One of our first tasks was to have a soil test performed. We tested the two areas seen in the pictures above. Soil testing is important to tell you what type of soil you have for drainage and water, and what nutrients you will need for the crops you are planting. We are doing flowers and some shrubs/trees so we will concentrate on what we need to grow those plants.
We had our test performed and the results are back. Our garden had been planted with trees and shrubs so most likely it had been amended at some point in the past but not recently. Now it is a couple of trees and lots of weeds.
The soil is sandy loamy which means it will drain medium to fast so will dry out more quickly (better than hard lumpy clay). We are planning on using low water plants so this will be ok. The drainage will help us determine what type of irrigation is needed. Most likely for low water plants we will use a drip system with some spray heads.
The PH is slightly high which shouldn’t be a problem for the plants we will put here.
Lime is very high which is typical for Colorado. Our soil is very alkaline. The plants we are planting will still grow well though so that’s ok. This information will help us determine what plants will grow best here.
Organic matter is low but that is expected since this area hasn’t been amended in years. Some nice compost will help out for this. This could be animal or plant matter. If you home compost it would work great. We’ll talk more about this when we amend our garden. For more info on compost see the link below**
Nitrates are low. We’ll need to add some nitrogen. Nitrogen is what helps plants grow. We have lots of phosphorus in the soil which helps them bloom so we won’t need to any more phosphorus. As we go along we will determine if there are some plants that might need some fertilizer.
There are lots of elements tested but these are the ones we will have to give more care. Everything else tested out to be normal levels or we didn’t need to add any more of the element.
Anyone can have their soil tested at the CSU labs. It’s amazing the difference there can be in samples within a small yard. When testing you will gather samples from different areas of your space.
Soil sample jars and information forms are available at Colorado State University Extension county offices, fertilizer and agrichemical dealers, garden centers, nurseries, commercial soil testing laboratories, or from the Colorado State University Soil, Water and Plant Testing Laboratory, Room A319, Natural and Environmental Sciences Building, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1120; (970)491-5061. Samples can be mailed directly to the laboratory for analysis.
The soil sample jars and information give you all the information you need to know about how to collect the samples. You can mail them in or drop them off at the university.
If you would like to do some research on soil here are some links you can check out:
The link to compost:
Watch our garden grow!!