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Surprise Soil Test Results

10 years ago

I live in CT where native soil is generally acidic (my lawn was tested and had a soil pH of 4.5 last year and needed a lot of lime). But I used purchased compost in my raised bed, applied twice a few years apart and put my dried leaves there each fall. The leaves are from a maple and an ash tree in my yard. I never tested the soil, just tilled the compost and leaves into the native soil, until last month. This warm winter prompted me to go out on a warm day in Feb. and get soil samples from the garden and results were a surprise. They are:

pH 7.5

Calcium >4000 lbs/acre

Magnesium >500 lbs/acre

Phosphorus >100 lbs/acre

Potassium >600 lbs/acre

Boron 1.60 ppm

Copper 0.40 ppm

Iron 6.00 ppm

Manganese 103.00 ppm

Zinc 10.10 ppm

Aluminum 63 ppm

Soil Texture: Sandy Loam

Organic content: High

Note: Your soil nutrients are above optimum, mostly likely because too much fertalizer (either synthetic or organic) or compost was applied. Excessive nutrients can result in plant problems and also can contaminate ground and surface waters. Strive to keep nutrients in the optimum range.

Additional note: Do not any any lime, wood, ash or organic matter, composts or manure. Your pH is getting too high and nutrients are way above optimum! Too much organic matter in wet years can cause roots to rot and they will not be able to take up nutrients and oxygen properly.

This testing was done by UCONN.

On the plus side, I rarely have to water the garden with no wilting of tomato plants. The deep soil is sand. If you dig down about a foot anywhere you come to almost pure sand, so I guess that is why water logging hasn't been too much of a problem? Anyway, I mainly grow tomatoes, and want to maximize the fruit productivity and health of the plants. My garden is organic. I also grow a few herbs there like basil, and peppers. I have not had great luck with Bell Peppers but do a little better with hot peppers.

I am planning on bringing in top soil to add to the raised bed since I never filled it completely. The raised bed was built because the garden is on a hill and I want to level it to help with watering. So I have been slowly raising the level of the bed to level it off. I hope that will bring the soil more towards the optimum ranges for organic matter and nutrients. I will then need to have it retested.

Is this a good plan, or should I be doing anything else?

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