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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
dont forget the most important..add lime to the soil, do a quick soil test to see what it needs, but lime sweetens the soil and keeps weeds away by letting what you plant thrive..
 

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in my part of the world the lime is already in the soil. Lots of it, it's alkaline here. I bought a soil test at Lowes a couple of years ago, was interesting
 

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There are lots of plants suitable for hot dry climates, I know, I just researched many for a talk I gave at our bee club on gardening for bees, and realised what just wouldn't do well in out perpetually wet clay soils. If you do get winter rains, take the opportunity to incorporate any organic matter you can sub surface. Otherwise, plant things appropriate for your climate and soils- it's unneccesary work created otherwise, even if its succulents and cacti to hold soil together. I used to live in a desert climate but am spoilt now in the mountains. Good luck droughts are no fun.
I can't eat succulents. neither can the bees. Water bill is high this year but fruit trees are alive, wildflowers and other flowers alive. Mesquite trees are most of my honey crop some years, if mesquite blooms twice in the spring. This is not supposed to be a desert, it's just becoming one. Climate change.
 

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I can't eat succulents. neither can the bees. Water bill is high this year but fruit trees are alive, wildflowers and other flowers alive. Mesquite trees are most of my honey crop some years, if mesquite blooms twice in the spring. This is not supposed to be a desert, it's just becoming one. Climate change.
damn. yes desertification is increasingly prob world over- and has been happening the last 40 years. look at work of Alan Savory and etc. places that were originally grasslands ( I'm sorry, I know nothing about where you live, but I do know US used to have buffalo). Grasslands need to be stampeded through, with a tonne of hooves and crap, then rested for the next 360 days. Demonstrated in a few climates and a few countries. This 'intensive rotational grazing' has been successively been tried with good success reversing erosion and desertification. They tried adding organic matter and all sorts but it was the stampede, crap, rest that is the model for grassland soils. I'm going to it domestic scale with chickens, this summer (rotation model chook house is coming along nicely ). I don't know if this is at all relevant or helps you but all food for thought. I think we're coming out of 12 wet years into 12 drought years here, i hope I'm wrong. I have a few succulents here that the bees very much like when they flower...I hope it rains for you.
 

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I got a little rain last night - half an inch, didn't have to water any plants this morning. I do have white yucca and red yucca and bees do like those, but they don't think too much of my big box store variety succulents with no flowers
 

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I just tried one of those soil testers from ACE Hardware and found my garden soil to be about 6.2-6.5 Ph.
Still waiting on a good rain here in NE Ohio where I am because the pond is still going down. It's down about two foot. Not good for fish or bees. I left the honey on the hives just for the bees so they can get through this dearth and hoping I did the right thing. Some have to much and some don't have enough so I robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.
Now I am sitting at this pooter and learning about raising Leafcutter bees and Mason bees. Looks like Leafcutters are less work and probably better for gardens while Masons are good for trees with fruits and nuts.
 

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I planted wildflowers for my honeybees and the masons and leaf cutters just showed up here, saw a mason bee on gaura in my front yard this morning. I have a mason bee house but the predatory wasps seem to get most of the larva. Very discouraged with that. It sounds like your soil needs sweetening with lime. Mine is alkaline.
 

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I just tried one of those soil testers from ACE Hardware and found my garden soil to be about 6.2-6.5 Ph.
Still waiting on a good rain here in NE Ohio where I am because the pond is still going down. It's down about two foot. Not good for fish or bees. I left the honey on the hives just for the bees so they can get through this dearth and hoping I did the right thing. Some have to much and some don't have enough so I robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.
Now I am sitting at this pooter and learning about raising Leafcutter bees and Mason bees. Looks like Leafcutters are less work and probably better for gardens while Masons are good for trees with fruits and nuts.
pH 6.2 is pushing the friendship but 6.5 is okay- most plants like the 6.5- 7 range, not the 7-7.5 range. If you're also low on magnesium use dolomite instead of CaCO3 (lime). If you need potassium can use woodash. I alternate in my garden and put dolomite down in winter to wash through soil profile hopefully and wood ash in spring and sprummer for fruit filling and check pH every year
 

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I got a little rain last night - half an inch, didn't have to water any plants this morning. I do have white yucca and red yucca and bees do like those, but they don't think too much of my big box store variety succulents with no flowers
I feel for you! Although it's so wet here that trees decide to put energy into vegetative growth not flowers. little bee food this coming season..bugger all last season same reason.... ah well. win some lose some. We used to live in Perth on south west coast of Australia and got usually 600 mm rain/ year in 3 rain events. Big dry sandpit. I remember. moved back to wetter east coast. yep i feel sorry for you
 

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pH 6.2 is pushing the friendship but 6.5 is okay- most plants like the 6.5- 7 range, not the 7-7.5 range. If you're also low on magnesium use dolomite instead of CaCO3 (lime). If you need potassium can use woodash. I alternate in my garden and put dolomite down in winter to wash through soil profile hopefully and wood ash in spring and sprummer for fruit filling and check pH every year
I'll take a soil sample into my farm extension center and have it tested to see what I need, magnesium or potassium.
Thank you.
 
