Welcome to part 2 of understanding your
soil analysis, How to act on your test results. Part one gave us terms and
definitions on the report and you should make sure and tune in to that one before
watching this video. Your soil analysis comes with a book, “Understanding Your
Soil Test Results.” Get out your chart, get out your booklet
and let’s follow along. The first part of the results you’ll look at is the
organic matter percent. Organic matter usually comes from decomposing plant
matter and helps with soil drainage and holding capacity, aeration, feeding the
soil food web and more. Organic matter and other nutrients are affected by the
cation (Cat-ion) exchange capacity or CEC. If your organic matter is in the very high range
and your CEC analysis is over 20 you should not add anything but wait for the
soil food web to break down the organic matter already there. If your organic
matter is high and your CEC is less than 20, you need to help the organic matter
break itself down into nutrients by adding either arctic humus or a mycorrhizae. Next to and related to organic matter is nitrogen. This is important for
plant growth but too much can also be harmful. If you have high organic matter,
your soil will get some nitrogen from that as it breaks down. Good sources of
nitrogen include blood meal, fish meal, and cottonseed meal or planting a cover
crop will fix nitrogen. See our video on how to plant a cover crop. If you have
too much nitrogen, plant corn or other heavy feeding crops such as roses,
lettuce, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and cabbage to help use it up. Whether you
need to add nitrogen will depend both on what the analysis is and what you are
growing. For vegetables you should add nitrogen if it’s less than 40. Use the
chart in your booklet to determine the rate. Orchards, vineyards and lawns
require less nitrogen and don’t need any added unless the analysis is less than
25. But before applying the fertilizer you’ll also want to look at your levels of organic matter. If your levels are very
high, some of your nitrogen is tied up there. You may want to consider adding a
slower release nitrogen like feather meal instead of the fish meal. This will
give your plants a slower feeding of nitrogen. Also keep in mind that most
organic fertilizers contain other nutrients. For example in this bio fish
it’s 7 percent nitrogen 7 percent phosphorus and 2 percent potassium. You may want to review your entire soil analysis report before choosing which
nitrogen fertilizer to use. The next nutrient on the chart is phosphorus.
Phosphorus is important for flowering, fruiting and rooting. Good sources for
phosphorus are bone meal and rock phosphate. Phosphorus is usually slow release so be sure and add it in advance of when your plants will need it. There
are two readings for phosphorus on your soil analysis report. Refer to the
phosphorus Weak Bray reading, to determine your level on the chart in the
soil analysis booklet. The other phosphorus reading represents your
long-term phosphorus reserves and should be monitored over time as you follow up
with subsequent tests. If your phosphorus levels on your analysis are low medium
or high, add phosphorus according to this chart. For very high readings do not add
any (phosphorus). Potassium is the next nutrient on the chart. Potassium is a nutrient that
helps support overall plant vigor and supports metabolism. A reading of below
150 is too low you can add potassium by adding sulfate of potash according to
the chart. It is possible to have too much potassium in the soil. If your
potassium is high and your CEC level is under 20 you will need to add gypsum at
5 pounds per 100 square feet to help remove the excess from the soil. For the
macronutrients and the trace elements refer to the easy to comprehend book. If
we can help answer any further questions about your soil analysis please contact
our gardening consultants and grow organic for life!