Away in a Manger

Away in a Manger

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Twist of Lime

Cherry limeades were a special treat at Grandma Marie's house. After she died, I brought the juicer home because my kids had such great memories of making limeades with their grandma.

She would combine fresh limes and sugar-free Cherry 7-Up and serve it up with ice and a straw. Sounds tasty on this hot summer day, doesn't it?

Maybe you watch those Food Network shows, and the chef is always squeezing or zesting a fresh lime to create that perfect balance of acidity (whatever that means).

Well, this is about lime. But it's got nothing to do with the Food Network or cherry limeades.

It's all about agricultural lime. Several weeks ago, Randy gathered soil samples from different fields and took them to the co-op so they could be sent to a lab for testing.

Several tests for the pH of the soil came back low. An ideal soil pH is around 7. We had some tests that came in around 5.

The pH is a logarithmic scale: The lower the pH, the more acid in the soil. The higher the pH, the more alkaline the soil. A pH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than 7. A pH is 100 times more acidic than 7.

Well, I didn't get all that either. That's just what Randy told me. But I do understand that the soil needed lime.

Lime is a long-lasting soil additive made from crushed limestone or chalk. The finer it's crushed, the more effective it is. The application done this year should balance the soil for several years to come. Raising the soil pH should make more nutrients available for crops.

The co-op delivered the lime and left it in sandhill-type piles in the fields that needed it. Then, on the day the lime was to be applied, the Caterpillar front loader filled the truck bed ...

and off he went, applying 1 ton of lime per acre to those fields.

Hope the soil gets refreshed as well as a cherry limeade would refresh me right about now!

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