Sunday, April 7, 2013

Testing Soil and the Soil Analysis Report

I got my analysis back from the Soil Testing Lab at UMass a couple of weeks ago. 

The form for the test can be found here:

Every thing looks good for the perennial bed, but the vegetable garden needs some adjustment.  The report said the soil pH is 6.1 and that I should add dolomitic (magnesium rich) limestone - which I did this weekend.  The report says to add the lime as early as possible prior to planting.  Planting is still 2 months away.

I used 45 lbs., or 15 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. My plot is roughly 300 sq. ft.  I poured the rest of the 50 lb. bag into the other bed, which is 32 sq. ft.
I also need to add about 15 lbs. of 5-10-10 fertilizer to the large vegetable bed, and 4.8 lbs to all the smaller beds. I can also use this for annual flowers and roses.  See the report for details.  Should be done in early spring... now.

4/19/13 - UPDATE
I bought a 5-10-10 that was recommended at Sixteen Acres Garden Center, but when I got it home and started to apply it, I read on the bag that it possibly causes cancer, as well as birth defects - in the state of California! Well, I guess it would cause those problems here in the state of Massachusetts, too!  So I decided not to use it and look for some organic sources of nutrients, instead.  One thing we learned again and again in WMMGA - READ THE LABEL!!  I guess I need work on this.

Anyway, the soil report said to add 1 bushel of manure per 100 square feet.  My large garden is 300 sq. ft., and the smaller gardens add up to almost 200 sq. ft.  It turns out that a bushel of manure weighs roughly 75 pounds.  So off to Home Depot I go, and bought 12 25-lb bags of the stuff.  Again - READ THE LABEL!!!  When I got home, I discovered that only have of the material in the bag was actually manure.  The other 49% was peat moss, etc.  I used it anyway.

I also added blood meal (nitrogen), bone meal (phosphorus) and wood ash (potassium).  I used the recommendations on the UMass soil report.

I spent the last 2 days finishing the large garden bed.  I still have the smaller ones to do.  I'm taking a break because my back is breaking.

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