The Potager

The Potager

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Soil Test

I bought a home soil test kit at Lowes, $10.00 for 10 tests. I figured, what did I have to lose?
I took samples from three beds, one that I will plant my peppers in, one that I will plant my tomatoes in and the new one in the perennial/herb garden that will house a squash plant or two and is filled with dump dirt.
I spent about 15 minutes removing the leaves and twigs from the dump dirt, and only about five minutes from the Potager dirt. First thing I learned - I need more organic material in the Potager soil. I let the soil dry for 12 hours.
The Ph test was fairly simple and quick with results. All three soil samples were 7.0, which is good, because vegetable gardens should be between 6.0 and 7.0.
So far so good.

The next test was for Nitrogen - the N in the NPK you see on fertilizer packages.


 It was supposed to turn a shade of pink.

I did not see any pink.

Either the test is wrong, or I need nitrogen. I'll add manure to the beds. I am not totally trusting the kit.

The Phosphorus test (the P in NPK)worked beautifully. The tomato bed was medium and the other two beds were both low.

The Potassium test (the K in NPK) was a bit harder to read. I'm thinking the Potager beds were medium and the dump dirt was high.

This was from the future pepper bed. You have to compare the black color through the cloudiness of the mixture. I thought medium. Do you agree?

So what did I learn?  I guess if you are really concerned about your soil you should take a soil sample to the agricultural center in your county and spend the money for a proper test.
I will go easy on the lime this year, since my Ph seems fine. I'll add manure for the nitrogen and continue to feed the seedlings with the fish emulsion, which is a 5-2-2 fertilizer. I may add a little bone meal to the soil to up it's phosphorus. I'll add compost to get more organic material in my soil.
In other words, I'll do what I was planning on doing anyway.
But maybe I'll run one more test after I amend the soil and see if the results change, to make sure the test is working.
I'm linking this post to the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage

1 comment:

  1. stopping by from an Oregon Cottage, I sure with my potager looked like yours!