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My first soil test  RSS feed

 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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I would just like a little input Im pretty sure I understand what I need to do but would still like a second opinion on the results, I am really just trying to increase the production of the garden.
Filename: report-draco1359@yahoo.com.pdf
File size: 35 Kbytes
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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they say phosphorus is extremely high, so I need to increase nitrogen and potassium , but how is that going to correct high phosphorus
 
John Saltveit
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This seems like a very unusual report. It seems that you have very high amounts of many nutrients. Have you been adding a lot of amendments? First thing is to get nitrogen, use convenient, free resources first, like when you need to pee, go in the yard. Also, chickens can help with that, composting your food scraps also. Animal manure is a great way to get N, depending on your lifestyle.
John S
PDX OR
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Every year all the leaves from the trees go in the garden and a couple times a year a couple of bags of grass clippings go in and one time I put in a bag of azomite rock dust but thats all I do.
So is this saying my soil is to rich?
 
John Saltveit
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I'm not saying that necessarily. I was more saying that it is surprisingly rich if I'm reading it right. Do the H and EH stand for High and extremely high? I don't have values memorized, and the test format is strikingly different from the one I took. I was hoping that someone who has taken many soil tests and knows more about this would chime in.
John S
PDX OR
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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You are correct about the symbols, Im guessing that the richness of the soil came from the dense red clay that my garden was started on because the only thing that is constantly added were the leaves and grass clippings which they said was probably the cause of the high phosphorus, but yes I am hoping to get a couple more opinions on the results of this test.
 
Ken Peavey
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I'd think root crops would do well.
 
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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This soil test highlights one of the failings of a standard soil test. The test determines the bioavailable nutrients at the time of testing, not necessarily the nutrients that would become available in a growing season with the biological activity of the micro-organisms in the soil as a slow release. The Haney test would tell you better. Any permaculture or organic farmer that uses biology to maintain fertility instead of outside inputs should use the Haney test.

However, just guessing by what you described, you have pretty good soil for a garden! That's a good thing. You just need to use a companion plant polyculture with plenty of legumes. (be sure to inoculate with both nitrogen fixers and mycorrhizal fungi the first couple years. No more tilling if you have in the past.

I recommend you plant clover in all the pathways and between every row and control it by a combination of mowing and or mulching. Something similar to this: Productive polycultures or this: Living mulches
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Thanks for taking a look scott I did till the ground for the first 2 years to break up the clay, a shovel would not even go an inch into the stuff, but the ground hasnt been tilled for the past 3 years now.this past year I did cover the area in clover and my plan was to weed eat the paths and I always try to companion plant but I havent gotten it balanced with the best use of the space, Soooo does this mean I should just keep the nitrogen up and see what happens this year? And a little extra info if worms or a indicator of soil health I could start a worm farm my soil is swarming with the little guys.
 
Scott Strough
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cameron johnson wrote:Thanks for taking a look scott I did till the ground for the first 2 years to break up the clay, a shovel would not even go an inch into the stuff, but the ground hasnt been tilled for the past 3 years now.this past year I did cover the area in clover and my plan was to weed eat the paths and I always try to companion plant but I havent gotten it balanced with the best use of the space, Soooo does this mean I should just keep the nitrogen up and see what happens this year? And a little extra info if worms or a indicator of soil health I could start a worm farm my soil is swarming with the little guys.
If your soil is swarming with worms you absolutely are not low on nitrogen. The nitrogen might be locked in biology, but it is there. The worst thing in the world you could do is add nitrogen at this point. (legumes and nitrogen fixers is all you need)

Remember, nitrogen is protein, as it decays it becomes plant available. But a living worm or bacteria or protozoa or fungus is alive. It doesn't show up as "available nitrogen", but it is there for sure. Soon as the biology of the soil dies and gets eaten by others, and they die and get eaten by others, and so on and so on, nitrogen and other nutrients gets released slowly over time(called scientifically mineralization). This is how nature generally fertilises. The times a roaming bison just happened to pee directly on a spot are rare. Usually it's the microbiology poop cycle that supplies nitrogen to plants who then turn it back into protein by adding it to the products of photosynthesis. If you have a swarm of worms, then you have a swarm of worm poop! (castings) That means you got nitrogen whether it shows up on the test or not.

