Displaying items by tag: The Observer

West Kentucky Wild: Bass at Night

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/15/13)—Problem: summertime doldrums. Extreme heat, lots of sun, water temperatures in the high 80s, and a lack of current caused by an absence of wind or very little water being pulled through the dam. Not to mention the big lakes that can accommodate all the summertime traffic of ski boats, jet skis, pontoons, etc. Throw in an occasional barge along with a slow bite and you’ve got a challenge on your hands. Maybe it’s time to start getting ready for deer season. 

Too hot to fish?
There is no such thing. You just have to adjust to either a few hours at dawn or a few hours at dusk. (I will admit that fishing all day in this summer heat should be one of the official stages of the Iron Man contest, though) Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at nighttime fishing.  

There is no question that bass, as well as some giants, feed at night, especially during hot weather periods. Summer nighttime fishing for bass works as good on local lakes as it does on bigger waters like Kentucky Lake. It is especially effective on clear water lakes and strip pits.   

Moon vs. dark: Which is the best?
While the experts say couple of days before and couple of days after the full moon is best, experiment and come to your own conclusion. While it’s certainly easier to see and get around, many anglers still swear by the dark. Personally, I prefer nights with very little moon and plenty of stars.  

With the specialty night lights available now—a favorite of mine is the one with lights built into the bill of the cap, which frees up your hands for retying and netting—there is no reason to let the dark hold you back. If you desire more light, there are some really good black lights available too, which will help you see shorelines and obstacles in the water. An added bonus: fluorescent mono line is magnified by black light, so you can see movements and twitches clearly. 

While nighttime fishing has sold millions of black Jitterbugs (and rightfully so), there are nights where top-water lures are not the best option. Some conditions, such as excessive moss or grass, will limit the selections. Try spinnerbaits in dark colors. Plastic worms and jigs will work, too.  

Final Word
It’s a good idea to get on the water prior to dark. Remember that it’s going to be cooler, lots quieter, and the fish will bite. Be sure and take your life jacket and your mosquito repellent, watch out for the summertime storms, and be sure and take a net. That big bass just might let his guard down. 

Required Listening
Edgar Winter’s third studio album, They Only Come Out at Night, which was released in November, 1972. Listen to the album in its entirety by clicking the YouTube player below this article. 


A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

To read other “West Kentucky Wild” installments, visit Nick’s Sugg Street Post blog page by clicking the following link: http://www.suggstreetpost.com/index.php/outdoors-west-kentucky-wild 

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Written by Nick Short


nOM—Adventures in Yoga & Food: The Now of Nostalgia

PHOTO: Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/16/13) - Three years ago today, I dove into a month of living at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires of western-Massachusetts, training to become a yoga teacher. I made this choice sight unseen. I landed at the Albany airport, got on a shuttle with a handful of other people from all across the world—most of whom also looked slightly shell-shocked and equally nervous—and an hour later I was lugging a month’s worth of yoga clothes, toiletries, and instant coffee into a dorm room I would share with 20+ people. (Yes, I said instant coffee. The literature Kripalu had sent said we had to be on the mat at 6:30am, six days a week, and there was no coffee in the dining hall, which didn’t open until 7:30am anyway…you better believe I was ready to eat Starbucks Via like a pixie stick on my way to practice!) It was a huge leap of faith, took almost all of the courage I could muster, and I had absolutely no idea—not even an inkling—as to how powerful and transformative the next month would be.

You know those split-seconds that are actually vibrant sparks on the continuum of time, where a simple choice can dramatically shift the trajectory of the entire story? Those seemingly mundane moments you can look back on in hindsight and see as defining, revelatory, a step onto a new path, a choice that would impact every single day of the rest of your life? I think of other moments with similar reverence: my first day at my first job at Block’s Hot Bagels when I was 16-years-old; my first day at summer camp in Maine; and my first day of freshman orientation at Kenyon College, an undergraduate community that would become a intellectual, creative, and spiritual home. It was that brand of split-second. Arriving at Kripalu felt like landing. Becoming a yoga teacher felt like a calling. In a thousand tiny, awesome ways, it was a coming Home.

I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with that month of my life.

