As of yesterday, I now have a vegetable garden. Alright, it's a patch of bare soil about 12' x 12', but I dug out the grass, tilled it and added some of my own homemade compost and some chicken litter from our coop.
While I was purchasing even more seeds for my vegetable garden I saw a little soil test kit. I though, "Hmm... let's see how the soil stacks up." Plus I thought it'd be a fun project to do with my middle-school aged girls. And they did enjoy doing it with me. You'll see the results in the photos. Granted, we followed the directions and dug down 4" for the soil sample to be tested. My compost additions hadn't made it down that far yet.
Well, the soil is borderline alkaline, but really pretty neutral. And it is very low on Nitrogen and Potash, and "low" on Phosphorous. I wasn't completely shocked as I've tested soil around here before with similar results. But now the question is, what do I do?
For now I will keep doing what I'm doing now, which is adding compost which we always have lazily forming in a big clump on the side of our house. And I will be looking into some organic nutrients to add as well. I am also adding Gardens Alive's natural vegetable booster into each planting hole.
I'm a big proponent of organic gardening which is really supplementing the natural process of healthy soil. There's a big live world in that dirt and I really want to feed those microorganisms and encourage the earthworms to till the soil. I think of chemical fertilizers a bit like using steroids - you'll get instant growth, but at the cost of the health of the plant and the break down of natural microorganisms in the soil. Plus, this is a vegetable garden. Of course I would want to have an organic vegetable garden that delivers chemical-free veggies for my family. But I think the same mind set applies to ornamental gardening as well. It's just better for the garden in the long run to feed things naturally, not to mention the environment.