Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pass the Calcium Please

            Calcium, it just isn’t for people bones ya know.
            Calcium, without it plants can’t eat.

            We throw bags upon bags of fertilizers on our gardens until the soil is swimming in nitrogen, phosphorous, and pot ash. But all this just sits on the plate if there’s no calcium to bring it to the plant’s mouth.

            Our area here in West Michigan grows trees really well; the plain’s states grow grass really well. What’s the difference? Our soil has the good stuff deep, where the tree roots can get at it; the plain’s states have six feet of the good stuff at the surface where the grass roots can get it. Why this big difference you may ask? To the west of the Plains are the Rocky Mountains; the prevailing winds blow over and mountains, taking with it tiny particles of the mountain call “soft rock”, which is rich in Calcium. These particles get carried along and are dropped throughout the prairie states, with very little reaching us, or any other state east of the Mississippi River for that matter.
            Let me illustrate on the job of calcium. You have a steam powered locomotive; the locomotive has a woodbox car filled with wood. You need a man to go to the woodbox car to bring the wood to the boiler of the locomotive; Calcium is that man; calcium enables the plant to assimilate the food that is available.

            Most people think lime will accomplish this need, and yes lime does have about 35% calcium in it. But around here sweetening the soil is rarely necessary, which is limes main job. There is available a 95% calcium lime, and it is carried at most feed stores; look for those 95 % calcium numbers on the bag.

            You prepared a nice garden for your vegetables; you faithfully turn or till the soil in the spring, you’re Johnny-on-the-spot pulling weeds, you cultivate regularly, you water, you even check for bugs. Now if you could just untie your veggie’s hands and take the gags off their mouths so they can eat properly. Calcium will do that for them.

 If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping. For more Landscape and garden info check us out at

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