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I have so much potassium I send my wood ash to the landfill. most of it anyway, thinking about some for soap making - soft soap. It finally rained here, I think 8 inches in 24 hours, going out to be sure my french drain is opening properly at the street. back yard is flooded, ponds overflowing
 

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8 inches of rain ? My sump pump would be straining itself but we could sure use it. We just had a storm pass through. We got a whopping 1/4 inch.
 

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I'd had half an inch the last 6 months except for last week. So the ground was pretty dry, I did get about an inch a couple of days ago at the leading edge of this system. It failed to soften most of the ground in my yard but I did get to skip watering one morning, and it probably helped the absorption. That and my sump having come unplugged, soaked in all night. I got it hooked up before the water got under my foundation again. Fall honey will happen, now that it rained and ragweed will be the main pollen in it.
 

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in my part of the world the lime is already in the soil. Lots of it, it's alkaline here. I bought a soil test at Lowes a couple of years ago, was interesting
Calcium is the trucker of minerals. I don't know that this is helpful, but it was interesting. I have great faith in the buffering power of humic acid. Humic acid is the organic acid you see when organic matter gets turned into stable carbon and turns soil black. Years ago, I was renting and had all these fruit trees in very large pots. One was looking very sad so I took a pH test, and it was WAAAAy too alkaline. So I drenched it in humic acid ( which can also be bought off the shelf) and hey presto, pH fixed, and tree started looking up almost immediately ( and now gives lovely grapefruit). Of course much easier in a pot than well, the earth- where does it end? No, I'm more prgamatic on larger scale, in my acid soil I top dress with dolomite and trace minerals and sea weed, then keep it mulched with woody cellulose material, and then my trees are on their own. Red clay soil does turn red black under mulch. Also do compost tea/ mineral/ other sprays. I regularly spread ash and lime/ dolomite in a random way over all the property- it's all upgrading the calcium content of the grass and forbs my chooks eat, and the amount of apples i've got will like it very much. Calcium moves very slowly through the soil profile but helpfully we get big worms here ( fat as my fingers and 30cm + cm long). Although I have humic acided my orchard once on drip irrigation. In your climate I'd keep ground mulched and incorporate as much organic matter as you can subsurface- especially taking advantage of wet periods. I'm glad you got rain
 

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Calcium is the trucker of minerals. I don't know that this is helpful, but it was interesting. I have great faith in the buffering power of humic acid. Humic acid is the organic acid you see when organic matter gets turned into stable carbon and turns soil black. Years ago, I was renting and had all these fruit trees in very large pots. One was looking very sad so I took a pH test, and it was WAAAAy too alkaline. So I drenched it in humic acid ( which can also be bought off the shelf) and hey presto, pH fixed, and tree started looking up almost immediately ( and now gives lovely grapefruit). Of course much easier in a pot than well, the earth- where does it end? No, I'm more prgamatic on larger scale, in my acid soil I top dress with dolomite and trace minerals and sea weed, then keep it mulched with woody cellulose material, and then my trees are on their own. Red clay soil does turn red black under mulch. Also do compost tea/ mineral/ other sprays. I regularly spread ash and lime/ dolomite in a random way over all the property- it's all upgrading the calcium content of the grass and forbs my chooks eat, and the amount of apples i've got will like it very much. Calcium moves very slowly through the soil profile but helpfully we get big worms here ( fat as my fingers and 30cm + cm long). Although I have humic acided my orchard once on drip irrigation. In your climate I'd keep ground mulched and incorporate as much organic matter as you can subsurface- especially taking advantage of wet periods. I'm glad you got rain
I mulch pretty heavily and on the lot I've done it for so many years (10) that it's spongy and yes it holds moisture MUCH better than my back yard. I mulched the back yard once, my puppy jumped just right on a piece of mulch, ended up with a callous over it that grew and grew and had to have surgery, so the backyard is a desert with bermuda grass. Green if it rains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I planted wildflowers for my honeybees and the masons and leaf cutters just showed up here, saw a mason bee on gaura in my front yard this morning. I have a mason bee house but the predatory wasps seem to get most of the larva. Very discouraged with that. It sounds like your soil needs sweetening with lime. Mine is alkaline.
there is a slow acting poison that you mix with cat food and put out in mesh bait boxes, it will attrack the wasps and yellow jackets but not honey bees, and the wasps bring the poison back to the hive and it kills them off....here is one of the studies on it..

 

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the predatory wasps really like mason bee larva, they are very tiny, and not all like yellow jackets. somewhere I have a picture of what happened in my mason bee house. Probably get a new pic this winter when I see if any cocoons to clean out and refrigerate until spring.
 
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