Soil tests have shown that our soil here in Potter County, Pennsylvania lacks adequate sulfur and has a low pH. Most every gardener has heard of adding epsom salts to improve soil nutrients. Indeed, epsom salts would give the soil a boost of sulfur but the effect on the pH is negative (more acidic). There is another amendment that provides sulfur and with a nil effect on soil pH.
Set-up for soil amending with 200 pounds of gypsum (calcium sulfate) and aragonite (sea shell flour) mixture using the drop spreader shown here. Gypsum supplies the soil with the nutrients calcium and sulfur. The sulfur gives the soil a boost and adds the characteristic flavor to the garlic. The aragonite helps to improve the soil acidity. The spreader has an adjustable flow gate with open/closed control lever on the handle. We covered the entire field (0.9 acres) with the #200 in the 4 bags shown here. That’s about #100 of gypsum per acre (~#2 per 1000 square feet). Gypsum only contains 17% sulfur, so we’re not adding much sulfur to the soil (and not much is needed). The aragonite mixture helps spread it out very thinly. Sulfur is one of those elements that just a little bit will do it.
Gypsum and aragonite mixture loaded into the drop spreader hopper.
Here’s a close-up view of finished row. Look closely to see the fine white dusting. The little drop spreader worked fine (it keeps the tractor off the fields early in the spring). It is best to get the sulfur in the soil in the early spring to have the more time for it to work into the soil and take effect. Early spring means soft soils in Potter County and some risk of rutting it up with tractor use. Thus, the push spreader is used here. Plus in order to use this spreader ( with low clearance), the garlic needs to be not too tall in it’s growth, as it is at this time.