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Soil report from Logans Lab, what would you do?  RSS feed

 
Troy Rhodes
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I got a soil test done at Logan's lab, and now I'm deciding what to do about it.

I'm high on magnesium, a little low on calcium and definitely low on potassium.

It's all been managed organically, primarily with compost, shredded paper, horse manure and spot treatment with "liquid gold" (that's diluted human urine for those that don't know.)

Most stuff grows pretty well, with a few notable exceptions. Blueberries are very unhappy, the soil was amended with ~33% peat moss. I later added a soil acidifier and it didn't seem to help at all.

Brassicas, not so happy either. Looks like "failure to thrive", not particularly pest damage. Corn, very happy, tomatoes, very happy, rhubarb, very happy, sunflowers, beans, peas, beets, potatoes, all happy.


Here's the actual results:

desired actual
Calcium 875 806 (in pounds per acre)
magnesium 100 140
potassium 100 64


In "base saturation":



calcium 60-70 62
mag 10-20 18
potas 2-5 2.5


my aluminum is 496 ppm, which is unlikely to be a problem, especially after I add calcium/lime



I intend to add some calcium, but obviously not magnesium, so staying away from dolomitic lime.

My own personal tests suggest that the top foot of soil is 60% sand, 47% silt and 3% clay. Below that, there is some significant amounts of clay, but nothing excessive.



Anything jump out at you?

What's your favorite organic source of calcium and potash?

Thanks in advance,

troy
 
Cee Ray
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Location: BC Interior, zone 5a
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what else does the test say?


how much land are you planning to ammend?
 
John Polk
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Probably the best organic source of both calcium and potash would be wood ashes:

From Wikipedia:

Wood ash contains calcium carbonate as its major component, representing 25 or even 45 percent.
Less than 10 percent is potash, and less than 1 percent phosphate;
there are trace elements of iron, manganese, zinc, copper and some heavy metals.


For a long time wood ash has been used in agricultural soil applications as it recycles nutrients
back to the land. Wood ash has some value as a fertilizer, but does not contain nitrogen. Because
of the presence of calcium carbonate it acts as a liming agent and will deacidify the soil increasing its pH.


However, it will sweeten your soil (raise the pH). Your blueberries will not like that, as they demand an acid soil.
 
Cee Ray
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wood ash is best integrated into a new compost pile, rather than adding directly to the soil.
 
Leila Rich
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Cee Ray wrote:Wood Ash is best integrated into a new compost pile, rather than adding directly to the soil.

I've read the direct opposite, but couldn't find any nice, official references in a hurry. Basically as far as I know, ashes' high ph interferes with the compost bacteria and makes nitrogen gas-off as ammonia.
It's generally recommended to throw out a fine layer of (dry) ash and water it in.
I need to do more research
 
Cee Ray
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That's why it's a good idea to use no more than 5kg of ash per cubic meter of heap; at that relatively low dosage the microbes and bugs can integrate it into the humus. Much higher and it can lead to a collapse of the humic structure.
 
Kay Bee
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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the addition of calcium will probably make your blueberries even less happy. stick with the peat moss addition for them and keep them watered very regularly through the warm season.

For the rest, if the plants are happy, I wouldn't ammend at all other than general sheet composting.

The brassicas can be more complicated. In general for them, I would just suggest boosting overall fertility.
 
tel jetson
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was there no test for phosphorus? both an excess and a deficiency of phosphorus can cause problems. that you've been adding manures and composts and urine suggests that you are unlikely to have a deficiency.

excess phosphorus can be a tough one because it doesn't really leave since it's not generally very soluble. might be something to look into if nothing else jumps out at you. seems strange that a lab wouldn't test for it.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Phosphorus, as measured by the Melich III method, reads 78 pounds per acre.

pH was 6.3


Finest regards,

troy
 
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