Archive for April, 2014

Millennials and the American City

Written by Stockton Hardware Store on April 28th, 2014. Posted in News

Michael Tubbs, a 23-year-old councilmember in Stockton, California, and the star of the documentary True Son,? says that now is the time for young people to engineer social change.

Millennials and the American City

Written by Stockton Hardware Store on April 19th, 2014. Posted in News

Michael Tubbs, a 23-year-old councilmember in Stockton, California, and the star of the documentary True Son,? says that now is the time for young people to engineer social change.

The Straight Poop on Manure – Stockton, Ca

Written by Bill Stoermer on April 15th, 2014. Posted in Blog

Manure is a by-product of the live-stock industry. Manure is organic matter used as fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Manure replenishes the soil with essential elements and adds humus to the soil.
Although there is a lot of variation among animals and feed, in general about three fourths of the nitrogen, four fifths of the phosphorus, nine tenths of the potassium, and one half of the organic matter is recovered in the voided excrement (poop). Depending upon how quickly the poop is collected, treated and bagged, only about one third to one half of the nutrient value of manure is actually realized in your garden. Nutrient value is lost to volatization (drying) and leaching (rain water/irrigation).

All manures all sold with a value for the three primary ingredients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Manure must be considered primarily as a nitrogen fertilizer and, to a lesser extent, one of potassium. Modern manure is now treated before sale to the consumer to minimize introduction of unwanted by-products the animal may have chomped on in the barn yard. Treatment includes drying the product out to minimize water content and adding beneficial ingredients to increase its effectiveness.

Nitrogen allows plants to produce the proteins needed to build living tissue for green stems, strong roots and lots of leaves.

Phosphorus helps move energy throughout the plant.

Potassium aids plants in adapting sugars needed in growth and is especially helpful in root crops.

As a rule, chicken manure has a much higher nutrient rating than cow manure. Because it absorbs quickly, it is used primarily on “short term plants” such as your seasonals/annuals. Because cow manure takes a much longer time to absorb and break down, it is excellent on “long term plants such as trees, shrubs, and perennials.

Manure is used a rich soil amendment that can also be used as a soil conditioner or clay breaker. It is frequently used as a top dressing to help protect roots and soil from temperature damage.

Manure is suitable for all flowers, veggies, plants and trees.

Because of its generally safe nature, manure is safe to use in unlimited quantities for soil fertility, soil conditioning and breaking up clay soil ( real problem here in Stockton).

Cautions: Because of its higher nutrient content, chicken manure may burn more sensitive plants, vegetables and root crops (roses, grapes).
Up to 50% of the nutrient value of fertilizer can be lost to volatization and leaching so it is a good practice to till it into the soil on the same day as application. (If it is being used as a top dressing for root protection, there is no need to mix it in.)

In Stockton, California? Learn more about fertilizing your garden at Fremont Plaza Ace Hardware.

stockton ca manure spreader

Everything You Wanted To Know About Dirt – Stockton, Ca

Written by Bill Stoermer on April 15th, 2014. Posted in Blog

A soil amendment is any material added to a soil to improve its physical properties, such as water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration and structure. The goal is to provide a better environment for plant roots.

To do its work, an amendment must be thoroughly mixed into the soil. If it is merely buried, its effectiveness is reduced, and it will interfere with water and air movement and root growth.

Amending a soil is not the same thing as mulching, although many mulches also are used as amendments. A mulch is left on the soil surface. Its purpose is to reduce evaporation and runoff, inhibit weed growth, and create an attractive appearance. Mulches also moderate soil temperature. Organic mulches may be incorporated into the soil as amendments after they have decomposed to the point that they no longer serve their purpose. Cheap, inexpensive mulches breakdown faster, fade in the sun and are usually made from cheaper products.

Quick Facts

In clay soils, soil amendments improve the soil aggregation, increase porosity and permeability, and improve aeration, drainage, and rooting depth.

In sandy soils, soil amendments increase the water and nutrient holding capacity.

Permeability – The ability of soil for fluids to flow through.

Infiltration – the process by which water on the surface enters the soil.

Aeration – the process by which air is circulated through soil.

Organic vs. Inorganic Amendments

There are two broad categories of soil amendments: organic and inorganic. Organic amendments come from something was ALIVE. Inorganic amendments are either mined or man-made. Organic amendments include sphagnum peat, wood chips, grass clippings, straw, compost, manure, biosolids, sawdust and wood ash. Inorganic amendments include vermiculite, perlite, tire chunks, pea gravel and sand.

Organic amendments increase soil organic matter content and offer many benefits. Over time, organic matter improves soil aeration, water infiltration, and both water and nutrient holding capacity. Many organic amendments contain plant nutrients and act as organic fertilizers. Organic matter is an important source for bacteria, fungi and earthworms that live in the soil.

Wood Products

Wood products tie up nitrogen in the soil and cause nitrogen deficiency in plants. Microorganisms in the soil use nitrogen to break down the wood. Over several months to years, as microorganisms complete the rapid decomposition process, the nitrogen is released and again becomes available to plants. This hazard is greatest with sawdust, because it has a greater surface area than wood chips.

Compost wood products before using them as soil amendments or allow Ace Hardware to provide you with products already composted! Do not use uncomposted wood products or sawdust as a soil amendment; it is slow to break down, ties up nitrogen, interferes with seedbed preparation, and interferes with soil and water movement through the soil profile.

Manure

Fresh manure can harm plants due to elevated ammonia levels. To avoid this problem, use only aged or composted manure.

Human pathogens, including E coli, are another potential problem with fresh manure, especially on vegetable gardens. Aged manure refers to manure that has been piled for at least six months. Excessive ammonia will have escaped; however salt levels may be higher as the salts concentrate in the decomposing material, or may leach out with high rainfall. Weeds will still be viable.

Commercially composted manure has been through multiple active heating cycles and turned mechanically in between. Heated above 145 degrees F, it will kill pathogens and weed seeds. In composted manure, the organic matter is stabilized (through the rapid decomposition process) making it an ideal soil amendment.

In Stockton, California? Learn more at Fremont Plaza Ace Hardware.