Tulipa sylvestris

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Mon, 20 Apr 2009 10:21:20 PDT
On 19 Apr 2009, at 22:20, info@auchgourishbotanicgarden.org wrote:

> Jim it may help you to add a little free lime in order to get flowering, my
> bulbs are uber hardy down to anything thrown at them so far, e.g. - 20 C
> this winter and they are up and happily at 'em again. Previously they went
> 'blind' on us but a raising of nutrition and pH from 4.5 seemed to help here
> at any rate, might be worth a try. They have a lovely scent too.

It's unlikely that adding a little lime to your tulips made any perceptible 
difference in soil pH. Most soils, thanks to their clay fractions, are strongly 
buffered against pH changes.

I mix up potting soil using pH 4.5 soil as the starting point and aim toward 
the classic pH 6.5 of "horticultural neutrality". I have to add a startlingly 
large amount of lime to reach that goal.

However, adding smallish amounts of lime to the open garden temporarily 
alleviates the calcium deficiencies often associated with acidic soils.

A reminder that dolomite is surprisingly insoluble. If you want fast correction 
of calcium deficiency, pure calcium carbonate (aka "agricultural lime" or 
"ground limestone") is the ticket. If you have a magnesium deficiency as well, 
Epsom salts give faster results than dolomite, though I wouldn't put both down 
at the same time.

Adding calcium to the garden also benefits the earthworm population. Earthworms 
depend on free calcium ions in the soil to excrete waste CO2 as calcium 

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island


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