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surprising results from soil test

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surprising results from soil test

Post  dstack on 5/20/2017, 2:09 pm

I just got the soil tested in my beds. It's my first ever professionally tests, and now I know the deficiencies and what I need to do to correct it. I also found the pH is a slightly too high, which confirmed what I already suspected. Surprisingly my nitrogen and potassium was almost non existent, while phosphorus and calcium was off the charts. Not sure why, but glad I know now, and now I know why my beets and swiss chard ALL died, and my cukes all died prematurely as well. 


The report gives two recommendations depending on if you go organic or conventional.  The organic recommendation is a 1-0-1 fertilizer.  So that's what I'll be looking for.  I'm open to recommendations of course.  Very Happy


The kits I got are Soil Savvy by Unibest, which run about $25 per kit. They were simple to use...




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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  sanderson on 5/20/2017, 2:46 pm

Dstack, The test looks like it is for dirt and not soil-less mix. Apples, not oranges?? Not to say that the test results were not indicative of what is going on with your Mel's Mix. Early on, Camp recommended U of Mass lab for soil-less testing. $15 each sample. Just make sure the "soil-less" box is checked.

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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  dstack on 5/20/2017, 3:32 pm

@sanderson wrote:Dstack,  The test looks like it is for dirt and not soil-less mix.  Apples, not oranges??   Not to say that the test results were not indicative of what is going on with your Mel's Mix.  Early on, Camp recommended U of Mass lab for soil-less testing.  $15 each sample.  Just make sure the "soil-less" box is checked.  
That's good to know.  I got these kits free from work so there's no loss there. I want to call Unibest and ask them about the soil-less MM.  I'm not sure how that would make a difference, but I'll look into that. Thanks Sanderson!
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  dstack on 5/22/2017, 3:45 pm

@sanderson wrote:Dstack,  The test looks like it is for dirt and not soil-less mix.  Apples, not oranges?? ...

I just got off the phone with Unibest.  The guy explained that they get asked this question all the time.  He said that they use a newer technology that works the same across the board regardless if it's a soil-less medium or not. Conventional tests use chemical extractions, while Unibest uses a resin platform and nutrient ratios. Their technology overview is explained better here...  https://unibestinc.com/technology/

I'm just glad to know what my beds need more of, and what they don't.   Very Happy
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  sanderson on 5/23/2017, 3:29 am

Interesting.

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Soil Savvy Test

Post  dstack on 5/27/2017, 9:52 pm

@sanderson wrote:Interesting.
My two favorite YouTube gardeners talk about the Soil Savvy test at the top of this video.  John Kohler explains it better...

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UPDATE: Follow-up test

Post  dstack on 8/31/2017, 5:17 pm

It's well worth the $25 per test kit to take out the guess work.  No, I'm not getting paid or any kickback by recommending Unibest.  lol!


RECAP: After having all beds tested before solarizing this summer I learned...  
1) All 3 beds were almost identical in soil nutrients, deficiencies and pH  
2) my soil was extremely deficient in both nitrogen and potassium  
 
SIDE NOTE: One benefit of solarizing is that it breaks down compost further into soluble nutrients.  So I added fresh compost before covering with plastic. 
 
After solarizing, and before doing a second soil test on bed #1, I added the following:  
1)  peat moss – I was going to use coconut core but it's on backorder. 
2) worm castings – about 20 cups to the 4'x8' bed 
3) Azamite Rock Dust minerals (Down To Earth) – 6lbs  


    --Note that these minerals are not readily available to the plants until the microbes do their thing. So that's one thing to keep in mind when looking at the latest test results. 
 
The Unibest test is not the traditional soil test.  Their results show what minerals are available to the plants.  In the photo you can see both the test done in April, followed by the test on the same bed this month (Aug).  
 
RESULTS FROM APRIL, FOLLOWED BY THE AUGUST TEST RESULTS:






Now my nitrogen is off the charts, as well as the phosphorus, sulphur, and calcium.  As far as my deficiencies I'm thinking if I add a little gypsum (even though my sulphur is already high) that will bring my pH down and it'll make the iron, manganese, and zinc more available.  Or is there a problem with having too much sulphur?  Or maybe leave it and see what nature does with it's microbiology as it is?  So much to think about! Wink
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  sanderson on 9/1/2017, 3:12 am

DStack, Interesting. It looks like the micro-nutrients dropped. Yes? What about an ocean product as they usually have micro-nutrients. Liquid kelp or kelp meal? I buy kelp and crab meals from Kelp4Less. They can't sell to California at this time so I have to be clever to get them. (CA regulations are crazy).

I did tests a couple years ago (soil-less test method) and I was low in micros.