And I miss it. I’ve been bathing in nostalgia as of late—swimming in thick pools of memory—caught between that extraordinary month at Kripalu and the present. I’ve been missing the way life smelled and tasted and was three years ago, the way I felt physically and emotionally, the people who were cheering me on from afar and the people I met in the Berkshires, and the place itself, right down to my bunk bed in that dorm room. I’ve been elbow-deep in the photos and the music, reaching out to the people who share a similar brand of experience, and generally longing for any connection to that month.

Anniversaries are an obvious time to remember and honor the past, and sometimes an easy time to sink so completely into remembering that you start to feel as though you are living in a highlight reel, longing for something you will never get back. Nostalgia is a strange beast. Inevitably, the pain of missing becomes greater than the joy of remembering. Don’t misunderstand; I think there is a purpose in remembering. Memory is a gift. I believe that honoring the past is innate to human nature, and a powerful practice. But dwelling in the past can cause all sorts of problems.

In yoga, we are taught to be present, to stay present, to come into the Now breath by breath. This is easier said than done. The question becomes, then, how to maintain your connection to your story while being fully present to Now, while simultaneously looking ahead toward a future that is in no way guaranteed. Indeed, this is the practice.

Have you been there? Maybe it is an experience that is over: summer camp, your vacation, a wedding, a college reunion. Or maybe it is a person. Someone you loved deeply who passed away, a friendship that came to an end, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe it is an old way of being you have had to shed as you have grown. Whatever it is, that spark—any of it, all of it—deserves to be honored. It deserves the energy and respect of your memory. It deserves to inform your Now in some way, shape, or form. And then you let go. You can always remember again later.

This is an asana (yoga posture) practice designed to help ground you during times of nostalgia, times when the past is desperately trying to get you stuck in your head and disconnected from the present. This practice gives ample space for allowing integration of the trip down memory lane and, ultimately, garners the power and gift of memory to create strength and intention in the present.

PHOTO: Child's pose.

1) Begin in Child’s Pose (Garbasana), knees the width of the mat, inner edge of big toes just touching, dropping the bottom toward the heels, hands above the head, elbows slightly bent to take any strain out of the shoulders and upper back. Notice your breath. Slow and deepen the breath, inhaling and exhaling completely. Count five rounds of breath as you allow yourself to look back to whatever you are feeling nostalgic about. Allow any and all thoughts. Notice how you feel. On the fifth exhale, release the breath with a sigh through the mouth, letting go.

2) Practice Mountain Pose (Tadasana) to create a rooted connection to the present. Stand with feet hip-width apart, inner-edges parallel to one another. Lifting and spreading the toes, press firmly into the three corners of the feet—the ball mound under the big toe, the pinky toe, and into the heel. Feel your foundation and connection to the earth. Draw energy up the legs as you inhale deeply and engage the upper thigh muscles. Feel the lower belly draw in and up, and as you exhale, tuck your tailbone under and lengthen from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Feel the upper body buoyant, lifting and lengthening, even as the feet ground into the earth. Feel yourself fully present, at home in the body. Count five rounds of breath. You may choose to chant five rounds of OM instead, being present to the vibration and sound.

PHOTO: Tree pose by the Crabtree kids.

3) Practice Tree Pose (Vrksasana) to continue rooting into the present as you balance the inevitable wobbles and falls both in the pose and on your path. Rooting into your right foot, lift your left foot off the ground. Externally rotate the left hip and press the sole of the foot into the right upper thigh. Aim for five consecutive breaths in the pose, letting go of judgment if you lose your balance and have to put your left foot down. Simply pause for a round of breath and come into the pose again.

4) Practice a supported chest opener on a rolled blanket or blocks to integrate past and present, and to physically and emotionally make room for the future. Lay back on a rolled blanket, a bolster, or yoga blocks with the soles of the feet together and knees dropping naturally to either side. Allow the shoulders to relax completely as the spine lengthens. Breathe into the open space of the body from the floor of the pelvis to the crown of the head, and garner the strength of your past and your personal story as support to allow for deep release. As though you are sweeping out cobwebs, allow each inhale to clear out space and each exhale to affirm your experience of each moment in its fullness, as enough.

5) Take Corpse Pose (Savasana) for 10 minutes or longer. There is nothing left to do and nowhere to go. Allow the body, mind, and spirit ample time for integration and rest.

6) As you slowly, gently, and mindfully release Savasana, come into Sukasana or any comfortable cross-legged seat. If your lower back rounds, sit up on a blanket or cushion. Float your hands to heart center. Drop your chin to your chest, a gesture of gratitude toward the self for taking time to practice.

