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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soil Test Results

Got our soils tests back from Spectrum Analytic. We did two tests one for what we call the top field, which is where the bulk of the market garden is (around 3.5 acres). And what we call the bottom filed the which is at the bottom of the 40' pitch

What we found is our soils need lots of improvement and that there are big differences between the top area which is listed on USGS maps as badly eroded. Probably due to the fact that the field is at the beginning of a water shed which means it is a drainage area and thus has lost lots of top soil over the years. Add to that the fact it is also a terminal moraine which means there was a glacier on that very spot about 10,000 BP grinding away the soil. And there was probably a huge flood at some point judging from the deep ravine running through the middle of our property (most of which is now a pond) that was obviously cause by some sudden scouring-like a flood cause by an ice dam breaking withing the glacier as it was melting/retreating.

Test results for the top field

The top area is good on pH, Calcium, Copper, and Manganese. It is high in magnesium and iron and low in Potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, boron, and zinc.

Test results for the bottom Field

The bottom area is good on boron, copper, manganese and zinc. It is high magnesium, Calcium, and iron. It is medium on potassium and sulfur. It is low on phosphorous. the pH is very high, almost off the charts so we need to get the soil a bit more acidic.

We also found the the organic matter is much higher in the bottom area than the top-2.5% vs 1.5% (and we are pretty sure we have greatly increased the OM in the top area over the past 5 years)

We thought we also had gotten a nitrogen test for both areas but it seems we did not. But still there are reccomendations for applying nitrogen and it seems we are good to a bit low.

It is real nice to know all this information about our soil. No longer are we just taking blind stabs at feeding the soils and hoping we are doing something good. No longer will it be a complete mystery why some crops do poorly and others okay. Now we have the information to start doing some real improvements to these soils. Boo Yah!


Genevieve said...

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing the results!

Kimberly said...

Interesting post. Yes, soil testing can help with so many issues without the guess work.

angie said...

Hi Lucy,

Thanks for this info. It is motivating to me - we have been talking about doing this for 3+ years.

Farm Hill Gardens said...

Hi Lucy,
Thanks for posting this. We use the same lab and have been very happy with them.
Did you tell them which vegetables you were growing in each of the areas? We have just always stated that it was a vegetable farm. I like how they had recomendations for individual vegetables.