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Soil Test
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DanielW
Clark County, WA
458 Posts
(Offline)
1
December 9, 2015 - 6:59 pm

Here is my soil test result from this year.  I can't figure out how to attach pfd files to the forum, so will summarize below.  The soil tester was  simplysoiltesting.com in Burlington Washington.  Their reports seem very detailed and understandable.  The interpretation below is per their report.

Soil Test report

Phosphorus 227 ppm =  very high

Potassium 431 ppm = very high

Calcium 1405 ppm = high

Magnesium 222 ppm = high

Boron 0.7 ppm = medium

Sulfur 3.7 ppm = medium

Organic matter 8.8% = high

Soluble salts 0.14 mS/cm  low

Zinc 1.7 ppm = high

Manganese 4.0 ppm = very high (normal is 0.7 - 1.4)

Copper 0.7 ppm = high

Iron 46.5 ppm = very high (normal is 2.5 to 5.0)

pH 5.31 (3 years ago this was 5.05)

They don't test nitrogen, stating it is too transient.

They recommend lime 44 pounds per 1000 square feet - if mixing to 8 inches deep, or 11-14 pounds if scattered on soil surface, nitrogen 2.3 pounds per 1000 square feet, and small amounts of borax and sulfur supplements.  They give recommended amounts of organic supplements, which is what I requested, as either blood meal, Alaska fish fert (46 pounds per 1000 sq feet - could get expensive and stinky), organic urea, 5 pounds per 1000 sq feet.

 

When tested 3 years ago, most was similar but  the pH is higher.  I did spread lime at that time.  I have not used any fertilizer with more than a trace of P or K.  I think back then they stated calcium was also low, and at that time also recommended some borax similar to this time.  I did not supplement borax.

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John S
1020 Posts
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December 10, 2015 - 6:56 pm

That looks great, Daniel!  Your numbers would incite envy among many gardeners.

Remember that many of these minerals work in combination with each other, so too much of one will "push out" the other. You want a balance.  When they say that organic matter is high, it's not like that level will damage anything.  That's a great level.  It means that your soil can take the nutrients that come to it.

The only one that really appears off at first glance is ph, which is harder to correct with high calcium. Are there other ways to correct high ph?

John S
PDX OR

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
458 Posts
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3
December 10, 2015 - 8:50 pm

John, I learned a couple of lessons from the soil test.  And I agree with you completely about importance of balance.

I have read a number of times about adding potassium.  This soil already has more than enough.  Ditto for phosphorus.  It would be harmful to add those.  I've read about adding wood ashes.  those are very alkaline, which would help with acidity, but would overdo the potassium in my orchard.  So That is a good learning.

I dont know how harmful the acidity is.  Most of the trees seem to be growing vigorously.  Maybe the ones that have done poorly, were weakened by the acidity.  I dont know.  Maybe the high organic matter can buffer the effect of pH?

I thought before it was a luxury and not that important to get a soil test.  Now I see why it is recommended.

I dont know other ways to raise the pH, other than lime.  For users of peecycling, the urea is converted to ammonia, and is very alkaline.  But I dont know if the relatively small amount used will have a meaningful impact.  Also on that issue, soluble salts were low, so that's not a concern here.

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Frankmc
1 Posts
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4
July 25, 2021 - 5:16 am

DanielW said
John, I learned a couple of lessons from the soil test.  And I agree with you completely about importance of balance.

I have read a number of times about adding potassium.  This soil already has more than enough.  Ditto for phosphorus.  It would be harmful to add those.  I've read about adding wood ashes.  those are very alkaline, which would help with acidity, but would overdo the potassium in my orchard.  So That is a good learning.

I dont know how harmful the acidity is.  Most of the trees seem to be growing vigorously.  Maybe the ones that have done poorly, were weakened by the acidity.  I dont know.  Maybe the high organic matter can buffer the effect of pH?

I thought before it was a luxury and not that important to get a soil test(helpful review).  Now I see why it is recommended.

I dont know other ways to raise the pH, other than lime.  For users of peecycling, the urea is converted to ammonia, and is very alkaline.  But I dont know if the relatively small amount used will have a meaningful impact.  Also on that issue, soluble salts were low, so that's not a concern here.

  

Hi, I'm terribly sorry for the up. Is it possible to make soil tests independently? I'm afraid of fertilizer upsellers and their equipment...

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John S
1020 Posts
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5
July 25, 2021 - 8:39 am

Many places do independent soil tests.  There is one locally-here in Portland. I had mine done at Logan Labs in Ohio. They aren't selling fertilizers. Just lab tests.

John S
PDX OR

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jafar
474 Posts
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6
August 1, 2021 - 1:56 pm

@DanielW 

Did you add lots of phosphorus in the past?  I don't think its normal for it to be high around here.  Likewise, I expected boron to be low.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
458 Posts
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7
August 1, 2021 - 9:07 pm

@jafar

That was when I owned the property 3 years.  I had never added phos but I don't know about prior owners.  The place was abandoned for a year when I bought it.  Another owner tells me it was once an orchard, decades ago.  The iron level is kind of amazing but when I dig new spots, there seem to be rusty looking granules all over the place.  No idea why.  

In areas where I have gardened heavily, I do use a multipurpose vegetable fertilizer now.  I imagine that high potassium veggies must pull a lot of the mineral from the soil.  Since that post six years ago, I also sometimes spread wood ashes from my small wood stove, and (minimal) ashes from dried, then burnt in woodstove, chicken femurs.   Those go in the veggie garden.  My garden seems to like it, I get great squash, tomato, potato production.  Huge squashes!  Lots of potatoes!  Those are high potassium veggies.  The trees that were cut into firewood were from this property, so I figure it's a cycle of life thing.  ?

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