As a stand-alone or complimentary journaling practice, consider what the memory you are feeling nostalgic about brought out in you. How did it serve you? Many times we fall in love with an experience, a person, a thing, or even a time in our life because something about it allowed us to feel safe and comfortable in our own authenticity. To put it simply, you were able to truly be you. What could you do in the present moment to give yourself permission to fully embody your truth? Can you find it within you instead of in a memory?

These practices become an inquiry into optimal living. They encourage active participation in designing the tapestry of your life and are a means to weave fluidly in and out of the linear with an awareness of the greater scope, the bigger picture, the now and the not yet.

Jai Bhagwan.



Hilary’s website: www.hilarylowbridge.weebly.com 
Connect with Hilary on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HilaryLowbridgeYoga
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Find previous "nOM - Adventures in Yoga & Food" installments by clicking here.

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Writing/Photos by Hilary Lowbridge 



nOM—Adventures in Yoga & Food: Hello, Sun

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/28/13) - “Each morning the sun takes another course into the sky. Light and warmth follow and the day begins, a common event of enormous circumstance. The sunrise informs and actuates the present. Each one is different. And deep within that mystery lies a gift for anyone perceptive enough to notice, anyone willing to accept it. It is the blessing for the day at hand, a fresh chance to create and to connect and to experience what it is that we were born to do.” – Robert William Case

Up until very recently, I was a self-proclaimed night-owl, passionate about how much I loathed the morning. After my first year of college, I (purposefully) never had a class earlier than 10am. Throughout my 10-year career in college admissions I had to be at work at 8:30am, and I was the queen of the snooze button. Every time my alarm went off, a few more minutes of sleep sounded like a better idea than eating breakfast, never mind a morning workout or a yoga and meditation practice. This was partially because of my insomniac tendencies. I rarely went to bed before 2am, oftentimes having caught an unplanned nap on the couch after work, my daily 4pm Starbucks habit getting me through the workday but not keeping me from crashing as soon as I got home.

It was an unexpected bout with anxiety (a story for another column) that inspired me to stop hitting the snooze button and create a morning routine, and now I can’t imagine my life without it. While I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call myself a “morning person,” I have begun to really enjoy the stillness and ease of the early hours. There is something sacred about the morning–a heaviness that lends itself to slowing down and paying attention, peacefulness that promotes deep inner listening, newness that feels like tangible hope and pure potential.

These days I’m almost always in bed before 10:30pm and I’m up long before I have to be anywhere. I have seen positive transformation and improvements in my life that I can only attribute to changing my schedule and using the golden hours of morning to my advantage. This is how I’m currently starting my day.

• 6am – My “Tibetan bell” alarm fades in, slowly nudging me awake. I sit up and notice my body and my breath, and take a moment to just watch my thoughts without engaging. (Try it–those first few thoughts you have can be equally hilarious and crazy!) I head to the kitchen, juice a lemon, add lukewarm water, and step outside and say hello to the sun. I bring myself present by reminding myself of the day and the date. I’m fortunate to live in bucolic splendor; I often walk barefoot into my yard in my pajamas and notice my feet firmly on the soft ground. It is a beautiful reminder of my connection to the earth, an acknowledgement of the support she provides me day after day.

• 6:30am – I’m on my yoga mat. I might do an online practice via Kripalu or YogaGlo, or a practice I have on CD or DVD. I might do my own practice set to music or in silence. But I always practice pranayama (breath work) and asana (yoga postures).

• 7:00am – I light a candle as I set an intention for my day and settle on to my meditation cushion for a minimum of 21 minutes. (I always give myself that one extra minute to settle in and breathe deeply).

• 7:30am – I make breakfast (usually fruit, raw nuts, and chia seeds or flax meal, or a green smoothie, or sautéed greens, poached eggs, and avocado), and an almond milk latte.

• 8:00am – I break a sweat (for the second time if yoga practice was vigorous!) and get outside, heading to the park for a walk. (I find that a walk after breakfast works for me; if I’m doing something more vigorous like a kick-boxing DVD, I do that before I eat breakfast).

• 9:00am – I begin working for the day.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of times that I can’t keep this schedule for one reason or another. There are some days that I make the choice to stay in bed longer, or I go to the diner for breakfast with my boyfriend if he has a rare day off from work, or I listen to my body and choose a gentle yoga practice or skip the walk if I’m feeling truly run down. I have had to learn not to freak out if my routine doesn’t happen exactly as planned. The point is not to accomplish it, but to be present for it, morning after morning after morning.

