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Oh No! My Soil Report is in

The soil samples I sent to the lab for testing are in. Here is what I wrote earlier in Project 803 Step 3.

Full of rich composted matter, sand and topsoil. I sent a sample off the Soil Laboratory at Texas A&M for testing. It is a good idea to test your soil before starting your garden, so you’ll have a chance to amend the soil if needed. I do not expect I will need to do that, but we’ll wait for the results. Here is the website (Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory) that has the information, forms and instructions for sending in your soil. I chose the Urban Soil Submittal form for homeowners.

Well here is a copy of the report and as you can see the garden mix is extremely low in Nitrogen and moderately low in Phosphorus. The soil is alkaline at 8.2 which is a bit too high. I would like to get this down to the 7.0 – 7.5 range. Organic matter is 17.96%, which sounds pretty good. If you think otherwise, please chime in and let me know. I’ll have to dig out my Soil Science Lab book to check.


My next step is to amend the soil. I’ll be heading over to Southwest Fertilizer later today to pick up some organic soil amendments to increase the N and P and lower the pH. Fortunately, I have not planted any seeds yet, but I better hurry as September is just days away. Looks like I may be purchasing some veggie plants in 4-inch pots for this fall garden instead of seeds.

UPDATE: Visited Southwest Fertilizer and picked up some BLOODMEAL and BONE MEAL. Overall the store has a lot of things for gardeners, but I left thinking that they primarily sell bags of fertilizer (some organic and some not). The first guy I spoke with did not have a clue about the SOIL TEST REPORT, but I finally found someone who did. He recommended this 40 lb bag of fertilizer that I could use for years to continually dress the top of the soil. NO THANK YOU. That is not part of my plan. I read that the best thing you can do for your soil is add humus (a dark-colored, stable form of organic matter, which is the end product of composting. Organic material that is completely decomposed).  I would rather make compost myself, add some manure, and do it manually.

6 thoughts on “Oh No! My Soil Report is in”

  1. muhammad khabbab

    yap the nitrogen is lacking. and strangely this is the missing element in most of the soils here in our climate as well. we cure it by adding leaf mold. not sure what you guys do. i am happy to see the soil is organically rich though. best of luck

  2. Jacqueline D'Elia

    This garden mix was made up by a local soil yard and labeled as a vegetable bed mix. I suspect the lack of nitrogen is a result of the organic matter not being fully composted yet. Uncomposted organic matter sucks the nitrogen right out of the soil. My first season will likely be trial and error until the materials decompose fully and soil stabilizes. But at least I know what is missing. 🙂

  3. It’s been a couple years since you posted this so I’m hoping you can let us know how the soil is now.

    1. The soil performed very well and my harvest in 2010 was excellent. 2011 we experienced a very severe drought, so my harvest was limited. I continue to add organic matter and a dose of organic fertilizer a couple of times per year.

      1. The soil you refer to is not the original soil from Living Earth, but the replacement soil (all but 6″) from Nature’s Way, correct? Did you ever have to amend the Nature’s Way soil?

      2. Jacqueline D'Elia

        Yes it was the replacement soil from Nature’s Way. Nutrients are depleted with each planting, so I continue to add organic matter several times a year (compost), along with granular organic fertilizer from MicroLife.

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