Soil test; finishing first sample, starting the second

I left our first sample’s water and soil mixture to sit overnight again, and this is what it looked like this morning.

This is with the morning light behind it. Still very opaque, after having more than two days to settle!

Also, very orange with the light behind it! The soil in this area does have a reddish cast to it, overall, likely due to so much decomposed wood in it.

Here, you can see the layers pretty clearly. The colours look wildly different from this angle!

I went ahead and started the tests for nitrogen, phosphorus and potash, then got a sample of the new garden soil started in the water for later.

Emptying those capsules into the test tubes is quite the pain. You’re supposed to be able to just open the gel caps, but they don’t come apart. I ended up having to snip them, but that sends powder flying, no matter how tiny the snip!

This is after just a minute or two after mixing. They needed to sit for at least 10 minutes.

And here they are!

Keeping in mind that this soil sample is from an area that has been buried under wood for decades. The only things growing in it were things that could force their way through the pallets, like the cherry trees, some poplars, crab grass and other weeds. This specific spot included the pallet fence on top on top of it, which has a number of little trees growing through it.

Last year was the only time any amendments were added, and that was in the from of a mulch of grass clippings. I did use some Miracle Gro fertilizer on the garden beds we had last year, applied with a garden hose, but the area this sample was taken from was where we had tried to plant kohlrabi, which did not succeed, so any fertilizer this area got was from whatever mist that happened to blow over.

I’m actually pleasantly surprised. It’s a bit on the low side for nitrogen, more of a medium for the phosphorus, and medium – almost high – for the potash. (Note: the colours show up slightly different in the photos than in real life.) It’s a lot better than I expected for soil that has been in the conditions this soil has.

Here is the second sample, after settling for maybe half an hour. What a difference between the purchased garden soil, with its 5 part blend of compost, manures and sand, and the first sample!

I’m actually going to hand on to these after the next batch of tests is done, to compare with the next sample. I should probably do at least two more tests; one from the beds we used last year, and one from an area that has never had any garden in it, that we will be planting in this year. Those should be very interesting!

I need to find more jars I don’t use for food! 😀

The Re-Farmer

4 thoughts on “Soil test; finishing first sample, starting the second

    • Probably. That might affect the results, though. The instructions say to avoid even touching the samples with your hands as much as possible.

      I figure it’s accurate enough for our needs. 😁


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