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Just got back my soil reports for 2 of my fields

 
Posts: 97
Location: South Mississippi
18
hugelkultur hunting homestead
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I just got my test results back from Mississippi State University. From first look it looks like my soil is in good shape and just needs some minor tweeking but I want to share it and see what others here think I may need or might have better ways to tweek them.

Here is what it said about field 1 (1 acre)....

pH- 6.6
P - 303 lbs/acre which they said was Very High
K - 283 lbs/acre which they said was High
CA- 1674
MG- 182 lbs/acre which they said was Very High
S - 288 lbs/acre which they said was High
ZN- 11.5 lbs/acre which they said was Very High
Na- 29
CEC- 6.1
OM- 2 (my soil is sandy so this is why both cation Ion exchange and organic mater are low compared to a clay type soil)

So by my estimations me adding my normal 5-7 tons of composted chicken manure, some bone and wood ash and disking in my clover I grew all winter and is now 2-3 feet tall I should be good in this field for almost any crop I grow, this field will have peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes mostly, some flowers that attract good bugs and repel pests too will be mixed in the field too.

Here is my soil test from my 2nd acre field...

pH- 6.0 ( a little low but is this low enough to need lime ??? )
P - 145 lbs/acre which they said was Very High
K -173 lbs/acre which they said was High  ( I'm thinking of adding some wood ash to this field so it may help with both the pH and K, I have about 300 hundred lbs of wood ash and about 200 lbs of burnt chicken and bone ash )

(NOTE**** this ash is from chickens but everything is just a white powder ash, no solid bones or meat is left)

CA- 778
Mg- 65 lbs/acre which they said was High
S - 216 lbs/acre which they said was High
Zn- 3.1 lbs/acre which they said was High
Na- 31
CEC- 4.4
%OM- 1.5

So here again I had my clover over the winter and will disk this under along with 200 lbs of pelletized lime (w/ Mg too) and put 5-7 tons of manure and add some ash in for the K (potash). This acre will have mostly okra in it, with some corn too, might even add some pole beans to run up both of these tall crops and do the 3 sisters and plant squash to keep soil temps down in summer and help retain moisture.

My 3rd field (not quite an acre, closer to 3/4 because of trees) is in clover and I'm letting it rest this year and stay in clover the whole year as I do crop rotation between these 3 fields. Because its not having a cash crop on it I didn't test it but both my other fields were about the same last year so I'm pretty sure this field is also the same and is close to what the 2n'd fields results were both last year and this year. I'll test it this winter so next spring when I rotate my tomatoes n peppers here it should be ready to go by then...

So am I correct? will doing this every year help to raise the CEC and OM as I'm thinking the tons of OM from the clover every year and the manure should help this.
Any advice, tips, tricks? What would you do different if in my shoes ???

Thanks, Chris.....
 
Posts: 319
Location: South Central Kansas
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Didn't see any nitrogen numbers in your list.

For a higher cation exchange maybe look into biochar?

Easy to make.

Great for sandy soils!

Oh and it is a permanent amendment. Lasts 100 to 50,000 years from what I read.

 
pollinator
Posts: 3113
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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My recommendation is to add organic matter like woodchip/mulch and not ash/mineral to increase organic matter/CEC. I really like the idea of adding biochar esp for southeast USA.
 
C Rogers
Posts: 97
Location: South Mississippi
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hugelkultur hunting homestead
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Kai Walker wrote:Didn't see any nitrogen numbers in your list.

For a higher cation exchange maybe look into biochar?

Easy to make.

Great for sandy soils!

Oh and it is a permanent amendment. Lasts 100 to 50,000 years from what I read.

I agree and am adding biochar also.

Here in Mississippi they don't test for nitrogen as high temperatures and humidity causes nitrogen to turn into a gas rapidly so by time they test it and by time you can or need to add nitrogen the test results could be massively different than actually needed.

From what they say, the fixation (balanza) clover I use as winter cover crop can add up to over 5000 lbs. of biomass and up to 150+ lbs. of nitrogen per acre. I'm also looking into adding some cotton seed meal if I need extra nitrogen.
 
C Rogers
Posts: 97
Location: South Mississippi
18
hugelkultur hunting homestead
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S Bengi wrote:My recommendation is to add organic matter like woodchip/mulch and not ash/mineral to increase organic matter/CEC. I really like the idea of adding biochar esp for southeast USA.


The ash in field 2 is to add K (potassium), not organic matter.

