Garden Soil Test Interpretation

This has been a multi-year work in progress to amend my garden soil, since I moved to my new location 4 years ago. The soil was naturally deficient is almost all nutrients (except magnesium, due to the magnesium-rich water) when I first moved in. I always used UMass Extension for testing and they provide basic interpretation and recommendations, which I found to be very user-friendly. Last year it was recommended to me to use Logan Labs in Ohio, because they test for micronutrients that UMass does not. However, except for the part where they provide normal value ranges, I am having trouble interpreting the results and coming up with an improvement plan.

Is someone able to take a stab at this?


I don’t know how to interpret your analysis, but I am interested in how much it cost, how long it took, how you sampled the soil, that sort of thing.

What crops are you considering or actively growing?


@marknmt It costs $30

All the info is here:


Very reasonable. I wonder how they do it.

@Richard Mostly tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, radishes, watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers, corn, beans, peas, beets, carrots, herbs, and some other common vegetables.

Here everything I plan on putting in my garden this year:

I have been using waypoint analytical in TN. They give good advice on how to fertilize for specific crops.

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Your organic matter is very good at 7% . Ph very good. Cat ion exchange a little low looks like sandy soil. Your good on Potassium and Phosphorus. Dont use any fertilizer with P and K. Urea in small amounts for N if you use chemical fertilizers. Your a little low on Boron. Id wait til next year, retest and if Boron stays the same, study up on how to add Boron… It’s touchy. Good question from Mark about sample depth… Was it taken at 6 inches? Multiple samples blended together?

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Great soil…dont ruin it.
Selenium its very hard to come by nowaday.

@Masbustelo Thank you for the analysis. I appreciate it. To confirm, all samples taken at 6 inches at 12 points across the garden and mixed.

I started amending the boron and copper last year, as they were both deficient at 0. I went very light, because it’s very difficult to correct overdosages on those elements.

It looks like I still need to increase sulfur, cobalt, moly, silicon, manganese, copper (I still have some copper pentahydrate left from last year), boron (still have some of this too).

The reason I went with Logan Labs this year is to get a better picture on these minerals, which most extensions don’t test.

@Heldervalente Yessir! Thank you. I am still working toward the best soil I can possibly amend. It’s in much better shape than 2 years ago. This is what is looked like in 2021…

A little better in 2022…


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You had two tests in a row with plenty of manganese. I don’t see why you’d suggest adding more. My soil is nearly toxic with manganese because somebody added too much at one point.

Maybe add more copper and boron. But really it’s difficult to get deficiencies of micronutrients. When researchers try they have to use pure quartz sand to get a tree with a deficiency bad enough to see adverse effects.

Your trees have at least 5ft of soil to draw from not 6 inches. Speaking of 6 inches was the sample taken at 6 inches or 0-6 inches? The later is better. You might want to sample the topsoil, all of it, and a deeper sample getting you down to at least 18-24 inches. With the right tool and not too many rocks that’s fairly easy to do. Take cores from 12 or more locations and mix together.

I’d be careful with purposefully adding copper. Copper stays in the soil almost indefinitely and in higher concentrations becomes toxic to soil life (earthworms) and than plant life. Since you might passively increase it via sprays against fungus in the future. I would not add it purposefully to increase it due to a slightly low value on a soil test.

Also keep in mind a lot of the micro element get to the plants via soil life/from organic material. Since you have a good amount of organic mass in your soil. It would be really hard to get a micronutrient deficiency like a copper deficiency.

Your PH jumped up 0.7 points between tests. Might not sound like a lot. But its a logarithmic scale. And most things that increase PH, do so slowly over years. So your PH might slowly rise more the coming years. Even if you do nothing.

PH is also a lot easier to increase than decrease. So usually best left alone or changed very slowly.

Since you seem to be using the soil exclusively for vegetables/ annual fruit production (looking at your planting plan, i see no fruit tree’s)

I don’t think it’s necessary to take deeper soil samples.

I’d mainly focus on using organic matter to improve the soil (compost, mulch, manure) and than your probably perfect. If using any fast acting or artificial fertilizer you probably only need a N source. Or very lightly apply a fast acting K on those plants that are known for needing a lot of K (strawberries come to mind)


Hi, is it the 25$ standard test? that’s what it appears to be + 5 bucks to ship a sample or however cheap you can do it?

Thank you.

The test seems quite cheap.

But I’m a bit worried there are no error margins given on the test results.

I’d be very curious if you’d send in 2 identical samples. How much they would differ.

I haven’t done much commercial soil testing though. So mybe the lack of error margins is industry standard. The value of 1143 for calcium at least leads me to believe they have not used the error margins into significant digits. (witch to me seems like one reasonable way to make results more understandable to most people)

I think that’s where @Masbustelo has been having soil tested for a long time

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@fruitnut The last test for this year manganese yielded 15 ppm, when optimal levels should be 40-50 ppm.

@Barkslip Dax, my test cost $30 with the extras.

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@oscar Copper and Boron need to be added very slowly. I added small amounts last year, knowing that there is no going back and that I’d have to tweak levels a little more this year. Slow and steady wins the race.

I’m curious, what is your goal in raising copper/boron. Are you seeing deficiency’s? Or are you just aiming at a certain number because that number is “typical” “good” soil?

I’m under the impression, that for hobbyists it does way more harm than good to mess with things like copper/boron in an artificial way. A lot can go wrong. And a lot of adjusting it (except for extreme cases) will not yield you a noticeable difference.

Things change if you have multiple acres of commercial production, and only a very small profit margin. But for the average hobbyist it’s way easier to just aim for good organic matter, sufficient NPK and soil structure. And leave the rest alone.

Think about it, if the "right amount of copper/boron (if we even know what that is) gives you 0.1% more yield, does that really matter/justify the expense/effort/risk for a hobbyist? Probably wil for some one with multiple if not hundreds of acres but for us?

i might verry wel be wrong on this though. So please let me know if i am :slight_smile:

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