Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017 Chapter 1 “Beginnings – Soil Test Report”


The Soil Test Report

This year’s garden activities started at the end of February when I received my soil test report from the local county extension.

Sample Soil Test Report

The soil test results said my garden potassium (K) and pH was too low.  The recommendations were to increase the potassium nutrient level using 16-4-8 fertilizer (N-P-K) at a rate of 20 pounds per 1000 square feet.  Also, to get my garden’s pH into the recommended zone for vegetable gardens…6.0 to 6.5…I needed to add 65 pounds of limestone per 1000 square feet.

A ballpark estimate of my garden size is about 2400 square feet.  So, I headed off to the local gardening store to purchase 50 pounds of 16-4-8 fertilizer and 150 pounds of dolomite limestone.

Then, I spent the rest of the day married to my broadcast spreader…depositing a total of 200 pounds of recommended ingredients to the garden.

Every year, I try to get the initial fertilizer and limestone into the garden at least 4 to 6 weeks before planting.  Early application of the required amendments gives everything a chance to dissolve and leach into the dirt evenly before the plants go into the ground.


Indoor Preparations

Tomato seedlings in biodegradable pots.

In the meantime, I stayed busy with germinating seeds and transplanting seedlings into biodegradable containers to give the little ones a kick start in life under my grow lights.  Also, on my agenda was hardening off my baby plants before putting them in their new backyard garden home.


In The Great Outdoors!

Jim's Garden After Tilling.

Other than that, I was good to go for a month…until the first week of April…when I eagerly fired up my trusty electric tiller so I could enjoy the day-long process of loosening up the dirt before planting time.

And, I really mean…ENJOY!  If you read my bio, you know that, as a young-un, I had a shovel for one hand and a rake for the other.  So, the excitement of not having to painstakingly till the soil with a shovel almost made me giddy with delight!


Space for Jim's Cantaloupes and Watermelons.



I took so much pleasure in tilling my 2400 square foot garden that I also completed tilling another 150 square foot area where my cantaloupes and watermelons were to be planted!


Digging Some Holes

Holes dug for tomatoes.

Since my tomatoes had just about completed the hardening off process, I had to break down and get out my shovel…and dig some holes.  But, digging a few holes…as compared to tilling an entire garden…was a walk-in-the-park with my tried and true shovel.



Time to Lay Out the Garden

Next on the garden prep schedule was laying out the rows based on this year’s garden plan. This chore went comparatively fast…only taking a couple of hours…using a roll of biodegradable twine to mark the rows and borders.  Look at the header picture above to get an idea of what the layout looked like.


Plant a Few Tomatoes

Since my baby tomato plants had finished their hardening off process, I knew that they were absolutely ready and willing to migrate to their garden bed home.  But, I was conflicted…since I normally don’t put anything in the ground until mid-April.  That is when I could be absolutely, totally confident that the last frost would be only a memory.

But, it had been so warm lately.  The soil temperature was already at 60 °F (15 °C), which was above the minimum requirement of 50 °F.  Plus, the forecast for next week showed low temperatures would stay in the mid 50’s.

So, I said, “What the heck!”  Let’s plant some tomatoes!  After all, it was only a week early.  And, I wanted to make sure I had fresh garden tomatoes to munch on for July 4th weekend!

Transplanted Tomato in Jim's Garden.

Transplanted Tomato in Jim's Garden. Transplanted Tomato in Jim's Garden.





There you have it…for Chapter 1…”Beginnings”…of Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017!

Take a look at Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017 Chapter 2 “Plantin’ Time”

Return to Jim’s Garden Adventure’s main page


Based on a Story from a Fellow Gardener…

Barn Falling Down

Once upon a time, an aspiring farmer bought a 200-year old abandoned and run-down farm.  The fields were nothing but weeds, the well was dry, and the farmhouse, barn, and fences were rotting and falling down.

He knew he had his work cut out for him and was understandably anxious about turning his property into a money-making venture.

One day, while he was working to rebuild the structures, the local preacher stopped by to offer some encouragement saying, “May you and God work together to make this the farm you dream of.”

Several months passed…and, the preacher stopped by to check on the farmer’s progress.  He was astonished to find a beautiful new farmhouse and barn, streamlined fences, grazing cattle, and crops neatly lining the fields.  There was even a brand new, modernized well!

Rebuilt Barn

“This is nothing short of amazing!” said the preacher.  “Just look at the miracles that God and you have achieved together!”

“Yes, it is a miracle, isn’t it, reverend!” said the farmer.  “But, keep in mind what the farm looked like when God was working it without my help!”



Did you do a soil report this year?  What kind of tiller are you using?  Have you seen the tillers in my reviews?  Leave me a comment or shoot me an email: jim@perfect-vegetable-garden.com.


Jim, the Lifelong Gardener

2 thoughts on “Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017 Chapter 1 “Beginnings – Soil Test Report”

  1. Maxx Reply

    What a great information about the gardening topic and it give me a lot of sight in there.

    I plan to utilize my back yard and lucky enough I found your article I believe with the information you provided here, I will definitely plant out fresh tomatoes.

    I will stay tuned for your next updates in the garden articles.

    Thanks for the info here.

    • Jim Reply

      I am glad you enjoyed Chapter 1, Maxx.  Jim’s Garden Adventure is a yearly ongoing series of the ups and downs of my gardening exploits.  Chapter 2 will be coming soon.  So, stop back often and check it out!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *