Late last month I wrote about sending in my first samples for soil testing. The results arrived in my email inbox a few days ago.
As you can see, the soil needs some serious enrichment. It is low in Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), and Magnesium (Mg). In addition, the test sample shows that our soil is more acidic than it should be. At 5.5 pH, it is between half a point and a point from the recommended 6 – 6.5.
The UGA Extension office recommends applying lime (“Dolomitic Limestone”) to the area to help balance the pH as well as increase magnesium levels. In addition, they recommend fertilizers to enrich the soil.
I will do a second soil test in 6 months. Before then, I am starting a natural, organic soil building and amendment program that focuses on three primary areas:
- cover crops
In addition to standard mulches like wood chips, I make judicious use of the permaculture mulching method known affectionately as “chop and drop”. As the name implies, this involves simply chopping down weeds and other plants and dropping them to return their nutrients directly to the soil. Here’s a short video in which Rob Avis from Verge Permaculture explains and demonstrates the process:
Finally, this month I begin an experiment with a product called BioZome, which has shown promising results in a variety of applications. It is a natural product now contained in fertilizer products from Jobe’s Organics, though I am using it separately for this experiment. I’ll write more about that soon.
More to come, along with a new fast-track compost project that should yield results in about 8 weeks!