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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Soil Preparation for New Plantings

In the photo above a three year old orchard is shown on the left and, the same orchard at four years of age.  The available literature regarding soil preparation varies in it's recommendations.  This seems due to the emergent nature of Seaberry as a commercial crop. 
Some items are consistent:
  • Sea buckthorn is adapted to a wide variety of soils, and will grow on marginal land including sandy, gravely soils with poor nutrient and water retention capacities. Sea buckthorn thrives on well drained, light to medium sandy loam.
  • Has a moderate tolerance for saline soils
  • A soil pH between 6-7 is optimum
Some journal articles advise, not surprisingly, the careful preparation of the soil the year before planting  is time and effort well spent.  The removal of weeds, double-tilling, and a cover crop sown/grown/and tilled into the beds to increase organic matter cannot be discounted as sage advice.  I do question the use the herbicides and deep tilling practices as healthy for the earth and the intended beneficiaries of the crop.

Another method, to which I subscribe, is:
  • Surface removal, either by hand, mechanical, or burning techinques of competing plants
  • inter row planting of mint and wormwood to discourage rodent damage, provide habitat for snakes, bees, other beneficial insects, and hummingbirds.
  • root dip at planting (see fig 2.) of a mycorrhizal root dip gel
fig. 2 - right dipped in mycorrhizal gel

  This alternate method should ensure a solid start to the plantings and reduce future labor and crop loss.

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