Bed is a happy place, when you get it just right it verges on magic.
That’s what was happening today – preparing for magic. Checking the pH of the beds to make sure they’re in the optimum range of pH6 – pH7.5 means the nutrient buffet is open and ready to be feasted upon. If you start sliding up or down the scale (acid or alkaline, it makes life a whole lot trickier. All of a sudden the menu is very limited and even more nutrients are locked up because the magic key to their availability lies with their compadres – the nutrients no longer available because the soil is too acid or alkaline. Growth is possible, but the results may be pretty ordinary.These shallots weren’t reaching their potential, whereas a friend has grown the most incredible looking shallots planted around the same time. So – where to find the problem? Moisture in good supply-check. Sunshine – check. It’s a young bed so a fair bit of food is in the soil. Pull out the trusty pH kit (available at produce stores and many hardware shops). A quick test (no fancy technology or batteries required) and ta-da !!! Problem recognized. Kinda like the princess and the pea. One little problem and it can ruin a great bed. So we transplanted this batch of shallots and so far, they’re happy (- maybe it’s still the transplant shock.)
Moral of the story – a little bit of homework will save you weeks of waiting. Be observant. Get your hands in the soil. Take records of what you find and grow.