Soil Testing in the Demo Garden

We are slowly wrapping things up in the garden for the year. Of course, many of the lettuces and other cool season vegetables will keep on growing until we have temperatures consistently below 28 degrees. One of our end-of-the-year projects this year is taking soil tests of the different garden beds. We haven’t done soil tests for several years, and I’ve been unhappy with the health and growth of the plants in the Family of 4 Garden particularly this year.

Procedure for Taking a Soil Test

Digging soilOne of the Master Gardeners is working on collecting soil for one sample. She is taking 6-8 scoops of soil to a depth of 6-8″ randomly around the garden and mixing them in a bucket.  We sampled each raised bed separately.

Soil SampleThese two Master Gardeners have already mixed their soil. Now they are putting about 2 cups of the soil in a labeled plastic bag. This is the sample from the Family of 4 Garden.

For most of the raised beds, we will be doing our normal test: pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Organic Matter.

For the Family of 4 Garden, we will be testing pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Organic Matter, Magnesium, Manganese, and Boron. The reason we are testing the additional 3 elements is because of the strange growth of some of the tomato plants. The fall beets have also been growing poorly.  Beets are one of few vegetables that are very sensitive to a deficiency in Boron. Hence the Boron test. It will be interesting to see our results!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on October 13, 2009, in Family of 4 Garden, Plant Problems & Diseases, Working in the Garden and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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