Choosing Organic Soil Supplements


In the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to read everything I can about soil health. In preparation for the first season of the farm (Spring 2015), I want to make sure I have the best soil I can possibly have. We all know that a healthy soil grows healthy plants. If you take the time to make sure your soil has enough minerals, nutrients and organic matter in it, your vegetables will be tastier and healthier, and your plants will be less prone to disease and pests. Elliot Coleman said, “you feed your soil, and your soil feeds your plants.” I totally agree.
The world of organic soil supplements can be a little intimidating. In the beginning, I was completely overwhelmed with all the options and a bit lost as to what to choose. I also had a budget I had to follow (those large bags ain’t cheap!) so I had to choose carefully, and I knew I wanted to find organic soil supplements, not synthetic ones.
Why should you add organic supplements to your soil?
My first question was why. Why should I bother with soil supplements? Why should I spend all this money? Is it really necessary?
I found this wonderful video which explains it in a simple and clear way…
So now we know that the three most important nutrients we have to pay attention to are…
Nitrogen (N) – For plant growth.
Phosphorus (P) – For root development and flowering.
Potassium (K) – To make plants hardier and disease resistant.
I will add two more important things you should pay attention to…
Soil pH – Different plants require different levels of pH.
Organic matter – This will be taken care of by adding good old compost. The more the merrier.

What’s your soil missing?
Obviously, you can’t just look at your soil and see that there is not enough phosphorus there. You’ll need the help of a lab.
Thankfully, you can collect soil samples and send them to the lab through your county’s cooperative extension.
It is free most of the time. Our county started charging $4 per sample if you send them out in the months between November and April.
Make sure to take different samples for different areas in the garden and label them. Blueberries need acidic soil for good growth while vegetables need somewhat neutral pH for better growth. You should take one soil sample for the blueberry patch and another for the vegetable patch since you will probably need to amend them differently.
It takes two to three weeks until you get a report from the lab. Make sure to send it early to give yourself enough time to prepare your garden for planting. It is better to add the supplements before planting than after.
Follow your county’s extension as to how to collect a sample and submit it.
So you collected the samples, sent them out and waited two weeks. Above is the report the extension will email you.
Now let’s see what is going on with my precious soil here....
Head to Lady Lee's Home to see how I read the soil test above and which soil supplements I choose for my farm.

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Lee @ Lady Lee's Home

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