Garden Soil Test Interpretation

Because there is no limit on OM. The more the better.

Ideal would be a good balance of straw and wood chips to have a good balance of bacteria and fungi.

If he is turning the soil as i expect people do in veggie gardens some of the carbon is being lost as gas also, so adding carbon back is always good.

Adding minerals its not a good idea because its not about the minerals, its about how much the enzimes of the microorganisms break them down and make them available, this you dont see on regular soil tests, you need a chromatogram to see that.

Its about relationship of minerals, microorganisms and organic matter, in universities they just look at minerals because thats what they can sell and make money on, so thats what they teach, the curriculums are even design by the companies that sell the products.

Its about the life in the soil not about the food in the soil.
But when you are higher than 5% OM you are quite safe, only if you make big mistakes you can destroy that.

Marco looks like a cientist testing with litle changes and thats the way to go if you want to see the changes. Im curious about what will come out of this.

At my place i use a lot korean natural farming,if you want to add something, here you have a lot of recipes but anyway…you dont need it.

Not sure I agree with this. There’s a balance to everything. Adding too much organic material interferes with an existing balanced soil. Last year I added 4 cubic yards of organic compost and did direct composting for the whole year. This year I will only do direct composting among the rows of whatever I’ll grow.

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Tell a forest that her organic matter its too much.

If you used compost that was not properly decomposed it can suck your nitrogen for example…as i mentioned before , to make changes better to make small changes, specialy when you have a very good soil like you already have,

It looks like you are trending up in pH value towards neutral 7.0 as your testing sequence confirms. You need to take measures to keep it slightly acidic by doing several things:

  1. If you are on municipal water, chances are your water supply is alkaline like mine. Over a period of years if your % water is alkaline, your soil will also become alkaline and less fertile to most plants you grow. In my area rainfall is slight acidic, but not enough to overcome the municipal alkaline doses, mainly because my rainfall occurs in winter-spring rather than when I most need it!
  2. Review your practice to achieve fertility to determine why your soil is trending up in pH. Perhaps you need to either acidify your water source or cut back on whatever is causing it to go towards alkaline.
    Kent, wa
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I amended this soil throughout the past several years to what is today. It’s still not perfect, but I’ve done it by making small additions, without shocking it too much. You had to see the tomato plants that I planted 4 years ago, when I first moved in. They looked like they were hit by herbicides. It was an ugly leaf curling disaster of a mess. The soil deficiencies were terrible. I was able to turn things around dramatically in a few years.

I think that is because soils with high Organic material and high microorganisms populations drive PH to neutral.

Worm castings are ph 7.

@DennisD Very good eye! Yes, as you could see from my initial report calcium was very deficient at baseline. The tomatoes were showing it via bottom end rot on a great percentage of fruit. I added a significant amount of dolomite lime, oyster shells and crushed eggshells in the past few years. The calcium is looking much better, but the pH was definitely affected as a result. This year I will only add eggshells from our home waste, but no other forms of calcium. I use well water, which I also tested and doesn’t show a significant level of calcium. It does show a significant amount of magnesium though. This justifies the high magnesium levels in the most recent report.

Lime will definitely push to alkaline, suggest no more dolomite or any form of lime. Best fertilizer for tomatoes is Epsom salts applied as foliar application.

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@DennisD I was using MasterBlend, which has Epsom salt as one of the components, but I need to tone down usage of epsom, due to the high levels of magnesium in the most recent report. Tomatoes do love magnesium and calcium though!

I’m getting the idea your chasing numbers for the sake of chasing numbers.

I think that’s a bad idea.
imo you already overshot your PH ( i would have kept it 6.5 or lower)
And it will probably keep rising a few years. (the lime you applied works slowly over many years)

It’s really easy to add something to soil. Practically impossible to take it away.

The increase in magnesium is almost certainly due to the dolomite lime (has a roughly 2:1 ratio of calcium/magnesium)
Although your water source could have played a smal role.

Your soil test results are really good.
So unless your seeing some clear deficiency’s (which i doubt looking at the test results)
It hurts nothing to leave it alone, let it stabilize for a few years. It hurts a lot if you overshoot on adding something and than run into trouble in a few years.

the soils lab even states that the optimal bounds for copper and boron are not really optimal bounds. But just what is average/normal range.

Think of it this way, If your BMI is 21, would you work really hard to increase that to 26.5? (average in some countries, normal range) Or would you keep it as is, as long as it’s not giving any issues. Or even better would you look at what’s considered good/healthy instead of what’s average/normal range?

your 2021 test results where already really good. If those where my results i would have used a tiny amount of lime. And some organic matter and be pretty dam happy about it.
the fact that your calcium base saturation shot up from 37% to almost 70% in just 2 years worries me a bit.

