After 2 seasons of growing food in our vegetable garden, I am now preparing the garden for the 3rd year. This year I decided to do a proper soil test. So far I just relied on my Ph value meter and adding compost. I has asked David from the local CSA if he tests his soil and which service he uses. Turns out the CSA relies on the soil testing lab from Umass Amherst. After looking up their website I found the test submission instructions and soon had out a cup of dried samples in the mail.

UMass Soil Test

After about 2 weeks later they emailed me the results. Lots of information about the soil. Interesting was the pH level which was at 7 which is within range and nicely aligned to what my pH meter reported.

pH level of 7.0

Another interesting measurement is the organic matter percentage, which was 5.7% and after some research learned that was a good value. Apparently my composting additions helped.

Organic matter

Also cool is that they provide recommendations how to improve the soil. In our case they recommended improving the nitrogen levels and the potassium levels. They even recommended how to improve these levels. For nitrogen they recommended blood meal (2-2.5 lbs per 100 sqft) or Urea (0.6-0.7 lbs per 100sqft). To improve the potassium levels they recommeded to use Potash (.2lbs per 100sqft).

Nitrogen and Potassium needed

So I went ahead and ordered these products. I got the bloodmeal from Down To Earth for the nitrogen and potash from Easy Peasy All Organic to increase the potassium levels.

Down to Earth Blood Meal

Unrelated to the soil test I also ordered Nematodes to help with killing the various grubs. I had done a treatment with Nematodes 2 years ago and seemed to have helped but there were still some grub around. This time I bought the nematoades from Arbico, actually they had an offering of 3 different nematodes that attack grubs from different insects.

Nematodes from Arbico

Now having all of the applied to the garden will have it rest a little more until early May to seed the first plants. But until then I'll cover the soil with black plastic to kill the first attack of weeds.