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OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Eeyore » May 18, 2012 11:00 am

I'm one of those people that throws fertilizer on my plants once a season and then pretty much forgets about them. I plant things and if they cause too many problems or don't survive, out they go. Some of my yard has top soil 18 inches deep and some of it is pretty much clay. They are mulch chipped to retain moisture and cut down weeds. My ph is slightly alkaline and I add some iron and epsom salts to my roses. Then I water when the plants start to wilt. That's about it. Relax Marc, plant something, watch it grow and sit on the deck and drink a glass of wine. To me it sounds like you might need to water with some miracle grow once or twice a season to increase mineral uptake but that's about it. If you must feed your inner scientist, analyze the wine..... And grow good organic carrots..... :lol:
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Dumbo » May 18, 2012 11:36 am

OGrubber wrote:Well, and didn't I tell you that I dropped doing soil analysis because it all read like gobledey-gook? ... I have no idea what method of analysis was used. None of it makes anymore sense now than then, no matter what method of conversion/calculation/whatever[!] used.

My arguement then, and now still, is that the best soil test you can use [imho] is to read your crops

lol the easy way to say it:

You have the super-duper expensive analysis. With the scientifically argued best methods of doing it.

I have the low cost quick and dirty method, which Agri-Canada scientists don't agree with.

That Rutgers link is meant for the quick and dirty. Does not work with yours, since I think your method is different (and better).

So when I said "it does not compute", I meant your values obtained by your method of analysis, can't be used with the Rutgers link, but it gives a ballpark.

In chemistry I have come across people like you (mean that in a good way). When I was doing military/aerospace chemical coating there was the very odd person (1 out of 10000 type thing) who could pass by a chemical bath, look at it, and tell by the colour, the foam, the action and the look exactly what is low, by how much, exactly what is high, and how old the chem-bath was. Truly amazing.

That is experience (above experience), and also knowing what goes into it, and why, and it blew away the lab-techs all the time.

You know your stuff better than anyone I have met, and are likely one of those high caliber people in this field who can look at something and know the answer better than any labrat.

But... I'm a dummy. Up until yesterday I didn't know nothing about how to determine how long your soil can retain nutrients and the rest of it (I doubt many people know). So I have to take the dummy route. :) And I have to admit, I learned a lot in one day.

I wouldn't do these tests all the time. You are right about not wasting your money on it. But I would do it on breaking a new plot (or sizable garden) type thing.

I got my tests done for free. So.... can't argue free. Would I have paid for that? Hell no. My garden is too small. But now I know I don't have sludge mixed in with my garden too!

And I used no chemicals to adjust anything, which I wanted to avoid anyhow. Would I use the monsanto, CIL miracle grow stuff? I likely would if something was very low. But now I also know my garden is good for a full year and I don't need it at all. If I used it I would be tipping the "excessive" end of the nutrients and do more harm than good. How many people here can say that? Bet not many. So these tests have their place.

Also, now I know what I need to add in the fall, want that CEC value increased. How many people here know what a CEC value is?

The CEC value, I think, is the big money saver, or maker. Yours is very high. So it's a money saver/maker for you. And I do think this is important to you as well, and it does require analysis to obtain.

But for a home gardener.. you and Dave I right I guess (not Kelly though. Kelly is never right :p). But it was free.
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Dumbo » May 18, 2012 11:42 am

Eeyore wrote:If you must feed your inner scientist, analyze the wine.....

Did that already... I think I have the gas chromatograms some place in a box. Was checking for aldehyde content... what gives you the hang-over.. Some cheap corner store bought stuff (well they sell wine at corner stores here) are actually better than the $20+ bottles bought from the liquor commission.

Been there, done that.

Haven't done soil in this manner (only the pollutants).
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Elena Zimmerman » May 18, 2012 11:56 am

Now I never heard of anyone ever adding Calcium or Magnesium, but the rest seems to be ok.. maybe borderline high, but, not in the high category.


I have not had the chance to look through the whole thread, but for replenishing magnesium, I always apply dolostone meal in my "meal" mix 2x a year (bone+dolo+ a touch of blood meal).

The CEC is helpful to determine the pliability of your soil. Certain cations break soil appart. For example, when analysing clay particles, you would add pyrophosfate that would saturate with 1 valent iouns vs 2 valent ions, to loosen the electric ties. And that's a lose translation from my classes many years back as a geo-eng.

Salinity-fertility link is pretty important (you know, they salted those fields in Carthage?); you can screw fertility of the soil with irrigation for that reason (groing cotton in Uzbekistan, for example)... erm, as long as salinity is relatively low, you are good. You can't really remediate it....

