Can anyone help me with understanding this report? The land is in North Alabama and according to the NRCS the soil is Colbert cherty silty clay loam. A total of 0.6 acres.
The vegetable garden is raised bed and I tilled in wood chips a year and half ago. I am putting down coffee grounds on the surface area before planting.
The Kiwi Pergola is the natural soil with some imported loamy soil brought in from the flood plain, when the house was built 15 years ago.
Asian Fruits are mostly Asian Pears and Asian Persimmons with some Pluots and plums. Same natural soil with loam on top.
Clay soils is a sample where I wanted to understand the gravely silty clay loam composition.
I took some samples in the Asian fruit area and looked through the microscope. Seems to have a lot of bacteria but almost no fungi. Only 2 samples taken. I will add another round of fungi focused compost tea.
Any recommendations on what I should be adding?
Hey Dennis, here’s my thoughts on your soil report. Overall, not too bad! If these were my soils, I would add copper sulfate to all of them, in a mild solution like 5lbs per acre, twice this year. Copper sulfate comes as a crystalline powder and dissolves in water. With some math, a pump sprayer of copper sulfate solution can be mixed and applied to your soils so a known amount is applied. I like to make additions like this on a day right before it rains so it gets further diluted and washed into the soil.
I would also add boron to all soils as well. Pick up some borax at the store. Borax is a mineral ore mined from the earth, and even though it’s sold next to the laundry detergent, it’s not a synthetic soap. Borax as a general rule contains 10% boron, and with some math again, you can figure out how much borax you need to add, targeting an addition of 2ppm. It doesn’t take much, and I like to again dissolve borax in water and apply it that way. Some math values to get you started on this - 1ppm of boron in one furrow slice acre (an acre 6 inches thick) is 1lb of actual boron, or 10lbs of borax, and with 43,560 sq. ft. in an acre, it’s easy to figure out how much you’ll need to apply to different areas. Borax dissolves much better in hot water than it does cold water. Also, online retailers and the co-op will have a liquid boron for agriculture, ready to dilute and use, maybe something to consider.
Phosphorous in the vegetable garden looks good, phosphorous everywhere else looks not so good. Soft rock phosphate is a great way to get some phosphorous into the soil, and since you’re in northern Alabama, perhaps consider a short drive to Columbia, TN and get a pickup truck load of brown rock phosphate right from the source. http://www.calsilcorp.com/tennessee-brown-rock/
And one more thing to do to add minerals, and here I'm referring to all the other minerals on the periodic table of elements that aren't listed on any soil analysis, is to add sea minerals! I like to use Sea-90. It's granular, readily dissolves in a rain shower, and is affordable. It does a soil good.
Aside from these, nurture those bacteria and fungi in the soil. The soil bacteria and fungi are what make all those elements available for plants, and without them, soil becomes lifeless and won’t grow anything. Redhawk has generously provided tons of information on how to increase the soil microbial life here: https://permies.com/p/637639
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
I am going to second James' recommendations, also you might want to add some fungi to the vegetable garden and some compost tea when you get it going well.
Those will start bringing more of the minerals in your soil to the plants. The sea-90 is an awesome product and you would only need to add it every few years or do a two year addition and forget it for the next 3 years.
Thank you Bryant Redhawk and James Freyr. I am starting to get confidence in gardening with help from you and the other Permies.
In a couple of weeks my area should be flooded with wood loving species that are mostly saprotrophsic for a slurry. Are these okay to use on Fruit Trees or should I stick with only Mycorrhizal and use Mycogrow?
Plant a seed and see if it grows. Some seeds do not grow well but others grow beyond your expectations.
The saprotrophsic fungi are perfectly acceptable for slurry making and distribution over all your areas.
Mycogrow is a great product and your fruit trees will benefit from that too.
I am a believer in getting as much, and different, organisms into the soil, mycorrhizae work and are very useful for most plants, trees, shrubs, bushes and even pastures.
Just don't forget the bacteria, they are the other side of the coin and the balancing of the two (bacteria and fungi) is key to having all your plants grow their best.
I like to keep the purchased items to as few as possible but I do have lots of different fungi in my forest to draw from.
I like that because I don't have to purchase a lot of bags of mycorrhizae, just a few for where I need to know exactly what is in those plots.