As long as you practise good permaculture principles from here on out, you shouldn't even have to actually "fertilise" ever again. Just keep up with the mulching around plants (got to keep feeding the worms) and always a living plant root in the soil, and maybe a bit of compost directly in a transplant hole of say a tomato, perennials in the aisles and between rows...you'll be good. The worms will do the rest! Muahahahahaha world domination by earthworms one garden at a time!
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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thanks again for the response Scott, yes my soil is full of worms if I dig a little hole say to put a new tomato plant in I usually have three or four worms just in that little area, so your saying that this garden by what i've told you and the results of the test that I should keep on with the mulching when needed and compost for whatever plants will benefit from it and this garden should be coming around at anytime now? Now I have one more question then Ill let this one rest, down here in mid alabama it can get very hot upper 90s to 100+ on and off for about two months during summer, I have talked to some who say they have two plantings one in spring and one in late summer because the heat is going to kill a lot of plants and our growing season is long enough to get a second harvest, now would something like shade fabric help during that time of year to keep the plants alive or is the two planting idea more logical or is there any other tricks that someone might know of to beat the heat, and by the way during that time the humidity is usually 60 to 80 percent so its kind of like we are just steaming or vegetables where they stand. Thanks again for everyone's advice.
 
Scott Strough
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Location: Oklahoma
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cameron johnson wrote:thanks again for the response Scott, yes my soil is full of worms if I dig a little hole say to put a new tomato plant in I usually have three or four worms just in that little area, so your saying that this garden by what i've told you and the results of the test that I should keep on with the mulching when needed and compost for whatever plants will benefit from it and this garden should be coming around at anytime now? Now I have one more question then Ill let this one rest, down here in mid alabama it can get very hot upper 90s to 100+ on and off for about two months during summer, I have talked to some who say they have two plantings one in spring and one in late summer because the heat is going to kill a lot of plants and our growing season is long enough to get a second harvest, now would something like shade fabric help during that time of year to keep the plants alive or is the two planting idea more logical or is there any other tricks that someone might know of to beat the heat, and by the way during that time the humidity is usually 60 to 80 percent so its kind of like we are just steaming or vegetables where they stand. Thanks again for everyone's advice.


Local advise on that is best. Here in OK I also get 100+ temps and I can grow long season veggies simply by planting sunflowers here and there combined with understory plants with high transpiration rates. Most my neighbors grow two seasons, spring and fall, because everything dies in the heat.

However, just because those permaculture principles work here in OK, doesn't mean that you too can also do the same. At some point too hot is simply too hot for some plants. So you'll have to figure out that sort of thing yourself, based on local conditions.
 
cameron johnson
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Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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I really like the sunflower idea I usually grow a row of sunflowers in the back of the garden, even if it doesnt work it probably wouldnt hurt to put a couple daps of shade around. Alright well thinks again for all the advice, now its time to sit back and ponder how im going to lay out my garden this year.
 
Scott Strough
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cameron johnson wrote:I really like the sunflower idea I usually grow a row of sunflowers in the back of the garden, even if it doesnt work it probably wouldnt hurt to put a couple daps of shade around. Alright well thinks again for all the advice, now its time to sit back and ponder how im going to lay out my garden this year.


Put it this way, your soil test is way way way better than mine were. After all in my trials I am developing a permaculture system to regenerate highly degraded soils without big inputs, that can profitably grow annual crops at the same time. I am growing a profitable crop on soil with a 1.4% carbon content, very deficient nitrogen, and slightly deficient potassium and phosphorus ! In Oklahoma with days supposedly too hot, and with nutrients supposedly too low to grow a crop, without inputs or irrigation. Practically everything bad. I have been told it is impossible by more than one expert. I use simple mulch and also living mulch between rows, combined with inoculating with beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi. My other plot that has had a couple years to regenerate 2.6% And about double the available nutrients. Still considered low though.

But think about it. Aren't all the permaculture greening the desert projects technically by conventional standards impossible? Yet they work. I am better off than a full desert here. So they better work for me too! And sure enough, when I tried them, it worked.

That just blows out of the water the myth that we can't survive without haber process nitrogen. Not only can we survive without it, we can regenerate the soil, make a profit, and year after year watch yields increase. Not setting any records here with yields, but just wait till the carbon reaches 6-10%!
 
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