Friday, July 10, 2009

Soil Sentiments

Today (the day I am writing this post), Thursday, was soil testing day at Deer Palace. Today, Friday (the day you are reading this post) is the day I talk about soil testing on Nature With Me. I am often in this quandary over writing "today" "tomorrow" or "yesterday" when I am about to post. Inevitably, I am writing about the day that just happened in a way that it will be present tense to readers on the day after. Sheesh, this blog tense thing takes a lot of thought!

Usually because I am posting at 11ish pm so the post will go live at midnight-oh-one. All in an effort to bring you the latest in news you don't really need. But, hopefully, that you do want nonetheless. So, without further pish-posh, on to the soil!

I have had a soil test kit on hand for some time, but had not yet put it to use. I didn't have distilled water on hand. Today, I finally had some...I tested the squash bed for Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash. Because that is what the test entailed. And because I suspect it is low in minerals, especially Phosphorous and Calcium. I think I was correct. But, who could tell, really? Matching sediment-diluted water to a hue chart in hazy sunlight...That blue does match the "very low" blue, right? I thought so. Now for the Nitrogen:This photo was taken before the sediment finally settled, bu let me tell you, it was so faint that it looked to really have no color at all when it cleared. Nitrogen boost is in BIG order. We picked up some Dr. Earth Organic 5 fertilizer and some super soil building compost from the grange co-op. I really don't want to use even 'organic' commercial fertilizers, but my whole squash bed was amended before planting and is still suffering. I don't want to go without food, either. So, this is a learning year, and I made a compromise. I can live with it. (I will be using a bag of worm castings as well, for the major nigrogen needs.)
This one with the red cap is Potash, and I can't decide if it looks like high, medium, or low. In this photo, I think it looks low, but I couldn't tell in the sunlight at all. Either way, the soil has been amended, and hopefully, it is now super soil. For the pH test, I should have also used it on the squash bed, but I was curious about the tomato bed, since they seem to be doing rather well.
Do you see that beautiful, vibrant shade of Neutral green? Now, to that I can relate! Alas, I now have to pick up a pH only test for the squash bed, because I suspect it is off there as well. Hang in there, little squash!!

While all this was going on, chicky chicks were having their weekly bath on the garden bed edge. Once their droppings finish composting, THEY will be amending my soil.We have decided they are all three female, but now we are unsure of the breed. They were supposed to be Rhode Island Reds, but methinks they suspiciously resemble Buff Orpingtons more? I actually think they are more interesting than RIRs, and we didn't really care what breed we were getting. Just took what was in the pen at the grange...

What do you think of my soil test colors?
What do you know of chicken breeds?
Happy Friday to you all...

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