Valey Gardening: It starts with the soil

Well….Alamosa and the San Luis Valley were put on the national and international map this week! If you haven’t read or heard about the 2018 Ridler Award Winner in Detroit, you will. It’s such an amazing feat, accomplished by Johnny Lee Martin (son of Bertie Lou Smith and the late Babe (Pud) Martin) and a group of friends and family, and more friends and family to build this car, a 1957 Chevy that put the other cars to shame. I mean, this is the most prestigious and coveted car award in the whole entire country!! And they are bringing it home to Alamosa--Wow!

I’m not very knowledgeable on cars, so you will have to check out articles in the Courier at a later date. I can say that I am just so proud of this whole gang and what they accomplished. Seeing all the comments on Facebook, from around the world, helped me to understand how absolutely wonderful this win was not just for Johnny Lee Martin and the crew, but for Alamosa and the Valley as a whole. There are many facets to this story, I can hardly wait to read about it all!

Meanwhile….if you are thinking spring, try transplanting houseplants instead of starting your squash seedlings. In the past couple of months I had a number of plants given to me. They were in pretty poor shape. And planted in[1] marginal, marginal soil.

Whether you are transplanting houseplants or planning a garden, it all begins with the soil. It’s the crucial first step, the foundation. I’m not saying plants won’t grow in crappy soil, but when you put them in a good quality soil, they explode with new growth. And using a good quality soil won’t give you a bajillion flies/moisture gnats.

I understand budgets when it comes to building a garden. I recommend a Fox Farm Soil Conditioner for almost any garden spot. Beyond that it depends on your existing soil on how much you need to amend it. Stretching your budget and trying to do a huge area with just a little compost/conditioner, is going to leave you working harder than you want to, with poor results. The solution is to do a smaller area, but do it good, real good! Next year you can add another small area. It’s kind of a garden and learn as you go project.

If you have an alkaline soil, I recommend an Acidified Cotton Burr Compost to both give your typically sandy soil some texture, and it will also help break up the clay. The sulfur will help reverse the alkalinity. After you work on these problems, then add the FoxFarm for nutrient value. The Soil Conditioner has forest humus, bat guano, earthworm castings and lots of soil organisms that make your soil come alive!

Well….the Rickey Recycling Center is now open for more hours! And NO, it’s not because of anything I did. Spring hours begin on Sunday with Daylight Savings Time. I am, however, continuing in my push to get longer hours on Saturday and earlier hours on Sunday. Even from the other night when I went to the council meeting, I have gotten another 20 signatures, bringing me to 100. Maybe I will have to go door to door. Or maybe I just need to park at the center during the hours I (and 100 of you) would like to see open. Hm-m-m-m! Please come by and sign, if you are so inclined.

Thanks to my generous customers, and friends, I am sending the Sydney Carroll family $300. Sydney got out of the hospital yesterday (Friday). She is feeling much, much better after a pretty awful two weeks in the hospital. Peyton Sanchez is in Denver for his checkup at Denver Children’s Hospital. I think we will be working on a new “business” venture this spring—all Peyton’s idea. When I say we, I mean his family, me, and we’re probably going to rope a few volunteers in. It’s a pretty cool idea that this young man has come up with—does that make you curious?

In the meantime…we all still need to pray for a little, make that a lot, of snow. Could even be rain at this point in the season. It would just be heavenly if we had some ground moisture to go into the spring and summer!

Before I forget---get up to the Ski-Hi Facility in Monte Vista today or tomorrow and check out the Crane Festival. There’s always lots of great craft and art items, good food, owls and hawks to check out, etc.  It’s a really great show!