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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  dstack on 9/1/2017, 6:01 am

@sanderson wrote:DStack, Interesting.  It looks like the micro-nutrients dropped.  Yes?  What about an ocean product as they usually have micro-nutrients.  Liquid kelp or kelp meal?  I buy kelp and crab meals from Kelp4Less.  They can't sell to California at this time so I have to be clever to get them. (CA regulations are crazy).

I did tests a couple years ago (soil-less test method) and I was low in micros.

I forgot to mention the crab meal that was one of my post solarize amendments.  And whenever I do compost tea I have plenty of my home made keep meal in there.  Thanks for confirming that I should continue with the kelp.  I was hesitant about it because I'm afraid to add more phosphorus when it's already off the charts.  One problem with too much is that it blocks the availability of micros like iron, manganese and zinc. That might be my problem.
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/1/2017, 11:58 am

Dstack, I can't remember...were these tests done on MM or regular soil?
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  dstack on 9/1/2017, 12:32 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Dstack, I can't remember...were these tests done on MM or regular soil?
CC
Hi CC!  My beds are MM.  And Unibest uses a newer technology that works the same across the board regardless if it's soil-less medium or not. Conventional tests use chemical extractions, while this is a resin platform using nutrient ratios. As John Kohler's video above (10:00 into the video) explains, the test simulates plant roots, and the results show what available nutrients are available to the plant.  This takes into account how pH, macro, and micronutrients effect the availability of NPK/macros/micros... And vice versa, more or less. Smile
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  sanderson on 9/1/2017, 1:43 pm

Don't you wish you could take a scoop of iron, 2 scoops of Manganese, a pinch of Nitrogen, etc. and custom make a supplement?  Razz  Since it is not possible, compost from a variety of sources is the next best thing. Maybe a foliar spray vs. soil amendment?

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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  dstack on 9/1/2017, 2:26 pm

@sanderson wrote:Don't you wish you could take a scoop of iron, 2 scoops of Manganese, a pinch of Nitrogen, etc. and custom make a supplement?  Razz  Since it is not possible, compost from a variety of sources is the next best thing. Maybe a foliar spray vs. soil amendment?
I agree on all points. Foliar spray of the missing micros would be ideal until the compost and microbes even things out. My local hydroponics shop owner mentioned a company which does sell standalone nutrients.  I may look further into that for the spray.
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  plantoid on 9/1/2017, 4:54 pm

Dstack,
 Save yourself a load of money ,. make up a big heap of several different species of animal dungs & associated straw beddings using the Berkley 18 day hot composting methodto turn it to compost in 18 days or so .
  
 Be sure to include  plenty of cow dung  , turkey or chicken poop and that off any other farm animal except cats & dogs .

 Too much steer dung & steer urine soaked straw will keep the acid high . So use cow instead
 Pig muck inc straw  is a cold manure and has all manner of trace elements that your crops will need .

 Such a compost will be high in everything you are deficient but not too high , the composted straw will help bring the acid down too .

 Don't confuse wheat  , barley or oat straw with hay as hay is full of weed seeds .

 When it's made mix this " super compost "  in with what you are already using  & proceed as before .

 If you want to go " Express "  put some of this super composted dungs etc in a burlapsack , hanfd it in a barrel of water to which you have added a pound of brown sugar  dissolved in hot water . Stirrit every day for four days & raise the sack up to drain it off back into the barrel .

Use this liquid manure elixir to water the soil in  bed  ( DO NOT GET ANY ON THE LEAVES OF SALAD OR SOFT FRUIT CROP THAT MAY BE EATEN RAW  AS IT IS HIGHLY E .COLI ACTIVE ) .


Sow your long roots in ground that has not had new manure / compost in it for two full crops , the two crops will use  it up to a satisfactory level & don't feed them with liquid manure either .
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  dstack on 9/1/2017, 5:17 pm

@plantoid wrote:Dstack,
 Save yourself a load of money ,. make up a big heap of several different species of animal dungs & associated straw...
...the two crops will use  it up to a satisfactory level & don't feed them with liquid manure either .
Thanks for the tips Plantoid!  Considering that my nitrogen levels are already off the charts, should I be concerned about too much nitrogen by adding manure?
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Re: surprising results from soil test

Post  Scorpio Rising on 9/1/2017, 8:59 pm

@sanderson wrote:Don't you wish you could take a scoop of iron, 2 scoops of Manganese, a pinch of Nitrogen, etc. and custom make a supplement?  Razz  Since it is not possible, compost from a variety of sources is the next best thing. Maybe a foliar spray vs. soil amendment?
Yes!
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