The sandy soil on my land is perfectly suited to growing palmettos and passion flowers, though NOT much else in the way of fruits and vegetables. Through searching for a soil survey of my county, I discovered that our area, just south of the Choctawhotchee Bay and North of the Gulf is comprised of undifferentiated quartz sands with varying percentages of silt and clay. Not much in the way of organic matter.
No surprises here, just the scientific jargon expressing what we already knew, hence the raised garden beds. In the garden beds, I created what I THOUGHT was some resemblance of actual soil in which one could potentially grow things and amend the soil as needed. I mixed equal parts top soil, composted cow manure, peat moss and humus. This might partially explain why my beets and carrots are stunted, and the garlic and potatoes “appear” to be taking off, though that’s really just an illusion. Who knew? Obviously, I was mistaken in this whole adventure and will purchase the mushroom compost for future beds. Here’s the soil test procedure and results from the raised bed taken with my new handy dandy Rapitest kit.
For the P,K, and N test, collect 1 cup of soil from about 4″ from the surface.
For the Ph test, collect the soil from same area, mix it up and let it dry (I was way too impatient for all that.)
Back to the P, K, and N test, mix the 1 cup of soil w/ 5 cups of water and let sit for 30 minutes.
Back to the Ph test, fill test chamber to fill line with soil.
Next, throw in the contents of the green capsule, then fill with water, shake, and wait 1 minute.
The color on my monitor is a bit deceiving. In reality, the soil Ph was between 5.5 and 6.0, which is fine for most plants.
Back to the P, K, and N tests, suck the water out of the 1:5 mixture using the eyedropper and taking care not to disturb the sediment. Fill the test chambers, then empty the contents of each color coded capsule into the test chamber. Shake and let sit for 10 minutes.
As you can see, the soil in the raised bed is completely devoid of any nutrients. Pitiful. This will take some work to restore. Good thing I bought a bag of Real Poop and the composter is doing its thing. In case your wondering if something went wrong with the actual test, it’s possible, though I also tested the already used soil from the Earthboxes. The Ph was right on 6.0, the K and N were depleted, and the P was sufficient. So, I’ll need to work on those before anything else gets planted.