Mature compost can make a difference

IN LATE SPRING 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the UF/IFAS Balm Research Center and meet with plant breeder Dr. Zhanao Deng. He explained to me that he was setting up a trial for the discovery of new varieties of pomegranates that will grow and produce in our subtropical climate. His need was to improve the organic matter of the white sand soil in the 10-acre trial plot.

After some conversations, we decided to apply our composted humus at the rate of 10 tons per acre, and place it in the row bed with a side dump blueberry bark spreader. Then the production manager brought in a tractor and rotovator to blend the organic composted humus into the row beds before planting. This made a beautiful soil blend.

Dr. Deng took soil samples before and after application. The changes in the soil matrix were amazing:

• NH3-N increased 91.5 percent
• NO3-N increased 93.0 percent
• Organic matter increased 81.1 percent
• Phosphorus increased 31.3 percent
• Potassium increased 806.0 percent
• Calcium increased 92.6 percent
• Magnesium increased 120 percent

I recommend that growers of most crops use this method to increase the fertility of your sandy soils and your microbial levels as well. This will not only increase the organic matter but also the cation exchange, moisture-holding capacity and mineral retention. Remember, your soil can become more fertile!

This column is sponsored by P&H Solutions, Inc.


column by CARSON A. FUTCH

BIO: As the owner of P&H Solutions, Inc., Carson A. Futch assists growers in Central Florida with organically composted soil amendments and other crop growing products. He is a Plant City native and a fifth-generation Florida cracker who grew up on a working ranch and citrus operation. He received his B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Florida in 1981. During his 34-year career, Carson has been involved in various management and ownership aspects of production agriculture, harvesting, marketing, and agri-tourism. He has also been blessed to serve on various councils and committees for the betterment of his church, community, and the agricultural industry. For more information about Carson and P&H Solutions, Inc., visit

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