I dunno, overall, it seems you are in the prairies, and compost, zeolite for clay and dolo-meal and blood meal, with some banana peels and epsom salt should be just fine. And if you can actually obtain real horse manure... aww, I wish I had an actual truck!!! I saw that fresh free manure on kijiji, and I wish I had a pick up, not an SUV!!!
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Dumbo » May 18, 2012 12:27 pm

Elena Zimmerman wrote:that's a lose translation from my classes many years back as a geo-eng

You're lucky.. if I could do it over again, that is the field I would have went into.

Elena Zimmerman wrote:as salinity is relatively low, you are good. You can't really remediate it....

Yup. But you can rob Paul to pay Peter (I think).
For example:
To my understanding, sodium is the one that causes problems with plants.
So...
My total salinity is mildly high, *if* this were due to sodium, and if my pH were a little off I could use Gypsum. The pH will/may be affected, but the calcium will displace the sodium, and the sodium will leech out (or run-off). Since my calcium in a notch below optimal this a perfect way to remediate it. It's a plus all the way around with no negative outcome that I can see (but i'm just learning, so there may be something I don't know about).

I don't know too much about the buffers or soil conditioners like dolomite, as you suggested, but after looking at it, this could also be used to replenish magnesium in conjunction with gypsum, displacing sodium and increasing both Ca and Mg. Which again, is a plus all the way around.

Interesting... I didn't know about dolomite. I'll have to look at this more. TY for that tip! It's something I was thinking of doing in the fall but it could be even better, as you suggested, to do it slow 2x a year instead of one big addition at the end of the season.
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Elena Zimmerman » May 18, 2012 2:45 pm

I don't see why not with gypsum, but for our alkalinity and sulphates... it is beyond my competence, so I will see if I can pump one of the agrologists I happen to work with for info :)
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Dumbo » May 18, 2012 5:24 pm

Yeah I was wondering the same thing. I spotted a few things yesterday i'll have to re-read on sulfates. I think It said you can flood it off with water if there is a real super-excess of it, but it's a slow process. But otherwise it will slowly leech out.

As for it affecting pH.. if memory serves me right it's the side reaction of gypsum with any aluminum in the soil that causes a pH change. If the soil has lots of aluminum, then pH will be affected.

I could always toss some soil in water at the lab, stick in a probe and drop some calcium sulfate in and see if pH changes.

I would expect clay type soil to have aluminum (I have clay) so it could cause a bad effect. Don't know...

But for sure i'll be looking at everything before I added anything.
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Dumbo » May 18, 2012 9:21 pm

davefrombc wrote: ..I keep picturing Marc out in the garden adding his secret formula to get nutrients just right and suddenly there's this little mushroom cloud.. :lol:

Hey, Dave...
I added water to my garden...




































Dumbos_Garden.jpg
Dumbos_Garden.jpg (24.49 KiB) Viewed 1674 times

:lol:
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby Dumbo » May 19, 2012 2:07 am

OGrubber, I found a small paper on what your values mean (2 pages).
http://www.green-resource.com/wp-conten ... Report.pdf

For deeper info, or to look at stuff that may not be explained in the first link, this one will round it off (15 page PDF. I only skimmed to the parts that interested me)
http://www.lovesgardens.com/Attachments ... oklet1.pdf

So I seem to be able to follow your type of analysis pretty good. But if it's still gobbly-gook, reel free to state so and i should be able to put it in an easier to understand way.

I noticed an error on your report.
you have this for Ca
%Ca = 74.5

and have this as a recommendation by the analyst:
recommendation [pounds per acre];
Mg = 5

So you either made a transcription error, or the labrat made an error on you.

It seems both your analysis, and mine, the recommendation is to hit the higher possible value in the "high level" (it's a range). Your Ca was off by a couple of points to hit this high end of the maximum range. Your Mg is fine.

So someone buggered up with the 5-lb/acre of Mg. It should be Ca.

ah yes... the CEC value. It seems you have to indeed look at it in regards to both organic content + the CEC value (as originally thought).

The PDF explains that one pretty well.

Apparently you don't want to pass 20 on the CEC scale. If you do, the recommendation is to add something to promote biological activity to break up the organic matter into humus faster.

You had an organic matter of 7 and a CEC just below 20. So the recommendation on that one is to do nothing at all.

Anyhow I think I have a firm enough grasp on it to put it in easy terms, if you want.
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Re: OGrubber (or anyone): soil analysis results - Help

Postby OGrubber » May 20, 2012 10:09 am

Thanks for the links Marc. Definately helps with the understanding. ....ecxept for one thing; You are saying one doesn't want to get above 20 on the CEC and yet when I read the second link's explanation, the impression I get is that it's ok [good even], though rarely seen in agricultural lands. Isn't the CEC a measure of the humus?

Quick note; t'was the lab paper that had the boo-boo.
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