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If soil is the most important thing in growing nutrient-dense vegetables, shouldn’t you be able to see what’s in your soil? It drives us crazy when other companies don’t share their soil test results. So in the name of transparency…

Here is the soil test from our most recent soil mix. (From MidWest Labs)

Here is the soil test from our most recent soil mix. (From Logan Labs)

What We Look At On the Soil Test

1. The percent base saturation. This is telling you what percent of the cation exchange complex is being occupied by different plant available nutrients. Below is the currently agreed upon “ideal” percentages for the base ions. We are ok with our results being just a touch high on all of these, because raised beds tend to leach nutrients a little faster because of high drainage, and we grow very intensively. The ideal percentages are also developed for acidic soils with hydrogen taking up 5-10% of the exchange complex. Colorado alkaline soils have no hydrogen in them and will naturally have higher percentages of everything else because these % points have to be distributed somewhere.

Calcium: ideal 60-75%. Ours is 65%. We are adding gypsum as a micro-amendment, which should increase this percentage a bit and decrease the percentages below.

Magnesium: ideal 10-20%. Ours is 22% (20% on Logan Labs Report).

Potassium: ideal 2-5%. Ours is 6%. This is slightly high, but much of the potassium will be “cropped out” in the first year. Most raised bed mixes with high compost show 15-22%, so we are happy with 6%.

Sodium: ideal .5-5%. Ours is 7% on the MidWest Test and only 1% on the Logan Labs Test. This is a surprising discrepancy that simply reflects different testing methods. Sodium leaches out of our beds quickly, so we are not concerned with 7%.

Hydrogen: This will always be 0% in alkaline Colorado soils.

2. The soluble salts are 1.4. This is low and won’t cause salt stress or damage to plants.

3. The organic matter is 2.9%. This is actually a low number for how much organic matter is actually in our soil in the form of coco and compost. We are exploring how the soil lab does the organic matter test to see why it shows up as low.

4. There is sufficient available phosphorus and nitrogen, but nitrogen is slightly low, which is why we will be adding a granular slow-release nitrogen-heavy organic fertilizer (very low-salt fertilizer) when we plant.

5. The sulfur levels are a bit too high, though not anywhere near toxic. We are hoping that much of this excess sulfur will be leached out throughout the season because sulfur leaches easily, much like sodium.

6. We will also be adding rock dust to ensure we have sufficient micronutrients, along with a carbon source to bind them (humates).

Learn how to get your soil tested to grow nutrient-dense veggies.

bmason

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