I have found an interesting article from Elmore County Extension office in Mountain Home, ID- called “Missing Links in SW Idaho Soil Management”. Here is the site to read it: http://extension.uidaho.edu/elmore/files/2013/12/MissingLinksinSWIdahoSoilManagement.pdf
In this short article, it explains that our alkaline soils need a lot of compost, but also some micronutrients in order for plants to thrive.
I wanted to review the article and then use the best organic methods to fill in the missing links.
The first missing link is phosphorus- you can get that by buying bone meal or rock phosphate. Rock phosphate I found online at Walmart (WHAT?, yup. online only) or Dr. Earth brand at Amazon.com. I know that locally, Edwards Nursery carries Dr Earth products.
The second missing link is elemental sulfur along with organic matter. I apply compost at least once a year, sometimes fall, sometimes spring, or whenever the pick- up truck is working. So, along with the compost, we apparently need to add sulfur- which causes a chemical reaction in the soil to produce gypsum. I found the Elemental sulfur at D&B Supply in a 50 lb. bag.
It's worth a try. . . . I have applied it to the soil- it's a bit smelly but that's ok, if it works. I will let you know!
I have not tried the 3rd missing link yet, but I will. Potassium is to be applied in the heat of summer. Try using kelp meal, or ground seashells- I'll probably get the kelp meal, don't feel like driving to the coast in the height of summer.
The fourth missing link- love it!! Plant native plants- they use less water!