Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Initial Soil Testing Complete for the Plots

I did the basic at home soil testing on the soil samples that I got from the plots on Saturday. Although this is not the best time to test or is this the best type of testing, it does give me a basic idea of what I have over there. Fortunately the soil at the plots is not solid clay as we had here.

I took six samples from six different locations and marked them with a stake. I thought that I had six capsules for the four different tests. It turned out that I had only five for the PH test.

The results are as follows:

#1 - PH 7     Nitrogen - N1 Deficient   Phosphorus- Low P2 Adequate   Potash - K3 Sufficient

#2 - PH 7.2   Nitrogen - NO Depleted   Phosphorus- Low P2 Adequate   Potash - K4 Surplus

#3 - PH 7      Nitrogen - N1 Deficient   Phosphorus- P2 Adequate     Potash - K3 Sufficient

#4 - PH 6.8   Nitrogen - N1 Deficient    Phosphorus- P2 Adequate    Potash - K3 Sufficient

#5 - PH 6.8   Nitrogen - N1 Deficient    Phosphorus- Low P2 Adequate   Potash - K3 Sufficient

#6 - PH ?     Nitrogen - N1 Deficient     Phosphorus - Low P2 Adequate   Potash - K2 Adequate

The PH at the plots is higher then what I have here at the house, but good overall. Potash is good with the exception of one test where it is a bit high. All samples were a bit low but considered adequate for phosphorus. As you can see the Nitrogen is very low every where. So, it looks like we need compost, dried blood and bone meal at the plots.

Later in the season, I will most likely send soil samples to Penn State for a more accurate and complete test.


  1. You're such a good gardener! I've never taken a soil test, I just dig in the compost and go ;-)

  2. Granny, I never tested the soil here until last year. When we started the beds here, I put in a good mixed soil and just kept adding compost. Since I am not planning to buy soil, just add lots of free manure compost, I thought that I better check it.

  3. I've never tested my soil either. I do think it's something I'll do this year tho...I'm planting blueberries and I know they need an acid soil...that's something I'll have to create.

  4. All and all those tests did not come back to bad. Very workable.

  5. You can also plant legumes!! Love Fava beans for fixing Nitrogen in the soil.

  6. Lynda, I really thought it was necessary to test the soil over there since I had no idea what has gone on there.

    Jane, I'm not unhappy with the results. I figured the nitrogen would be low since the previous gardeners did not seem to really tend the plots.

    Patricia, It would have been great if I got the plots in the fall. I could have just cover cropped the whole place with legumes. But, I have other things to plant there this year.

  7. Not a bad set of results, really. That is easy to amend. I'm looking forward to all of your blog posts on your new plot!

  8. It seems that with a little amending you will be fine. It is good to know where you stand.

  9. Nitrogen levels can be corrected easily with some good crop rotation and compost. I think it is pretty good soil.

  10. Lynn, I should have taken some pictures of the soil. It looked much better then I expected. I am planning a little clean-up trip over there today. It is supposed to be sunny with temps in the high 30's.

    Rachel, I agree, I feel much better knowing where I stand with the soil.

    Ana, I hope that our temperatures get warmer so I can go get a couple of loads of manure compost soon. I have a friend who has a farm and I get get all I need as soon as it is warm enough. Last year I wasn't able to get it until later in March.

  11. It sounds like you have enough information there to make the necessary ammendments. If you add minor nutrients, just in case, you should be all set!

  12. One more thing I would want to know and that would be the % of organic matter. Of course adding the compost will boost that as well as the nutrient levels. And working in whatever is covering the plots will add to it. All in all it sounds like you're at a pretty good starting point.

  13. Villager, The soil was pretty dark and not a lot of clay, which was a surprise. So, I think it's not a bad start. Once I add manure compost and some bone meal and dried blood it should do OK if not better. I know it will take a couple of years to get the soil the way I want it to be.


Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!