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Thinkin' Spring

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 2/21/20

It won't be long now, spring is right around the corner, soon the clocks will spring ahead and we will get an hour more of daylight at the end of the day. Of course we loss it in the morning, so it …

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Thinkin' Spring

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It won't be long now, spring is right around the corner, soon the clocks will spring ahead and we will get an hour more of daylight at the end of the day. Of course we loss it in the morning, so it is more of a trick to get us to think that spring has arrived. But the days are getting longer regardless of Daylight Savings Time.

I have been getting my daily dose of vitamin D from the sun by visiting my mom down in Florida. While down at her house, I had to do a little gardening for her. She had an old palm tree that died years ago, but the stump was still in the ground. Since Vicki and I were looking for a good spot to plant a lemon tree, we decided to kill two birds with stone and plant it were the palm was.

Since the palm had been dead for over three years the stump that was left was almost cork consistency, so that was not a big issue to get it out. We went out to a local nursery that we have used for years and found just what we were looking for. Actually we found better than what we were looking for, as we found a dwarf lemon tree that will not get over six feet tall and will not block my mom's view down her canal as she enjoys watching the boats come in at night.

The guys at the nursery know their stuff when it comes to southern plants and citrus, so I was surprised when I asked if they had any Foxfarm products that I could when planting and they had know idea what I was talking about. One product in particular that I like to use when planting anything is Foxfarm Microbrew, which is a mixture of many strains of mycorrhizal fungi.

These fungi bond with the plant roots and act as a feeding system for the plant. The fungi breaks down minerals, elements and fertilizers into smaller particles and feeds them to the plant roots. In return when the plant send carbohydrates down to the roots to be stored, excess carbs are sweat out of the roots into the surrounding soil and that is what feeds the fungi. So the fungi have a vested interest in keeping the plant as happy and healthy as they can.

With our clay soil in Sullivan County this works particularly well with breaking down minerals in the clay that the plant may not be able to use on its own. Down here in Florida it works much the same way but unlike our heavy clay soil, here there is mostly sandy soil with some additives. Most of these additives happen to be concrete construction debris and a small amount of soil bought from the local garden center.

Because of the concrete and other crushed corals in the soil, lime is never an issue, in fact aluminum sulfate needs to be added at times to reduce the soil ph. What the fungi does down here is break down these concrete and coral pieces releasing elements like calcium that are beneficial for plant growth. Also it helps the roots to grow stronger to withstand the alkaline soil better and to get larger to provide more water to the plant for the hot summers.

As I explained all this to the nursery guys I felt like a Foxfarm salesman as they said they were interested in getting some of the products in. Of course I could not help them with that as our distributors up north do not service south Florida.

So after we planted our dwarf lemon I decided to check the internet for the closest Foxfarm dealer in the area and I found one just across town. So tomorrow morning before boarding a plane to come back home, it is down to the Foxfarm dealer for some Microbrew so that I know the lemon will be off to a good start.

I don't dare put any on the banana trees as after Vicki and I cleaned out the dead leaves so you could see all the bananas, there are about five hundred bananas that will be ripe within the next two months. Wow, that's a lot of banana bread.

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