Also keep in mind that for micro element the margin of error in the tests can be (i think likely are) larger than the measured value and or optimum range (which is as the lab itself states isn’t even and optimum range)
This could mean you get a false report, mess with your soil and get a different false value next year on another element and mess with that. Repeating that year after year costs your a lot of effort and money and mucks up your soil. Don’t go blindly chasing numbers! especially when those numbers don’t even have error margins mentioned. That’s almost the opposite of an scientific approach.

reading back my post. It comes off a little harsh. It’s not meant that way. Your doing a lot right! i would just like to warn you to not overcorrect or try and fix problems that aren’t actually problems. Since that might actually give you problems when you had little to none to start with.

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@oscar Hate to wholeheartedly disagree with you on the 2021 results. That was the first soil test I took at my new residence, and I highly doubt you would have been very happy if all your tomato plants looked like this:

I also performed an extremely expensive herbicide and pesticide test with Columbia Laboratories in Oregon to exclude the possibility that herbicides or something else would have caused this event. Some top agricultural consultants in MA determined the root cause to be soil nutritional deficiencies. They were obviously correct.


@oscar Let me give you a little perspective compared to 2020. This is what my garden looked like in 2022. And the yields were off the hook, like I never experienced in almost 30 years of gardening.

PS: I didn’t grow the bananas


For what tt’s worth I have used Logan Labs for five years. They are an excellent lab, as I’m sure many others are as well. I use them for lawns as turf grass management is an interest of mine. For those of you reading this, as well as the OP. Organic matter such as leaves or hay will bring calcium up to desired levels. Boron seems to be important helping plants in periods of drought and seed development. Copper is required for many enzymatic activities in plants and for chlorophyll and seed production. Micro nutrients improperly applied can wreak havoc and make soils a waste land. My advice to the OP is that it isn’t a speed race and your in a good place let your additives break down and see where you are in a couple of years. With your current Ph, don’t add any more calcium additives, you’ll get plenty from your organic matter as it breaks down. I sort of think we can add too much organic matter. At some point you don’t really have soil anymore and it becomes a fine dust that doesn’t really cling together like soils do. I’m having good success throwing hay and leaves on the ground, pulling the mulch aside and stick plants or seeds in the cleared away spots. However…leeks, onions and celery I don’t think you can have too much O.M. they love ‘muck’ soil.


I don’t see what the big deal is. You do the test to get a number. Then you make application using established application rates. I repeat: Established application rates as opposed to “wild guess”.

For micronutrients, its practically like homeopathic. Like a quarter tsp. So be it.

Agonizing that last tiny application to get to “ideal”isn’t worth it. In my case a couple of things were entirely missing. So that made it easy.

Also, knowing what’s there in abundance is just about as important.

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@Masbustelo I agree with you 100%. It’s a balance. There’s a reason why Logan and other testing labs recommend organic material to be between 1% and 4%.

Mine is a little on the high end at 7.41% for having dumped 10 yards of organic compost in my 900 sq ft garden over the course of the past 3 years. At baseline the soil in 2020 started as an estimated 70+% clay and 20% rocks. Kind of a bad situation to get things kicked off. I will pause this year on organic compost and will just do some small scale household direct composting in between rows, as I’ve been doing since 2020. I’m going to give my garden a chance to “digest” the large amount of organic compost I massaged into the soil in the past few years. I’ll re-evaluate again next year.

I was looking to perhaps add 5-10 lbs of azomite for the entire garden to supplement for the low trace minerals (cobalt, moly, silicon, sulfur, copper, etc.), , but it also contains magnesium and I’m concerned with the already above optimal level of magnesium that my last soil test reported. It’s not significantly crazy over the suggested range, but I am aware. I never used it before, but Azomite might be exactly what I need at this point. Wish there was a place that compounded targeted amendments based on specific needs.

The final plan for my 900 sq ft garden this year is to add 18 lbs dried blood meal and 10 lbs of azomite. Will re-evaluate after next year’s testing.

If increasing acidity is desired you could try adding some diluted battery acid to your soil Blueberries and Battery Acid Adventures

However, consider availability of the nutrients you want to add at a lower pH if considering an adjustment.

That sounds a little caustic.

I think the key is to have pH monitoring ability on the water you are applying and making sure it’s not below a 5 pH.

From my experience at work, a ~5 pH is not “happy” water, meaning that it is in a transitional state where it wants to be higher or lower depending on the minerals around to either precipitate or dissolve.

May be smart to do some tissue samples on the crops of concern and compare to the soil test results.

See if you can compare the results of the plants that are doing well against the results of the plants that are not doing well

Cost $5 at my state university.

Forgot to add the link for tissue testing for tomatoes.