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Help Me Interpret My Soil Report Please. :-)

 
Josiah Garber
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I got a soil report and I'm not sure where to go from here. I understand the ph is too high, any recommendations on what I should do? It is about a 1/4 acre plot.

The high ph explains why kale is one of the only things that did well.

See attached Soil Report.

Thanks for your help everyone.
Filename: Josiah Garber-Soil-20130911-49503-1.pdf
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File size: 13 Kbytes
[Download Josiah Garber-Soil-20130911-49503-1.pdf] Download Attachment
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Howdy Josiah. It says your PH is 7.3. That is neutral on a scale from acid to alkaline. So that looks good to me.

http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&p=ph%20scale%20chart&type=

Just start adding as much organics as you can . Hugels are good. what type of ground cover do you have there?
 
Adam Klaus
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I'd say it looks pretty good to me. pH 7.3 is no problem, definitely not the cause of any crop failures. I have a similar pH, and I grow pretty much all market vegetables no problem.

The two biggest deficiencies, which happen to be mine as well, are sulphur and boron. I would add some tiger 90 soil sulfur, some gypsum (which will boost calcium a bit too), and some borax laundry detergent.

Get Steve Solomon's book The Intelligent Gardiner to compute the exact quantities of each. Your copper is a little low also, check his reccomendations on that as well, it is easy to ammend.

Really you soil sample looks allright to me. Nothing is perfect, so dont sweat it. The biggest problems in soil mineralization are excesses, which for you seem to only be potassium. The potassium will get displaced easily with the increase in sulfur levels, so that is easy to deal with. Good job getting a soil test, you never know what you have until you test.

hope that helps, good luck!
 
John Elliott
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I agree with Adam that it looks pretty good, but I'm not too keen on using borax to increase the amount of boron. I favor using boric acid and adding it directly to compost teas. You can buy boric acid cheap at the dollar store as roach poison and it comes in a nice plastic squeeze bottle that will squirt out a gram or so of it as a dust. One shot in a 5 gallon bucket of compost tea is all you need.

The reason I favor this method is that boron doesn't translocate that well in plant tissues. That means that you need to apply it to growing parts of the plant in the spring to get the best results. Boron is crucial for fruit set in a lot of plants, and boron deficiency in spring flowering season means a poor harvest of apples, pears, and plums later in the year. A foliar (oops, better call it a bare-branch) feeding when the buds begin to swell in spring is your best weapon to combat this nutrient deficiency.
 
Adam Klaus
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Hi John-
Curious about the best way to apply boron. I just read in Intelligent Gardiner that boron is the one nutrient NOT taken in by the plant stomata, and as such is not useful as a foliar. Solomon said, IIRC, that boron must be taken up through the roots of the plant. I have been lightly dusting boron on the soil in the fall, having it slowly percolate deeper into the soil during the winter snow season. There has been a definite increase in soil ppm of Boron, and much less indications of boron deficiency in my plants. So just curious about your understanding that boron would best be applied to the ariel parts of fruit trees.
Thanks, Adam
 
John Elliott
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This paper talks about how plant species rich in sorbitol (plums, apples and pears) can translocate boron from leaves to nearby fruit. I thought I had this technique down last year when my compost tea with boric acid doused pear tree had a crop of fruit so heavy that it weighed down all the branches, but this year's fruit harvest was pretty poor. I guess I let up and didn't splash enough on. Comes next February, I'm going to be out every week with the boric acid compost tea sprinkling every leaf as it opens up.
 
Adam Klaus
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Excellent link John, thanks. Good to know.

 
Sean Banks
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I would get some green sand or rock dust....add a little bit to each hole when you plant. That should take care of all your deficiencies.
 
Adam Klaus
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Sean Banks wrote:I would get some green sand or rock dust....add a little bit to each hole when you plant. That should take care of all your deficiencies.


I disagree. Greensand is a potassium source, and potassium is in excess already.

Excesses are more problematic than deficiencies, which is why we need to ammend intelligently with targeted minerals.
 
Edith Stacey
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Location: Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada
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I totally agree with Adam that "Excesses are more problematic than deficiencies, which is why we need to amend intelligently with targeted minerals."
As I think Steve Solomon (author of the Intelligent Gardener amongst other books) suggests, dealing with excesses is about "as easy as getting too much salt out of the stew" .
Actually likely harder--adding lots of potatoes and some sugar can ofttimes redeem an over-salted soup/stew or casserole.

As to Boron issues--you often see hollow stems in commercial broccoli in the store, which I was taught was a clear sign off a boron deficiency, and I've observed it in both conventional and organic produce on offer, so interpret that to indicate a widespread nutrient deficiency with commercial produce.

I know when I did Graeme Sait's course in 2009, he used a phrase: "Calcium is the trucker of all minerals and boron is the steering wheel." Also, there is a link on his site about the foliar feed 'controversy', at

http://www.nutri-tech.com.au/blog/2009/02/seminar-field-day-boosting-avocados/
This article is mostly about Avocadoes and in a different climate, but the underlying principle remains the same--Boron is a very important trace mineral.

For what it's worth, I'd actually rank Graeme at or maybe even above some of my permaculture teachers in knowledge and passion for sharing it.
He has a company(in Australia) producing products more targeting existing farmers and growers looking to change for various reasons than smaller operations where permaculturists are more likely to be found.
He recently ran a course in Ontario, Canada too and is high demand internationally.
If anyone is interested in his work (I'm in no way connected, just grateful that he's working and teaching still) there is a good 20 minute TED talk of his at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q1VnwcpW7E

Humus.....human....humility
Food for thought

Maybe deserves a new/fresh thread.

Edith

 
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