When I finally got an email back from the extension agency last year, it read:
“Your soil test indicates you need to apply 3 to 4 lb. Nitrogen/1000 sq. feet, 0 lb. phosphate/1000 sq. feet and 1 lb. potassium/1000 sq. feet to meet recommendations.”
But a little graph on the test showed the potassium level in my garden shooting past the “above optimum” range.
Why add potassium when there’s already so much? Contact the extension office. “Is this right? ADD potassium? See, I’ve always been anal about test numbers, even in school. It has to be a mistake, because the graph…”
“Not a mistake,” says the agent.
“Adding 1 lb. potassium is to ensure that the young plants have a readily available source of K, and that it’s maintained as plants grow, or as you harvest and then possibly replant a succession crop.”
I know I should have asked more questions, but the poor lady has to deal with more important issues than my fat potass problem. The sense I took away was that the ‘above optimum levels’ of potassium existing in my garden are somehow not available to the plants, therefore more is needed.
1/2 lb. of pulverized banana peel
So a while back, I got all loopy about drying banana peels. Well, they’re 42% potassium, free, natural, recycled, turned into compact, dry, storable powder by my own hands. No problem getting together that quantity by Spring. A perfect solution. The reason I’ve written so many boring banana peel posts lately.
And now you know…the rest of the story.
Wait, no you don’t. I forgot the message.
42% potassium means that about 2 1/2 lbs of dried banana peels would provide the right amount of potassium for my 1000 sq. ft.
2 1/2 pounds is like half a bag of sugar. I went into the garden and pictured broadcasting half a bag of sugar over it. Seriously? That would be a minuscule amount of matter. Not even a dusting.
That’s the learning moment.
It takes so little to put things right sometimes.
Half a sugar bag, when I’m accustomed to adding half a trailer load of stuff…leaves, manure, compost, grass clippings, to the garden.
Just like in school, I need to pay attention. Eyes and ears on the teacher at all times, lest that one essential fact slip past while I’m drawing pictures on the back of the seat in front of me. In gardening there are lots and lots of those essential facts. The closer attention you pay, the quicker you graduate.