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Soil Tests

March 10, 2011 - GrowOrganic
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THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE Let’s say you’ve followed Tricia’s suggestions in our Soil Tests video, carefully collected soil samples, and sent them off for┬ásoil analysis. The soil analysis envelope arrives in your mailbox and it’s the moment of truth. Is your soil the dirty equivalent of a genius, or does it need help? The free booklet we provide will show you how to interpret the results of the soil analysis, and how to measure the amount of fertilizer you may need to take your…
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Video Transcript
Hi I'm Tricia a California organic gardener and i want to get to know my soil better. I figure if i don't know what the deficiencies are i could waste money on amendments or I could put my garden at risk to avoid that I'm going to take a soil sample and send it away for testing when the results come back Ill know if i need to add some nitrogen for vegetative growth or perhaps some phosphorus for fruiting, flowering and root development potassium for disease resistance or maybe calcium for sturdy cell walls and pH adjustment or maybe i'll find out that my soils healthy just as it is. Take it from me it's really important to take a good soil sample and that starts with using a good tool. I'm going to use this clean cast aluminum trowel with measurements on it don't use brass, soft steel or your hands to take the sample. I also have a clean plastic bucket to put the soil samples you don't want to use galvanized steel or rubber because that could also contaminate the soil. I have several raised beds so i want to take a different sample for each bed last season there were different crops growing in each bed and so the soil nutrients were depleted a little bit differently I'm going to take about twelve sub samples from each bed that way we have a good composite of what the soil is like be sure and clear away any debris leaves or any other organic matter from the surface of the soil for vegetable gardens you want to dig down about six inches or as deep as you plan to till or cultivate. So you want to dig a cone shaped hole as I said about six inches deep and then you want to scrape the sides of that hole to get the strata of the soil. You want to be sure and pick out any debris like roots or stones or whatever before you put the soil in your bucket repeat this processes in a zigzag pattern if you're not growing in a raised bed try to make the sample distances about five to ten feet apart and avoid small areas of obviously different soil like a manure pile or a path because that can skew your results you want dry soil if the soil is too wet to plant then it's too wet to sample. If your soil is wet spread it out on a newspaper in a location with good air flow and out of the sun a day or so before putting it in the bag so it doesn't mold never use heat to dry your soil. I'm going to take about a pound of it and put it in this bag which is all ready to be sent off for testing. Most gardeners just need a basic soil test which includes nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, pH and organic matter however if you starting a new garden or if your soil has never been tested before you can also get a micro nutrients test, this test for micro nutrients such as zinc, copper and manganese. So in a couple of weeks I'm going to get my test results along with an interpretive booklet which will have some suggestions for organic fertilizers that correct deficiencies so get to know your soil and grow organic for life!

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Solutions: Over 4% N (Nitrogen), Over 3% P (Phosphorus), Over 3% K (Potassium), Mg (Magnesium), S (Sulfur), Ca (Calcium), Trace Minerals, Corrects Low pH, Corrects High pH

Categories: Soil Test, Soil Test Kit, Soil Testing, NPK Test Kit, pH Soil Test, Soil Amendments, Organic Garden Compost, Pelleted Fertilizer, Powdered Fertilizer, Organic Fertilizer, Liquid Fertilizer, Pelleted Fertilizer, Powdered Fertilizer, Liquid Fish, Foliar Fertilizer, Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer, Organic Plant Food, Water Soluble Fertilizer, Fertilizer Tablets, Field Meter, Soil Test Kits, Soil pH meter, NPK test kit, Soil, Compost & Vermiculture, Organic Gardening 101


Suzanne Ludlum Says:
Mar 30th, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Great video—important theme for all gardeners. Where do you send your soil samples for evaluation? You didn’t mention where in your video.

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