Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We've always had a garden. Some more successful than others. Some years it's just a few tomatoes, others, it's a sprawling tangle mess of weeds and struggling veggies.

When we moved into our current home, we were extremely blessed to inherit a wonderful garden spot that still had growing produce in it. I'm sure the former gardeners must have spend a lot more time than we do, because in just a few months, we had transformed that beautiful plot into a weed infested wasteland. Sigh.

Every fall, we'd vow to do better next year. We'd burn off the stubble and plow it under. Spring would come and we'd begin planting with hopes and visions of bumper crops of glorious veggies. But, when the heat of summer hit, we'd abandon the mess and just wait til fall to burn and turn it under.

Until this year. We got smart and decided to have our soil tested. Yes, I realize it wouldn't help with the weeds, but it surely would address why we had such spindly plants and little yields. DH dug up several spots and mixed the soil together. Then took a sample to our local Extension office, paid the $ and we waited.

A few weeks later, we got the results back. While we had a wonderful mix of soil and compost, we were severely lacking in nitrogen. We also had a pH of 7.2 while most vegetables prefer 6.3-6.8, so sulfur was recommended to drop the pH.

We had very high levels of phosphorus and potassium and organic matter.

I highly recommend if your garden is struggling, get the soil tested. You will receive a summary report as well as detailed report on what you have and what you lack. Based on their advice, we added nitrogen fertilizer found at local garden centers. And, it worked! This year, we had a much better crop.

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