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Confused about my soil testing

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Marina on April 27, 2006 06:20 AM
Hello All [Smile]

I have been preparing a bed for the planting of veggies and on a whim decided to purchase on of those "soil testing" kits that does pH, K, N, P. So, before I added some miracle grow garden soil there was an deficiency of Nitrogen in the soil (it was supposed to turn some sort of shade of purple and it stayed clear, a repeat test did the same).

After I added and mixed the soil the nitrogen level went up only slightly. I have already planted some things and wanted to know if there was a way to raise the level to what I have already planted. Also... I have yet to plant on the new bed because I am worried about the very low level.

My pH test showed a pH of 6-6.5 a high level of P and a high level of K.

What would you guys do?

Thanks [Smile]
Marina-
by Longy on April 27, 2006 09:40 AM
You can use a high nitrogen fertiliser, like chicken manure pellets worked into the soil. Then a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer once the plants are past the seedling stage. How much you feed will depend on the crop. Go a bit easy for fruiting annuals like tomatoes but a bit heavier for leafy crops like cabbage. As you've already planted, a side dressing of the chicken pellets will still be ok, and maybe use half strength liquid fert to get the seedlings growing.

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The secret is the soil.
by johnCT on April 28, 2006 01:11 AM
Nitrogen cannot be tested accurately because soil levels fluctuate so rapidly. This is why most testing labs do not measure it as part of basic tests. Home test kits should not be depended on for accurate results. If you want results you can count on, contact your local extension service. They are usually very inexpensive.

To answer your question, Nitrogen levels can be easily raised with nearly any type of fertilizer. If your pH measurement is accurate, which is hard to say, then it is near perfect levels for most crops at 6.5. 6.0 on the other hand is a little low. Again, get a real soil test done.

Above all else Marina, keep amending your soil with organic material like compost and everything else will fall into place. Compost fixes nearly all soil issues. Good luck.

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John - Zone 6
by newbie gardener on April 28, 2006 06:25 AM
I too just bought one of the soil testing kits for my garden here in Toronto. I was curious about one side of my garden that gets more shade than the rest and has moss growing everywhere.

My Juniper, hollies have never done well and the rhodendron and azalea that I just planted last summer are not doing well either.

The test "appears" to show high alkaline (7-8) and the nitro-phos-pot seem to be very low (5).

Seeing that these tests are not accurate but I do hope it does give some indication that something is wrong or right as something is definetly wrong on that side of the garden.

I understand what I have to do about lowering the ph as that is why these plants are not doing well but I do not know what to do about the n-p-p ratio?
by tkhooper on April 28, 2006 06:31 AM
the plants you have named like it acidic and your test seems to indicate that you don't have that in your soil so you need to add the sulpher (sp). There is a fact sheet that will tell you exactly what to do on the website. Just google pH with the garden helper marked and it should show you the page no problem. Good luck with your future endeavors.

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by newbie gardener on April 28, 2006 07:27 AM
Sorry to be such pain but I have googled with regards to the n-p-p ratio and can not find what I am looking for.

If I add sulpher to lower the ph levels (5-6)does this automatically fix the n-p-p portion?

If this n-p-p ratio is not corrected by just sulphur what will I have to buy to fix this?

I had read in previous post about the product Holytone. Would this correct all of the above or is this used after the above is corrected?
by newbie gardener on April 28, 2006 07:31 AM
Also... will lowering the Ph solve the problem of the moss?
by Marina on April 29, 2006 04:37 AM
Thank you to everyone for your help! I don't the test was too accurate either, because after I added and mixed mircle grow garden soil not much changed.

As a side "stupid" question.... what is the local extension office? I would love to get a professional test done (especially since we're laying sod) but don't know how to go about it.

[Smile] Marina-

Thanks again!!!
by johnCT on April 29, 2006 05:59 AM

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