Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Pastures, pears, tomatoes and badgers


No treatment, the control. Design-of-Experiment post here

Granulated dolomite (i.e. lime) at 50 lb per thousand square feet which should raise the pH of the surface soil.

6-24-24 at 25 lb per thousand square feet

Combined 50 lb lime and 25 lb 6-24-24

This is not a perfect set of images. The "lime" only treatment has an overlayer of very mature grass. However, the greener parts were also almost devoid of clover. Percent of clover in the sward is my quality metric. Less than 10% is disappointing, 25%-to-35% is grand.

It looks like there was zero response to the lime. Also worth noting was that the response of the 6-24-24 and the 6-24-24 + lime were very similar.

The last two numbers in 6-24-24 stand for phosphorous and potash (potassium). There are two pieces of evidence that suggest that potash is my limiting factor. Lime increases phosphorous availability and the total non-response to lime suggests that phosphorous is not likely to be the issue.

The other piece of evidence is that potash is historically a limiting factor for clover/alfalfa in my part of Michigan. That is not necessarily true in other parts of the country. Richard Leep, for instance, contends that phosphorous is the limiting factor in the part of Nebraska he grew up in.

So I tagged along with the ever-beautiful Mrs ERJ when she went to Charlotte to have "her hair done". While the ladies inside were working a miracle (that is, making her even MORE beautiful) I went to the elevator and bought fifty pounds of 0-0-60. Once I got home I spread it over about a third of an acre.

Aside: While looking on the internet for application rates for potash, I ran across one article that suggests that forage yield is very insensitive to potash levels. Even if the levels stayed constant in the short-term, the fact that it (might) boost clover levels is enough reason for me to try adding potash to areas that are deficient in clover.


Stupice tomato seeds were planted March 22. Mass seeding tray in upper left. Dissection plate upper right. Seedling tray foreground. Believe it or not, there are 48 tomato seedlings in that tray.

The grow-chamber beneath my work bench. I have 6600 lumens of 4000K lighting in five square feet.  I would have preferred 5000K but the light was a gift. I don't know how quickly the tomatoes will grow. It is in the basement and temperatures are cool.

Cutting my losses

I cut a couple more pear trees out of one of the orchards. The trees I cut down were Potomac on standard rootstock. The combination was too vigorous to stay on-top-of with pruning. I will try again with Potomac grafted on quince.

Incidentally, even "dwarf" trees require pruning to keep their height at a manageable level. They might only require a significant reduction in height every five-or-ten years but they still require attention. A standard tree, on the other hand, would require annual hair cuts to keep it below ten feet of height and the water suckers would make picking the fruit a chore.

Don't be that dickhead

One of my nieces passed away at the age of 22. It has been about ten years. She favored the color pink.

I saw this clump of pink violets in my yard and offered them to my sister. She graciously accepted.

The reason I bring this up is because it is impossible to know what burdens people are carrying through their lives. Common courtesy evolved as a way to minimize the chances of stepping on an emotional landmine.

I stopped patronizing a local store because the manager is a dickhead. Every time she saw me going through the checkout line she would badger me to sign up for their "Preferred Customer Card". Needless to say, the checkout person would stop checking me out because the manager is their boss.

I always say "No", then "No" again. Rather than say it a third time, I leave the cart filled with merchandise and walk out. There are lots of places to buy what they sell.

I assume she gets some kind of bonus for the number of customers she gets signed up.

But I am unable to relate to you, my readers, how angry I get when I say "No" and it bounces off of somebody.

As a man, I had it drilled into me that "No" means "No" and nothing else. It is over. No discussion.

Apparently, this woman sees it as an invitation to argue or a chance to exercise her dominance.

And then today, I got an email from that retail chain asking why I stopped shopping there. I told them pretty much what I wrote down here. It does highlight the fact that there is no privacy when you use a credit card. They knew it was me even though I did not have their credit card.


  1. As for that store Good for You. They need to be told not to act like that. How did they get your email address from your use of the credit card? As for the lime not showing effect I would suggest that you check the ph a couple of inches down. It probably hasn't changed. It takes a while, sometimes a couple of years, to make much difference. Also I've noticed that most pasture grasses don't seem to be effected [or is it affected?] by ph. I spread wood ash from my outside wood burning furnace on my yard and I can really see where I've missed a spot.---ken

    1. I was buying something in the store and Mrs ERJ was with me. We were going through the checkout line when the cashier very nicely asked if we wanted to join their "club". Mrs ERJ said "Yes".

      I don't use the "club" because it adds at least a minute to the transaction and it has never saved me a penny. I see absolutely no upside.

      Life is messy.

  2. Interesting find on the lime. Re being a dick, they DO come in both genders. And I'm like you, push me, I go somewhere else where I'm appreciated. I just drove 200 miles to buy some camera equipment rather than give it to the local dickhead.

  3. I think every store has those customer loyalty cards now. My local supermarket has one and it saves several dollars every time I shop there, plus I also get points for gas discounts. At a nickel a gallon for every 100 bucks in groceries, sometimes I have saved as much as 16 dollars on a 20 gallon fill-up.

    The CVS also has them, but the discounts come on the receipt with promotions on various products, as well as a few bucks off your next purchase.

    The only pain in the neck is initially filling out the application and I always give a bogus phone number so I don't worry about privacy.

    The thing I don't like is when you go to the trouble of getting the loyalty card, then they tell you you have to have their app on your phone to use it.

  4. I'm hoping cooler temperatures will help in slowing down growth and make my tomato plants more stocky, less leggy. I tried using a fan last year under my grow lights as well. So far mixed results. Not yet sure if amount of light was the determining factor. Still getting the hang of my new pot grower's LED light.
    Always learning.

    1. Is there a way you can add blue LEDS or light content? Do a search on "internode length blue light" and most of the research suggests that in a mix of lighting, increasing the amount of blue reduces internode length.

    2. I use florescent light bulbs, but I keep them about 1" or so above the leaves. They do not get spindly they grow nicely , not "leggy.

    3. Thanks, My new Feit Electric LED light says "Full Spectrum with Blue spectrum enriched -- emits more light in the useful 449nm blue spectrum..." So I'll keep my tomatoes under that light rather than my old full spectrum fluorescent tubes.

      Thanks Clab, one inch from fluorescents is important. I'm also starting to use reflectors at the sides. But then I must watch out for heat build up and leave room for venting.

  5. Have you thought about a soil test. Usually lime takes a while to show an affect. The wood ashes mentioned also provide potassium! I found out when my potatoes started getting scabby that wood ash on my ground was a big mistake as when I had it tested our already too high(7.3) went to 7.5. Soil lab recommended applying sulphuric which helped. This is the only place I have lived that had a natural ph above 7. As far as the clover is concerned the lime might show more effect over time as clover seed in the soil germinates.

    1. My problem with soil tests is that the nutrient pattern is a patchwork quilt depending on how recently a cow pooped or pee-ed on it.

      I agree about the lime taking time to impact pH more than half an inch below the surface. However, it should make a fairly quick difference on clover seedling failure-to-thrive issues since clover seedlings have very shallow roots.

      Lime is cheap. I may throw some down on the area I fertilized with potash as insurance.


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