I'm located in Vancouver, WA 98682, I believe zone 8b. My property is sloped East/West, 5 acres, old pasture land with very few trees. We have thick hard clay, filled with volcanic rocks, very hard to dig.
There are 3 tests on the attachment. The first is labeled ORC. This is the unamended pasture land that I'm turning into a orchard. I've been putting wood chips down, so it's progressing.
The second is Veg, my vegetable garden, about 1000 sq ft, fenced.
The third is HM. This is a sample from a giant mound of composted horse manure next door. I use it as amendment. Lately, to avoid digging the clay, I've been placing bushes and small trees in the ORC directly onto the broad forked pasture and burying in the manure. I have also used it as soil in raised beds.
My questions are-
1. Do I need to add sulfur? I've been watching Living Web Farms videos on Youtube and checked out Dan Kittredge. He recommends 75 ppm sulfur.
2. I'm guessing that both the ORC and HM need gypsum for Calcium and Sulfur?
of your three sample areas the ORC is the most disturbing. First off, why didn't you take a sample at a depth of at least 6 inches like the other two?
Sulfur is an acidic amendment, ORC's pH indicates a pH of 5.8, unless you are going to grow blue berries or some other acid loving plant, you sure don't want to add more acidity. Gypsum and agricultural lime will bring it up to the 6.5-6.8 ideal pH for most plants and trees.
P is a little low but that might come up once you raise the pH level, I would hold off on any amendment there since your other two tests showed good P numbers.
Ca is low, bone meal would be a good amendment for that. Mg is low Epsom Salts will take care of that.
other than those, the Aluminum is fairly high, that will come down from the other additions, so no worries really at this point.
Get those amendments in and let it sit for around 3 months then take a new sample and get that run to see where everything is from that initial amendment cycle.
VEG only needs K added for now plus a little gypsum which will help everything else balance out closer to where it needs to be for optimum.
HM also needs to get the calcium up, and copper is a little low, cupric calcite would be a good amendment for that.
Thanks for your response, I've learned a lot from your posts.
Re soil depth of 4" , the clay and rocks were so thick, it was the most practical.
Re sulfur, I plan to grow trees. I keep reading 50-75 ppm is optimal and understand that it's acidic. I guess I'm just confused if that's true and if so, how to get there.
Re cupric calcite, I'm having trouble finding any info, can you point me in the right direction?
I've attached a few pics of how I planted directly into the composted manure (HM) directly on top of ORC soil. The wire is to keep the chickens out. I suppose they are adding their own fertilizer to the soil as time wears on. Should i amend these mounds directly with gypsum & copper?
If that's as deep as you can dig, then it will have to do.
If you need more sulfur for your trees, their leaves will tell you. I usually wait for my trees to tell me what I need to add.
Most trees (except the conifers) don't like acidic soils, they really want something in the barely acidic soil levels (6.5 - 6.8) get your pH into that realm and you might find your trees have all the sulfur they need.
One of my favorite go to amendments is gypsum, it is like a slow release vitamin for the soil organisms. Copper is rather tricky unless you use a copper salt (see the link at the top).