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Soil Test Results/General Advice

14 years ago

Hi Folks,

I've been reading the forum on and off for a few years, but with a tiny garden at a rental house never had the need to post. We recently bought a house and I'm in the process of putting in a garden. I sent in for my soil test a couple of weeks ago and just got the results in. I'll post both the results for the garden location and also the backyard lawn. Following their instructions, the lawn sample wasn't as deep as the garden sample.

Analysis Results Rating (Lawn)

P (lb/A): 127 VH (81 H)

K (lb/A): 113 M (186 H-)

Ca (lb/A): 1709 H (1468 H-)

Mg (lb/A): 165 H- (195 H+)

Zn (ppm) 6.6 SUFF (4.9 SUFF)

Mn (ppm) 14.2 SUFF (9.9 SUFF)

Cu (ppm) 1.0 SUFF (0.7 SUFF)

Fe (ppm) 38.4 SUFF (22.4 SUFF)

B (ppm) 0.2 SUFF (0.3 SUFF)

S.Salts (ppm) 410 L (77 L)

Soil pH: 5.3 (5.8)

Buffer Index: 6.14 (6.26)

Est-CEC (meq/100g): 6.6 (5.5)

Acidity: 23.3% (15.0%)

Base Sat: 76.7% (85%)

Ca. Sat: 64.3% (66.2%)

Mg Sat: 10.3% (14.5%)

K Sat: 2.2% (4.3%)

Organic Matter: 2.9% (3.8%)

The ratings are VH=Very High, H=High, etc.

I think that there used to be a large pine (or similar) tree near the location for the garden, which may explain the difference in pH. The organic matter difference may be because there's a fairly thin layer of topsoil, below which its mostly clay -- with the deeper sample for the garden, I'm getting more clay. The test didn't cover particle size, but its mostly clay -- I may do the "jar" test. I think that the backyard is also quite compacted, as well -- it drains pretty poorly.

Any general advice on the results of the soil test?

The local city delivers leaf mulch for free and I got a big order which gave me enough to mulch all the landscaped beds and still have more than what I can probably use in the garden leftover. About half of it is now mixed with a lot of grass clippings from the past several mowings and is cooking pretty well.

With generally high levels of P and K, do I have to worry about over-doing it with the leaves? My general plan was to put in 3 or 4 beds (about 4x12 feet each) and only really plant in one of those this summer, since I'm getting a late start and think the soil is the most important thing to look after this year. The 1 bed is so that I can at least have some tomatoes! I'd consider doing a lasagna approach with the leaves, grass clippings, etc or planting a green manure/cover crop to the other beds.

And for the lawn: any tips on adding organic matter to the lawn? Is it ok to lime in the spring?

Any advice is welcome!



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