Your needs – physically and spiritually – are unique to you. Here are few general suggestions that you can mix and match to create a morning routine that works for you.

-  Wake up gently.
Instead of that blaring alarm that rudely jolts you out of sleep, why not experiment with a kinder, gentler alarm? I have an app on my iPhone called “Sleep Machine” that is wonderful for ambient noises to fall asleep to, as well as an alarm that fades in and includes soothing music or a Tibetan bell (my personal favorite).

-  Drink lemon water.
Lemon juice aids digestion, helps to cleanse the body of toxins, and boosts the immune system. Drink the juice of one lemon with 16oz of lukewarm water on an empty stomach and if you can, wait 30 minutes before eating breakfast.

-  Say hello to the sun.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The sun is new each day.” Saying hello to the sun each morning is a lovely way to mark the new day, to acknowledge it, to be present to it for at least a brief moment. Time passes and the days go by, and sometimes we get so busy that we wake up, five years have gone by, and we were too preoccupied to notice. Taking just a moment each day to acknowledge the new day itself helps to counter this.

-  Practice yoga.
After a night of sleep, the body can be stiff and sore. Gentle yoga breath work, movement, and postures can help to wake up the muscles and connective tissues, preparing the body to move with more ease through the tasks of the day.

-  Practice meditation.
Meditation doesn’t have to be scary. Set a timer (that Tibetan bell timer works great for this, too!), sit comfortably, close your eyes, and simply rest your awareness on inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Here is a great illustration that explains the many benefits of meditation.

-  Eat a healthy breakfast
Starting the day with a combination of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and good fat is a great way to ensure good choices for the rest of the day. You are literally breaking a fast, and what you put in your body first can and does set the tone for your entire day.

-  Break a sweat.
There are a lot of reasons to exercise in the morning, but my favorite? To get it over with. Plus, I find I make better food choices over the course of the day if I’ve already got a solid workout under my belt. Win-win.


Hilary’s website: www.hilarylowbridge.weebly.com 
Connect with Hilary on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HilaryLowbridgeYoga
Hilary in 140 characters or less: www.twitter.com/hilarybreathes  

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Writing/Photos by Hilary Lowbridge 


nOM—Adventures in Yoga & Food: The Reality Yogi

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/6/13) - Practicing yoga is an act of self-care. It is a way to take time – ideally, every day – for connecting with body, mind, and spirit. The reality is, however, that it can be really challenging to make the time for this kind of practice. Especially when it becomes one of those things, and you know all about those things. Things that you think you need a very specific set of circumstances to do correctly. If I lived in my perfect yoga world, every day there would be 90 solid, consecutive minutes, falling exactly three hours after I last ate (a light, healthy, organic, free-range, locally-sourced, gluten/soy/wheat/dairy free meal) in a day that I was perfectly hydrated (but for some amazing yogic reason, I wouldn't have to pee during those 90 minutes) and wearing the perfect yoga outfit (and it would have to be Lululemon from head to toe, because what is more ironic than a $300 yoga outfit?) in a room that had been smudged with (organic) white sage approximately 30 minutes before I began my practice, candles (that I made myself) lit, and a perfect playlist cued up. And of course I'd be on my Manduka Black Mat Pro. Duh.

I think those exact circumstances happened once. Well, except for the Lulu outfit. Oh, and I've never made a candle in my life. And I only just got a Manduka Black Mat Pro a year ago as a birthday gift. But yeah, something like that happened one time. In 1999. That's the ticket.

Okay, it never happened.

And let's face it—it probably never will.

Here is the truth: you don't need the perfect amount of time, the perfect space, the expensive mat, and definitely not the $300 yoga outfit to practice yoga. You don’t even have to make it to one of my classes at the YMCA to practice yoga. You can practice yoga anytime, anywhere. You can practice yoga for ten minutes a day with incredibly positive results.

Let's say it is the end of a long day and you finally have a bit of downtime to yourself. And if we are being honest (and we are, or at least, I am about to be), you are probably likely to grab a glass of wine, maybe some chips, (mmm, chips), definitely a lime La Croix, and sneak a moment to catch up on your DVR. Maybe it's Housewives, Parks & Rec, or a Law & Order: SVU marathon. Or you catch up on your internet-world for a minute—Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger. Maybe you attempt to do all of this at the same time. All the while you might be thinking, gosh, maybe I should do a bit of yoga. (By the way, if this is true for you, word for word, it also seems that we are the same person!).

