Have you tested your soil lately? These are the results from my latest test.
Three years ago the test results were very different. I lost the hard copy to a trade shower last spring so i don't have it to post as a comparison. The pH started out around 5.3-very acidic. Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus were also very low. Potassium, interestingly enough, was sitting right about where it is now. I added lime, dolomite, gypsum and bone meal as directed in the 'fertilizer recommendations' section of the test when i completed the initial bed preparation. I have continued to add horse/rabbit/poultry manure and fish scraps during replanting. It's not a good idea to randomly add inputs without knowing what your baseline levels are but that's exactly what i did after the initial amendment, using azomite to add micro nutrients and/or a variant of Steve Solomon's complete organic fertilizer to replace outputs from time to time. I plan to do more extensive soil testing next year and hope that i haven't mucked things up too badly.
The big test surprise for me is the very high phosphorus result. It could mean that i went a little crazy with the bone meal, but it might also mean that a lot of phosphorus was bound up with aluminum at the lower pH. When the soil was limed, calcium replaced the aluminum creating calcium phosphates which are more water soluble and readily available. (I love that soil science is mostly chemistry but it does make my head spin a little.) So what to do about it? Many of my garden favorites are heavy phosphorus users so i expect the levels to correct themselves over time as long as i don't keep adding more. My main input this year will be nitrogen in the form of expensive blood and feather meal. There is a readily available and free source of nitrogen available to each of us but i'm just not ready to go there. Yet.
|An option to be aware of, just in case.|