Taking an inventory of the garden

By Gregg Eyestone

My daughter asked me what I would want for a gift. As a gardener, my mind first went with something for the garden. There are a lot of wants in that arena. Perhaps I could narrow it down to my needs. This is a good time to take inventory in case others might ask.

Nitrogen fertilizer is something needed by plants. My soil tests indicate that it is the only element to apply. My lawn and vegetable garden gets urea fertilizer.

Ammonium sulfate is used in my glyphosate spray and for plants. My slow release nitrogen is Nitroform(r) which is applied for annual flowers. Blood meal is a good organic nitrogen fertilizer that I use from time to time.

Most of these fertilizers are on the acid side. This is good for my alkaline soil. These fertilizers are not acidic enough at times and sulphur is required. The blueberries can benefit with a top dressing of sulphur here in the late fall. My supply is getting low.

Perlite is usually added to any soilless potting mix I purchase. It helps provide air in the potting mix for my containers. This siliceous rock is heated to over 1600 degrees where it ‘pops’ like popcorn even turning it white.

Vermiculite is similar to perlite. It is graded into different particle size that perlite isn’t.

I use the medium grade to start tiny flower seeds like petunia and others. The larger size can be used like perlite in potting mixes.

It seems like I’m always in need of a working rain gauge. I got by without one this year. I’m hoping it will be a necessity in 2013.

The remote rain gauge that we have has never worked for me. We have a free rain gauge for you at the office if you would like to stop in.

Any of these items would make a good gift for me. Just in case, maybe I should add a pair of slippers or gloves to the list. That would be mud slippers and garden gloves.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at

You can contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension at 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan, by calling 785-537-6350 or e-mail:

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