So it feels like a choice, then: yoga or guilty-pleasure decompression. I know what I’m more likely to choose.

But it does not have to be a choice—at least not all of the time. Have your wine, have your chips, watch your reality television. Or listen to your favorite music. And while you do, put your legs up the wall for 10 minutes. Or sit cross-legged on the floor and lengthen your spine as breathe deeply (and sip your wine). Or just sit on the couch, watch your favorite show, and focus on inhaling deep into your belly, flaring your rib cage with the breath, and drawing it up over the collar bones, exhaling from the upper chest, rib cage, and following the breath all the way out with the belly.

I'm not saying this should replace your focused practice of yoga, or that you should never step foot in a yoga studio again. But as an addition to a mindful practice, this is a great way to work some additional yoga, gentle stretching, and deep breathing into the reality of your day.

Today, I did some yoga in my kitchen in between folding laundry and drinking coffee, thinking that I need to start eating more celery because it's supposed to be good for your heart—or at least that's what I read in some magazine yesterday.

Luckily, the beauty of yoga is that I stopped thinking about celery and stressing about heart health for a hot second and had a very fleeting moment of blissful peace and concentration.

You can, too.

• Stand with your feet a little wider than your hip’s width apart.
• Begin to twist, allowing the arms to gain momentum like empty coat sleeves of a trench coat draped over your shoulders. Lift the opposite heel as you look behind you.
• Coordinate it with some strong pranayama (breath work) practice—a sharp inhale through the nose as you come through center, a forceful "HA" breath out the mouth as you twist.
• Let the momentum build and build, and let your hands hit you wherever they may (it's probably somewhere you have a big concentration of lymph nodes, and they need a love tap now and then!)
• Continue for a minute or two, then let the momentum slow down, like the battery in the toy is slowly dying.
• When you are finally still, notice how you feel. Breathe deeply.

This incredibly simple twist is so therapeutic and beneficial. It is a nice squeeze and soak for all of the organs in the abdomen, flooding them with freshly oxygenated blood, and it also keeps the spine supple and creates space for all of the nerves traveling out of the spine to the rest of the body. Hooray!

Or go throw on your Lulu clothes, roll out that Manduka, light the candles, smudge the room and have that perfect, enlightening 90-minute practice. I'm jealous already.

The Reality Yogi

Hilary’s website: www.hilarylowbridge.weebly.com 
Connect with Hilary on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HilaryLowbridgeYoga
Hilary in 140 characters or less: www.twitter.com/hilarybreathes

Sugg Street Post
Written by Hilary Lowbridge
Photos by Hilary Lowbridge


Semi-Homesteading with Mama Cass: Talking Dirty

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/3/13) - There are a few scents that, while I find extremely satisfying, others may find odd. The smell of freshly tilled earth is one of them. It might not be the smell of the dirt itself that calls to me, but rather of what it signifies. It is a blank canvas yearning to become more. It is a reminder that in a few short months it will be the home to watermelon, sunflowers, onions and sweet potatoes. It is the anticipation of a summer spent canning tomatoes and cucumbers, and it makes my mouth water. It is taking charge and being self-sufficient, even if it is just in this small way.
As my girls kick off their shoes and explore the cool ground with their feet, I do the same. Maybe it is the kid in me, or maybe it is a way of spiritually trying to connect with the earth itself, but it is something that I have always enjoyed doing. As gardeners, we spend a lot of time worrying about what goes on above the ground. Carefully considering how our plants look, if they are growing the way they should and inspecting them for nibbles from various creatures that might want to eat them before we get the chance. I know this is true for me. I spend hours leafing through seed catalogues looking at pictures of striped tomatoes, purple carrots, and yellow watermelon. I like growing things that are unique and pick most of my harvest based on appearance. Once all is planted, I am vigilant to make sure everything is well-watered and the weeds are kept back. If truth be told, I think very little of what is going on beneath the surface, because “out of sight, out of mind.” However, lately I’ve been feeling like this line of thinking isn’t quite useful to my gardening experience. The soil is an essential part of the well-being of your plants; shouldn’t it be given more credit?