The manure 5-7 tons, and the clover 2.5 tons of biomass disked under is what I was referring to adding organic matter to each field.
 
Kai Walker
Posts: 319
Location: South Central Kansas
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Know anyone with a lot of goats?
High nitrogen, slow release.

Many goat owners have trouble getting rid of the stuff they have so much.
Once dried, it makes nice little smell free easy to spread fertilizer pellets.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/manures/goat-manure-fertilizer.htm
 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 3113
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Both field 1 and field 2 have too much potassium, so I would not add more potassium.
For now I recommend only adding carbon/woodchip/etc to bring up your CEC and the right soil life to make what little minerals you have more bio-available to the plants.

I wish there was a easy way to buy $4/40lbs bales of straw and turn them into biochar. As biochar it would probably only weigh 10lbs)
 
Kai Walker
Posts: 319
Location: South Central Kansas
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Doesn't potatoes love high potassium?
If so maybe plant those for a year?

 
C Rogers
Posts: 97
Location: South Mississippi
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S Bengi wrote:Both field 1 and field 2 have too much potassium, so I would not add more potassium.
For now I recommend only adding carbon/woodchip/etc to bring up your CEC and the right soil life to make what little minerals you have more bio-available to the plants.

I wish there was a easy way to buy $4/40lbs bales of straw and turn them into biochar. As biochar it would probably only weigh 10lbs)



Actually the way MSU ranks nutrients is Very Low, Low, Medium, High, Very High, Excessive and Toxic.

So I'm at least not in the excessive to toxic levels with "P" and they actually recommended adding some by their own suggestions. But they DON"T list additions organically. Nor do they do suggestions with intensive farming, they only think farmers in Mississippi will grow by normal farming practices. With my intensive farming and growing organically I need to adjust some of what they recommend. But YES the composted chicken breeder houses manure I use has a high ratio of N-P-Ca and some trace minerals too compared to most other fertilizers. Now this high ratio doesn't mean it is super high by weight (IE I would still need to use tons of manure compared to just a few hundred pounds of triple super phosphate to have the same amounts of "P" per acre.) but it also means I still do need to add some manure to my fields to keep them from depleting BUT I also need to be sure NOT to use too much to instead of maintaining the phosphorus levels and instead add to much causing it to increase to excessive or even toxic levels. This also means I need to add a diversity of things to maintain or even increase levels of some of the other nutrients. This is where I need to be careful. Also wood chips that are not already composted would actually be harmful to my fields because till they are fully composted they need added nitrogen to cause them to compost and would actually reduce the amount of nitrogen available for my cash crops causing me to spend way more to add nitrogen to not only levels needed for my crops but also enough to compost the wood chips. Without knowing exact amounts needed for the woodchips I could be adding too much or too little for my cash crops causing them to be lower in production. This would increase my overhead AND possibly LOWER my production also causing a reduction in income, both of which is harmful to my farm. For that reason I do NOT add wood chips to anything but my compost pile. I may be able to get free to really cheap rotten hay and add that to my fields but grass seed would then possibly be an issue and depending who grew the hay it may even have things like 2-4-D or grazon herbicides used in them also causing issues to my fields. Now the biochar I can easily make (if I can ever find a cheep source of a 30 gallon metal barrels) as I already have some 55 gallon barrels. If I can find the 30 gallon ones I could then easily make something to make biochar and could use the trees I cleared off my farmland and even get much more as I plan on clearing another 2 acres of most of the hardwood on them too, but I need to acquire a sawmill before I do that as I was planning on using the main parts of those trees to build a barn and add hardwood oak, maple, cherry and poplar flooring to my house too. I would then use the branches off those trees to make biochar. But before you think of little twigs I had one water oak that was over 100' tall and the first branches were over 75' up and over 24" in diameter (some of my branches are bigger than many trees). I am not planning on this for at least a year or more but I am already marking which trees to cut to best keep some shade on my house but also best ones to cut down to clear for sunlight to hit maximum amounts of my crop fields. I also want some medium sized trees near my pond for shade for me and my fish in our hot summers but also don't want too many as they will eventually choke out and kill a pond if left to mother nature. So just like my fertilizer plan I need to find a good compromise and plan it well. But that plan is for another post and discussion :)

