July 16, 2009

My Soil Test Results

My soil test results are in, and they aren't as bad as I was afraid they might be.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

With a pH of 5.2, my soil is acidic, which I knew. An application of dolomitic limestone is recommended at 87 pounds per 1000 sq² of garden. My little garden is 26 by 38 feet, which is, hmm let's see, 1014 sq feet. That means I can use that 87 pounds without further calculations. The only problem is that it should have been worked into the soil 6 to 8 weeks before planting. We weren't even here 6 to 8 weeks before I planted. I'll just have to add this to my garden "to do" list for this fall.

Other recommendations are for synthetic fertilizers, which I rarely use. Primarily phosphorous (P) is low; potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and Magnesium (Mg) are in the medium range; and my zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), and boron (B) are sufficient. I'm not sure what to make of the copper (Cu) results.

After a little poking around on the internet, I learned that organic sources of phosphorous are bone meal (applied to manufacturers instructions), or rock phosphate (2-4 #/100 ft²). Of course good compost would help tremendously, but at this point our compost production is pretty slow.

When I first blogged about having my soil tested, a couple of you wondered about testing in your own states. It us usually the cooperative extension service that does this, and I found a complete listing of state cooperative extension services courtesy of HomesteadGarden.com. Click here to find your state and whom to contact. Then let me know how it goes!

In other garden news, my pumpkins have started to flower ...

1st pumpkin blossom


Renee Nefe said...

It looked as if my plants might bounce back after our terrible hail storm and I even had flowers on two of my tomatoe plants...but then we had another hail storm. Alas I think I am destined to be buying my produce from the farmer's market this summer. pout!

I should get the camera and post the picture of my hail pierced pepper. I should also take the cuccumber that I bought and see if it still good enough to make refrigerator pickles. I hope I have enough vinegar.

Life Looms Large said...

I met some one who works at the NH Cooperative Extension. Apparently, in the early 1900's, the federal government was setting up land-grant universities (which I think are a series of state colleges).

The cooperative extension was originally designed to help improve farming in the US by working with farmers, their wives, and their kids (4-H). They've expanded since that time to do things other than farming as well.

They still receive federal funding.

Who knew?


Leigh said...

Renee, I hope they do bounce back! I often think of the Little House books and some of the problems the Ingalls had. Weather is something we just can't control.

Sue, we didn't learn about the Coop Ext until we got involved in 4-H quite a few years ago. What an excellent resource! It does seem to be one of the government's better kept secrets, doesn't it?

Dorothy said...

We use "blood, fish & bone" fertiliser as we plant things, put it in the hole for the plant so it gets where it's needed.

That's a useful soil test. Is your soil sandy, or clay? We have used a simple test in the past that shows soil composition, including organic material in the soil, where you put some soil in the bottom of a glass jar, put in about 4-5 times as much volume water as soil, and shake lots, then leave to settle for a few days.

Will you plant any ornamental acid loving plants? I love azaleas and rhododendrons. Blueberries also like acid soil.

Leigh said...

Dorothy, blood, fish, & bone type fertilizer is probably just what I need right now. I can probably side dress with it and I'm sure it would help.

Our soil is clay, though the previous owners put in top soil in their flower beds. We are definitely going to plant blueberries! I was reading about them just today. I have azaleas and was looking at rhododendrons as well. They are native to this area and do well too.