Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Inexpensive Nitrogen source: Snow

Winter season is upon us. Temperature drops, everyone bundles up, and gardens lay dormant. Fortunately, this also means that there is a very inexpensive source of nitrogen available. SNOW!

            Nitrogen is present in large amounts in the air but it is difficult to get it into the soil. As water falls through the air and freezes, each snowflake forms around airborne particles including soot, dust, and minerals. The snow is capable of picking up substances like nitrates, potassium, and calcium as they fall to the ground. As the snow thaws, the substances are released into the soil raising the total substance content. However, the proportions of theses substances in snow are small and vary from region to region. Snow in particular has been observed to add 5 to 10 pounds of nitrogen per acre in the winter season. Snow has less nitrogen then rain. However, rain tends to saturate the soil and run off, whereas snow tends to melts slower and give the soil enough time to adsorb more over time.

            One more reason to enjoy the season!

1 comment:

  1. whey from downstairs cheese production has high phosphorus and some nitrogen. We should see about using it to help treat soil next spring.