Simone
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A rusty inon inside the soil?

Isn't a crazy thing feeding the soil with iron putting a rusty screw or a hammer inside it? Is it a good way to improve the percentage of iron in the soil? Is it a traditional way to do it? Isn't it odd?

Thank you,
Simone.

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stella1751
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When I had my soil tested, I expected the iron content to be off the charts. My back yard is covered with a half-foot of small river rocks that were probably laid there in the 1940s or 1950s. When I pound out an area for a bed, I generally fill two or three coffee cans with rusty nails, nuts, and bolts.

The soil analysist called me to discuss my results. When I asked her about why my iron analysis indicated I should add iron to my soil, telling her about all that rusted iron, she told me that sort of iron didn't degrade into the soil, meaning it was unavailable. Based on my soil analysis, I have to agree with her. Rusty hardware doesn't make a difference. If it did, my iron content should be through the roof.

However, I get iron filings from my cousin's workplace each year and sprinkle them on my lawn. I may be deluding myself, but it seems to me that within two weeks, the lawn assumes a darker, richer green hue.

On the one hand, there is scientific data to support that rusty nails do nothing. On the other hand, experiential data appears to support that rusted iron filings do make a difference. I shall be interested in seeing what kind of responses you get to your query :?
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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applestar
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OK, since I'm the one that told Simone that this is what I do (well, not rusty screw or hammer, but big-ol' rusty nails stuck in the soil, one per plant in the container), I should own up to it. :wink:

It's entirely possible that I'm basing this practice on some old wive's tale, but we WERE talking about a lower pH soil mix for citrus and avocados, and being me, I was recommending a mix containing compost. (Like I told Simone, my avocado and citrus seedlings seem to be doing OK)

Although rust (iron oxide) in of itself is unavailable to plant roots, in lower pH OM-rich soil, I really did think that there would be some kind of breakdown of the iron molecules going on.

Stella, I'm pretty sure you said in your area, pH is high. In my area, you always need yearly application of lime to raise pH for optimum plant growth. Maybe that would make a difference for garden soil?

FWIW, I found this website:
https://www.spectrumanalytic.com/support/library/ff/Fe_Basics.htm
Some of their statements seem to support my theory:
"Soil pH: High soil pH reduces Fe availability while acid soils increase Fe availability."
"In addition to being a source of Fe, O.M. compounds are able to form Fe complexes that improve availability. "

So, I'll be eagering waiting for the experts to pitch in as well.

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stella1751
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Applestar wrote
Stella, I'm pretty sure you said in your area, pH is high. In my area, you always need yearly application of lime to raise pH for optimum plant growth. Maybe that would make a difference for garden soil?
It is a puzzler, isn't it? My garden's PH is 7.2, but you are right, normally Wyoming soil is much higher. Truth be told, in theory, a rusty nail seems right. I was pretty surprised to hear the analysist tell me that I was wrong.

I did have a small laugh about Simone's rusty hammer (sorry, Simone). I take terrible care of my tools, makes my cousin crazy how I leave them laying around all the time. Who knows? I might actually have a rusted hammer buried in one of my beds :lol:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Simone
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I'm sorry, but my English isn't brilliant and in my mind the word "nail" was a synonym of "hammer"... :oops:

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rainbowgardener
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hammer is the tool that hits the nail...

I'm trying to learn Spanish, so I understand how difficult it is (not Spanish, learning languages). We were having conversation in Spanish class and I blithely told the class I'm the lady in the neighborhood that eats all the cats
:) .

(meaning of course FEEDS them)

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stella1751
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Language mix-ups can make for funny stories for the native speakers. When I was in Spanish class, years ago, the instructor was asking all of us what we fear most. When he came to one student, not the brightest bulb in the class, the student replied, "Television."

What made yours funny, Simone, was that I seriously do have rusty hammers setting out because I get distracted and don't put them away. I apologize for my rudeness, though :oops:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

sweet thunder
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I thought of this thread the other day as I was doing some garden cleanup. I raked out a ton of debris from under the hydrangea and found a cast iron pan!
I've found a lot of junk in the yard over the last couple of years, and I always assumed it was lost trash, but how does someone lose a frying pan in the garden? It had to be intentional.

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