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Alice

Gallery of good food 150 150 Alice

Gallery of good food

Good morning!  It’s another beautiful summer day at Rancho Reinheimer, a little bit crisp with an intense sun rising.  The garden is in full harvest season now, with boxes of tomatoes to put up for winter, cukes on the vine, plums on the trees, zukes out of control, beans and onions flourishing, peppers coming on.  Whew!  So why not start a regular blog today?

Even so, there are a few disasters.  Deer ate the strawberry plants right down to the ground.  Once again I didn’t thin the plums enough to avoid limb breakage.  There has been an irrigation leak of giant proportions in the tomatoes which means that the entire upper garden has not been getting irrigated for who knows how long.  It’s a good thing it’s been a cool summer.

We had a group of new friends over the other day.  Tomatoes and plums and apricots were served.  Some folks ate like they were starving, which they were.  If you don’t get access to mineralized food, your body lets you know in no uncertain terms when it becomes available.  Tomato juice was dripping.  Plums were sucked down.  Smiles and seeds spread.

This is where I could start a rant on the evils of the standard American diet (sad!), but rather than bore you with that, I’ll show you some pictures instead. The garden veggies are all pretty healthy and taste great.  Hopefully these pictures will help to convey how well grown this food is.  All of this is grown on our shallow class 7 soil, loamy sand, on the side of a hill, irrigated with hard, chlorinated city water.

Irrigation water quality 150 150 Alice

Irrigation water quality

If you have to irrigate it pays to understand what is in your water.  Unless you are using rain water, chances are you have a host of soluble minerals and compounds you are delivering along with the needed moisture.  In some cases these dissolved minerals can cause a host of problems for your soil and plants.

Even if you are using municipal water, but especially if you are on a well, it pays to get a water test.  Logan Labs offers a standard water test and an extended test for irrigation water suitability.

As with all tests, the real question is how to interpret them.  We have gone through the water test terminology in detail and have written an explanation of how to interpret a water test report.

Some ground water is high in sodium with respect to calcium and magnesium and can cause problems with soil structure in expansive clay soils especially.  The sodium causes the clay particles to separate and clog the pore structure of the soil, creating crusting and hard soils.

High amounts of dissolved minerals or “salts” as they are referred to (“salts” are not just sodium and chloride) can limit the growth and germination rate of certain plants.

Water can deliver substantial amounts of necessary elements like calcium and magnesium as well.

Of particular interest is the level of bicarbonates and carbonates in the water.  These can interfere with the availability of nutrients to the plant and can even block utilization of iron in the plant.  Bicarbonates in conjunction with calcium will create deposits of calcium carbonate, lime, and plug drip emitters. It can leave a white residue on fruits and veggies that consumers may think is pesticide residue.