While it may sound like the title to a strange horror film, the soil is alive. Composed of vast root structures, bacteria, fungi, small mammals and reptiles and millions of insects, there is an entire world under the plants in your garden. This underground ecosystem is actually more diverse than the one above, and everything is working together to influence the health of the other. In fact, research published early this month demonstrates the important connection between underground activity and plant health. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, the James Hutton Institute, and Rothamsted Research, have discovered that plants, communicating through fungi in their root systems, are able to “warn” other plants of aphid attacks. This warning signals the other plants to release a chemical pheromone that draws in natural predators of the aphid. The wasp arrives, preys on the aphids, and the plants are safe again. The fungus then continues to enjoy the nutrients released by the plant during photosynthesis, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship. Healthy fungi, healthy plant.
Even though it is difficult to tell by looking, the soil is bustling with activity aimed at sustaining the delicate balance of life above and below. The healthier soil you have available for your plants, the more apt they will be to produce a generous crop. The same goes for your little seeds. They will never reach their full potential if you plant them in lousy dirt. By providing a nutrient rich environment, you are giving your garden the upper hand against pests and potential diseases that might threaten your crop. You’ll find that you’ll need to use fewer pesticides if you’ll just take the time to pay attention to your dirt. Even if you are lucky enough to start out with nutrient rich loamy ground, chances are it will not stay that way. Plants expend a lot of energy and require a lot of nutrients to grow and produce the vegetables we love so much. They take from the soil, and unless we are ready to replace those minerals lost, they will not be there the next year. If your expectations for your garden involve a high yield, it will pay to spend some time thinking about what is going on beneath the surface.

Testing your Soil

How do we know if our soil is in ideal shape for planting? The most efficient way to do so is to contact your local extension office and have a soil sample sent off. There is a little bit of work involved and a nominal fee, but this is your best bet for the most accurate results. However, there are also at-home, DIY methods that you can use that will give you a ballpark idea of what you are working with.


The pH of your soil has to do with how readily your plant can take in nutrients. You are aiming for neutral soil, which is soil that isn’t too acidic and isn’t too high in alkaline. It’s baby bear soil; soil that is “just right.” (I rephrased this a tad bit) While it is true that some plants prefer a more acidic or alkaline environment, such as blueberries or clematis, the majority of garden plants will do fine in neutral soil. You can purchase kits to test your pH at any local garden center, but you can also test at home using vinegar and baking soda. Keep in mind that this method won’t give you an exact reading, but you’ll be able to get some idea of your soil’s pH this way. Typically, to help neutralize your soil, you can add in organic matter such as compost. This will help to shift away from the two extreme sides of the pH scale and bring your soil to a neutral pH level so your plants can thrive.

Supplies: You’ll need a few containers, vinegar, baking soda and a tablespoon.

Step 1: Go to the area you plan on gardening and scoop up a few samples of dirt from different areas throughout your plot.

Step 2: Mix all these samples together and make sure they are well incorporated.

Step 3: Take two tablespoons from your mixture and place them into two separate jars so you’ll have two jars with two tablespoons each of the mixture. Dampen slightly.

Step 4: Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of distilled water. Pour this into one of the soil sample containers. If it fizzes, the soil is too acidic and ph is low.

Step 5: Pour two tablespoons of vinegar into the other container, if it fizzes, the soil has too much alkaline content and the ph is too high.

Step 6: No reaction, pH is neutral. Congrats.

Soil Texture

The “texture” of the soil applies to what particles are most evident in its composition. The main particles are sand, silt, and clay, and it’s how much or how little these particles are present in the soil that will determine its ability to hold moisture and nutrients. You can tell a lot about your soil’s texture by simply touching it. The largest of the particles is sand. It is the easiest to determine because, well, it will feel gritty like sand. Silt is the next largest particle and has a texture similar to flour, whereas clay, which is the smallest, feels somewhat sticky.

Another way to test the soil’s texture is by using a jar and one tablespoon of dishwashing powder. Mix one cup of soil into a jar of water and shake aggressively for a few minutes. Set the jar aside and wait until the layers settle. This may take a few minutes to a few days depending on the makeup of particles in your soil. Sand will fall first, silt second, and clay last. Once everything has settled, measure the layers. If everything is pretty equal, you have what is called “loam”, which means your soil is made up of equal portions. Loam is the ideal soil to have.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Cassie Pendergraff
Photos courtesy of Cassie Pendergraff


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