soil tests are essential
> I don't think Christina ("burnt veggies") needs to take a soil sample
> from her garden to her extension service to tell her what her soil
> needs, because what it needs is water.
I think soil tests are invaluable. Uneducated guessing in cultivation can
either limit a garden's potential or cause the soil harm. Why not take
informed, deliberate steps in improving soil fertility? Not to mention that
gardening in urban soils without testing for at least lead is, IMHO,
For $8, U. of Mass will test soil nutrients and lead and cadmium. Nothing
but a net gain in knowledge for a small time and money investment, and
potentially one's self harm from poison.
This is coming from experience in which a soil test show excessive zinc and
boron, which hinted at possible heavy metal contamination. Sure enough, I
dug deeper and found a layer of coal ash (16" down). Coal ash's main
elements are zinc, boron.... (there was the hint from the first soil test),
lead and arsenic.
So, had I gone on with no soil test, I'd not know of the potential hazard of
handling and ingesting lead and arsenic. A second sample has been sent to
test for these two, and while waiting for results I'm not even gardening in
Gardener, know thine soil!
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org