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Soil analysis

 
peter le grand
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Just got a pricelist from a nearby agriculture focused university for doing soil analysis. But I am wondering once I do this soil analysis, what to grow. What I am actually looking at is the following:

1. What is the most ideal soil composition? They for example will test pH, EC, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Fe, Cu. So what would be the ideal values of these measurements anyway.

2. What should I grow to get to good soil and thus good values?

Any suggestions? I just enjoy working on the land but don't know much about this kind of stuff.

Thanks,

Peter
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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peter le grand wrote:1. What is the most ideal soil composition? They for example will test pH, EC, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Fe, Cu. So what would be the ideal values of these measurements anyway.


Asking what is the ideal soil is kind of like asking what is the ideal location and weather for outdoor sports. There is no single answer. 20C with a light breeze on flat ground may be ideal for football, but is pretty terrible if you want to do downhill snow skiing. Figure out what is possible to grow in your area, then narrow that list down to the things you want to grow, and finally you can figure out what the ideal soil will be for the things you want to grow.
 
Michael Qulek
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I might add that not telling us your geographic location produces very little value in any potential response you might get. Sandy soil in Florida will get treated differently than a sandy soil in northern Michigan. If you want valuable, in-depth answers, you'll have to start out with an in-depth description. I'm talking about things like USDA zone, winter lows, summer highs, annual rainfall, the percentage of the rainfall during the growing season, ect. If you can't give substantial answers to the questions above, you might want to reconsider this whole undertaking.

Personally, I wouldn't bother paying money to have an analysis performed on my soil, when I can/have done it myself with a Home Depot test kit. Any discrepencies between the somewhat crude Home Depot results and a commercial test are likely to be lost in the noise of local weather variables.

Likewise, the things you want to grow will also have their own personal demands. What a cabbage wants is quite different from what a blueberry bush wants. In the real world, what you'll find is that you have to work with what you've got and you have to make very substantial changes to adapt your site to grow anything you can think of.
 
Scott Strough
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Location: Oklahoma
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If you do get a soil test done, and I do recommend it, think about getting a Haney test, explained here Soil Health and NPK:
 
Celia Revel
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Whats in your subsoil?
 
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