But to explain about intensive farming, or what some call intensive gardening, it is when instead of say planting corn 12" apart in rows and having 3' between each row. I instead have 48" wide rows that I plant corn 12" apart and each row is also 12" apart in the 48" bed. You still do what the plant needs in spacing "in row" but instead of wasting space with multiple feet between rows you instead plant the rows the same distance as what they recommend "in row spacing" to be. Another example is my onions which they say to plant 3-4 inches apart IN ROW and have 2-3 feet between rows I instead plant my rows 3-4 inches apart and the onions 3-4 inches apart IN ROW. Also I would suggest to make the beds 36-48 inches wide so that if you can't reach every plant from one side you can reach from the other side but to make the beds as wide as possible to reduce the number of walking paths needed thus increasing the overall amount of actual growing space per acre (or whatever size garden you have). This increases the amount of harvest you get and lowers the amount of wasted water and fertilizer needed. Now it will also increase the total amounts of fertilizer BUT this increase is because of the massive amounts of increased harvest. To show what I mean the average 1 row of carrots planted in 1 row 100' long, requires a total of 500 square feet but only grows 600 carrots (2 inch spacing)(this is 1 row and having 2' of walking space on each side of that row). Now to grow intensively you only need a 48" wide bed 5 feet long to produce 660 carrots with a total square footage of 40 square feet ( 4' wide x 5' long with 2 foot walking paths on both sides of it. That means your growing 10 times the harvest on the same square footage so you may waist less fertilizer per square foot you will need to add more per square footage but NOT 10 time that amount so your overall cost of each carrot (or whatever else) is WAY lower though your overall cost on fertilizer is 2 time that of normal farming practices but as said your harvest is over 10 times normal practices. This also lowers your need for weeding as intensive farming/gardening also reduces the sunlight under the crops so you don't have as much weed pressure, this doesn't mean I don't weed, but I do weed far less than I used to and usually after the cash crops grow enough canopy I then don't weed at all for that crop.
 
Kai Walker
Posts: 319
Location: South Central Kansas
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Don't Tomatoes like a lot of 'P'?

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/correct-high-phosphorus-levels-soil-28597.html
 
C Rogers
Posts: 97
Location: South Mississippi
18
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Kai Walker wrote:Don't Tomatoes like a lot of 'P'?

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/correct-high-phosphorus-levels-soil-28597.html



Yes and so does potatoes like you said but I'm NOT growing 3 acres of each in my fields to sell at local markets. Field 1 will be split with 5 different types of heirloom tomatoes and 4 types of hot peppers and 2 types of sweet to sweet w/ a little heat peppers. Then in the fall I plan on growing red, purple/black, yellow, white and orange colored carrots, and clover over the winter.

Field 2 will have 2 types of okra (one is maroon in color, other is Clemson spineless okra) in the summer and greens in the fall, spinach, mustard, collards, turnips. And again clover in the winter months to early spring.

Field 3 has Fixation (balanza clover) in it now and I'm letting it go to seed so I don't need to buy seed this fall, after seeding I'll cut it down and plant beans, 3 types (red beans, crowder peas, and black eyed peas) (though they call them peas they are actually a bean from Africa originally). And then hopefully the fixation will re-seed in fall, if not I'll plant a winter clover there too.

But according to my research the tomatoes, peppers and even the okra will need some (25-50 lbs of actual "P") per acre. Note actual is different than listed in a fertilizer, example if they had a 0-50-0 fert (only "P") I would need 100 lb of it to supply 50 actual lbs of "P" OR 1 ton of chicken manure (breeder house type) to supply 50-60 actual lbs of P, but I would then also be adding 35-40 lbs of "N", but only 12-15 lbs of fast acting, water soluble "N" the rest is slow release "N", I'd also be adding 28-40 lbs of "K", 80-150 lbs of "Ca", 6-8 lbs of "Mg" etc... and here again is where I need to be careful as adding manure in correct amounts for 1 thing means either not enough of another or too much of something else. I do know that though they say chicken manure is high in "N" it is also high in other nutrients too so I can't use it to be my main supply of "N", but that is where my cotton seed meal and clover kick in. Also my "K" levels are low in soil and also the ratio of "K" in the manure is low also so I need a different amendment to fix that besides the manure. This is where my potash, cases and cases of rotten bananas I get from local food banks (most call this pig bread) as tons of moldy bread is also given by the local food banks. This is also a tip for those wanting to make a compost pile, slop pigs, or make a worm bed is to visit local food banks and ask about them giving you any rotten food they may have. I also visit coffee shops for free grinds too... Just be prepared to either add many boxes and plastic wrappers to trash or in my case used in burning things as fuel for making biochar. (before you ask, NO the plastic can NOT get to the biochar and contaminate it).
 
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