The 2017 Soil Test Report
Last year, my 2017 Soil Test Report, discussed in Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017 Chapter 1 “Beginnings”, showed my garden potassium (K) was a bit low and the pH was way too low. The recommendations of my local county agricultural extension were to increase the potassium nutrient level at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. They also said to add 65 pounds of limestone per 1000 square feet to get my garden’s pH into the recommended zone for vegetable gardens.
My garden size is about 2,400 square feet. Thus, I added 50 pounds of 16-4-8 fertilizer and 150 pounds of dolomite limestone – which took a serious drain on my garden amendments budget. But, it had to be done.
Enter The 2018 Soil Test Report
It took about 10 days to receive my soil test this year. I was most pleasantly surprised to see that my soil pH was completely acceptable – meaning, I didn’t need to add a load of limestone to my garden. That in itself saved me a lot of time and money over last year’s results. I attribute this year’s results to all the mulching and composting done last year that has continually improved the soil and kept the pH level where it needed to be.
The potassium (K) level was higher than last year but, still a bit low. My local county agricultural extension suggested adding 20 pounds of 15-0-15 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet – which, for my garden equates to about 50 pounds evenly distributed.
As luck would have it, I had just purchased a bag of Lesco 24-0-11 that I originally planned on applying to my lawn but, at the last minute, I changed to another lawn fertilizer. So – this was perfect timing. The 24-0-11 was close enough to the soil test counseling since it would also boost the potassium while adding nitrogen (N) to my garden.
As you can see, adding soil amendments doesn’t have to be an exact science. Getting the numbers close is fine and dandy. I just made sure that the middle number was “0” since I was topping out on phosphorus (P) already. My garden doesn’t need absolute perfection – just plenty of attention.
Getting out my trusty Scott’s Broadcast Spreader, I headed for the garden to evenly distribute the fertilizer over my soon-to-be 2018 backyard home garden.
Since I had to put the entire 50 pounds of fertilizer evenly over the garden soil, I started out at a “6” setting and made my first pass. Seeing that I hadn’t even used 20 pounds of fertilizer, I increased the broadcast spreader to a “7.5” setting. This worked well and, by the end of the second pass, I was able to spread the remaining 30 pounds of fertilizer across the garden area.
The job was completed in less than half an hour! So, I had time to daydream a little – thinking about what I would plant this year and where I would put it.
Rain is forecasted in the next couple of days and that will help the fertilizer become one with the soil.
Not long ago, I visited a local farmer and got a trailer load of manure to fertilize my strawberry patch.
When stopped at a red light next to a car load of kids, one of the boys yelled, “What is that stinky stuff you have in your trailer, mister?”
I told him it was fertilizer.
“What are you going to do with it?” he asked.
I said, “I’m going to put it on my strawberries.”
“You should come and live with us.” the young’un advised. “We put cream and sugar on ours.”
Yep – I’m sure that strawberries taste much better that way.
Are you doing your due diligence and getting your soil test this year? Let me know your results in the comments below or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.