime any time the soil is not frozen. The sooner the better because it changes pH slowly. In order to establish the pH, you'll need to send in a soil sample to a soil testing laboratory. Please click on "soil testing" on the right side of our homepage. The video shows how to get the sample. The list of pubs will tell you what to test and give you labs where you can send the sample.

5. You do not need to add beneficial soil fungus (mycorrhizea) if you are adding a lot of other organic amendments. It will grow just fine there.

6. In your soil test results, they will tell you the percentage of organic matter. 5% is terrific. You will not know this percentage accurately until the organic matter you're adding now has had time to decompose. So, you might want to hold off on the decayed logs for now. You can add several inches more of organic matter each fall.

Please check out the Grow It Eat It section on our website. It is full of info on how to start a vegetable garden. From our homepage, click on Grow It Eat It > Vegetables.