Monday, March 30, 2009

Soil Testing

With the preparation of so much new garden space, I learned that soil testing is a good idea. In the past, I have tested my soil with the do-it-yourself kits you can get at a hardware store. It is unclear how accurate these tests are, so this time, I am going to get the soil sampled at a professional lab... with my University Extension service.

If you are in MN, you can find all the information you need for a soil test at here. Each sample costs $15, and you get a reading on phosphorus, potassium, pH and lime requirement, percent organic matter and estimated texture category. They will also recommend which "crops" will grow well in your soil, or recommended amendments for what you plan to plant. Seems like a good deal to me!

Our results came back pretty much as expected: We have alkaline soil, with a pH of about 7.0. We have a decent amount of organic matter in it, but it is recommended that we add phospate. (Phospate is the middle number in the plant nutrient breakdown you see on packages.) We also need to grow our blueberries in pots. To get our soil acidic enough to grow blueberries would require "heroic measures" in the terms of the Extension office. But, in pots, a few bags of peat moss should do the trick!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

That is so interesting. Thanks for the tip!

-S