Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Soil test results.. Toplef10Soil test results.. 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Soil test results.. I22gcj10Soil test results.. 14dhcg10

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Post  MRTKH 3/26/2022, 2:50 am

....need opinions of how to raise Nitrogen but not K and P.....organically, of course.

I've had my SquareFoot beds for 8 or so years. Started with Mel's mix and have added compost (a mix of several) each year.  Generally have strong results.

Well, I decided to buy a soil test kit and was shocked at my nearly 0 level of Nitrogen. 

See my results:

https://i.servimg.com/u/f94/20/41/58/83/img_7910.jpg

BTW, pH is 7.5; K and P are very strong--almost too strong--and N is near zero. I would have added compost again this year (chicken manure and mushroom compost) but I wonder if I need only to add a natural form of N so I don't keep adding to the P and K. I believe Potash and Phosphorus build as you add organic composts like the above mentioned. Maybe its time to add in some Cottonseed Meal or Blood meal that has 12-0-0?  Thoughts?
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Post  OhioGardener 3/26/2022, 8:45 am

Welcome to the forums!  Soil tests are very unreliable with highly organic soil, since they only test "available" nutrients/minerals. In organic soil, the nutrients/minerals are made available to plants as needed by the plants.  So, I don't bother doing those soil tests.

That said, if you want to add some natural nitrogen without throwing off the other nutrients just go to your local farm store a get a bag of organic alfalfa pellets. Scatter some alfalfa pellets over the soil, and work it into the top 3" of soil a couple weeks before planting. The soil microbes will break down the alfalfa pellets in to readily available nitrogen.  Just don't add nitrogen to bed areas that will be planted with legumes.

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Post  MRTKH 3/26/2022, 12:49 pm

OhioGardener wrote:Welcome to the forums!  Soil tests are very unreliable with highly organic soil, since they only test "available" nutrients/minerals. In organic soil, the nutrients/minerals are made available to plants as needed by the plants.  So, I don't bother doing those soil tests.

That said, if you want to add some natural nitrogen without throwing off the other nutrients just go to your local farm store a get a bag of organic alfalfa pellets. Scatter some alfalfa pellets over the soil, and work it into the top 3" of soil a couple weeks before planting. The soil microbes will break down the alfalfa pellets in to readily available nitrogen.  Just don't add nitrogen to bed areas that will be planted with legumes.
https://i.servimg.com/u/f94/20/41/58/83/2ae66810.jpg

I think you are right, OhioGardner.  Last year I was able to produce these 8 feet tall indeterminate tomato plants that produced 30 to 40 per plant. If I had 0 Nitrogen, I would have had larger issues for sure. I was able to grow herbs, chard, radishes, beans, carrots, beats...etc. All with great success. So I must have some level of N in my soil.  I will try supplementing with a little Soybean Meal 7-1-2 this year just to see if it brings my N up a little but I will still rely on compost the most.
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Post  markqz 3/26/2022, 3:15 pm

I used the same kit and it showed my nitrogen was fine, but my phosphorous was low. Other lines of evidence also indicated my phosphorous was low.

Your solution looks very clear. Did you filter it somehow before testing? I don't see much in the way of organic matter there, which is what I would expect. Also, did it show low nitrogen on a second test? (they include enough pills for 10 tests). Also be aware that the kits are only good for about a year or so. So if they sat on a shelf somewhere, they may not be as accurate. I'm thinking the next time I get a kit I'm going to store it with desiccant in the fridge alongside the seeds I save.
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Post  MRTKH 3/26/2022, 7:24 pm

markqz wrote:I used the same kit and it showed my nitrogen was fine, but my phosphorous was low. Other lines of evidence also indicated my phosphorous was low.

Your solution looks very clear. Did you filter it somehow before testing? I don't see much in the way of organic matter there, which is what I would expect. Also, did it show low nitrogen on a second test? (they include enough pills for 10 tests). Also be aware that the kits are only good for about a year or so. So if they sat on a shelf somewhere, they may not be as accurate. I'm thinking the next time I get a kit I'm going to store it with desiccant in the fridge alongside the seeds I save.
Solution is clear because I let it settle overnight in water and extracted water carefully not to disturb the sediment.
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Post  sanderson 3/28/2022, 3:08 pm

OhioGardener wrote:Welcome to the forums!  Soil tests are very unreliable with highly organic soil, since they only test "available" nutrients/minerals. In organic soil, the nutrients/minerals are made available to plants as needed by the plants.  So, I don't bother doing those soil tests.

What OG wrote.  The OTC test kits are more for dirt with fertilizer (instant use nutrients) use.  Not for 33% + organic growing medium.  Nitrogen comes in several forms.  Unusable, usable, usable with microbes.

https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/wq253#:~:text=Scott%20C.%20Killpack%20and%20Daryl%20Buchholz%20Department%20of,Organic%20nitrogen%20exists%20in%20many%20differen%20...%20?msclkid=30397ea8aec811ecbb3dccd9bf8b28a1

The official guideline is to limit manure-based compost to 20-25% of the total blended composts.

Use the plants as a "home test kit."  Consider the temperature of the Mel's Mix and the air.  Consider the moisture of the Mel's Mix.  If something looks off, then start researching and maybe have a soil test done by a lab equipped to test dirt-less growing media, like Mel's Mix.  If a nutrient is recommended, add only 1/2, or even 1/4, of the recommended ingredient.  Baby steps.

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Post  HRut1766 5/8/2022, 8:11 am

is a great organic source of nitrogen.
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Post  sanderson 5/9/2022, 3:53 am

HR, We don't use fertilizers, not even organic fertilizers such as blood meal. In SFG, we feed our plants with blended real composts.

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