Saturday, January 22, 2011

Soil Test January 23

What's in our soil?  As far as we know, a soil test had not been done in a few years so we took samples yesterday.  The results will guide us as we begin the 2011 plans for planting the Food Bank Community Garden.  Nothing is more important than the soil....its minerals, structure, organic matter and more.  As we try to become a more sustainable garden the main key is "what's in the soil".  Healthy plants can resist pests and disease better. Healthy plants need less synthetic fertilizer.  The soil can make the difference.

Here's how we did it. After getting the small cardboard sample containers from the Forsyth County Extension Service, we dug up  cores of soil from the various fields and poured them in boxes for each specific area.  Once the forms for each box were completed (indicating what will be grown in the soil) we mailed all the samples (eight in all) to NC State in Raleigh. 

NC is unusual in offering this as a free service for NC gardeners and farmers.
Our report will come back via Internet and in writing.  It will tell whether we need to add lime, other fertilizers, what the pH is, and what the organic content is.  Before we add anything to our soil, this test will guide us..  If you are thinking of doing this for your own garden, now is a good time to do it before everyone starts sending in their samples. The results will come more quickly.

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