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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old August 12, 2016   #1
My Foot Smells
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Default Soil Test

date: 08/12/2016

dropped off a pint of soil at the local extension office this morning. said it would be two weeks before I got my results (which I will post in this thread). Pretty painless task, unlike many government interactions, and was the only one there. The girl was extremely helpful and appeared bored, so talked quite a bit about the operation. Evidently, they test almost anything, grass, tree bark (had a baggie ready to ship of white spots off oak tree), soil of various nature.

Asked me a few questions:

1. Have I added any lime in the past 4 years? I haven't on large scale.
2. What crops was I growing? I guess this is to differentiate composition suggestions. I replied tomatoes of course. But beans, peas was different.
3. How big was the garden (less than 1 acre)? I guess maybe they compute recommendations.

The office was your typical g-ment establishment, but I think this is where the master garden program also resides, as they had an awesome shade garden in the front and the hedges were nice w/o the expected beer bottles and trash underneath.

The lab for soil is in Marianna, Ark., (which I knew), one of Elvis' old stomping grounds in the ark. delta. Bark and grass goes to Fayetteville, lots of landscapers use this service.

One of the big concerns, esp. in the historic downtown district, is lead in the soil from the houses built in the 17-1800's. Reportedly lead can stay in the soil for 100's of years. Maybe something to consider before your next home purchase is to test the soil.

I mentioned a girl that tested her soil for her garden before purchase (kchd..), and thought that was brilliant. She mentioned that often ppl come in after the fact with dead sod they just spent 10K on.

We also talked about the tomato crop failure this year in the mid-south. Late blight. They were real busy at that time of the year. Too much rain. Also said I can bring in a specimen that can be examined.

It was kind of refreshing to know that I am utilizing a service my tax dollars provide for ONCE!

Anyhoo, just a brief statement for others and reminder. Figure I can get a cover crop or amend this fall w/ time to spare. Most ppl wait until spring, right before the deadline, but me thinks you have time on your side an advantage by testing in the fall. maybe.....

......to be continued, with hopefully decent #'s.
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Old August 12, 2016   #2
Worth1
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They didn't remove lead from paint until 1978
Most of which accumulates around the drip lines or exterior of the house.
This stuff can really play hell with the development of a child.

Worth
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Old August 12, 2016   #3
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I remember an episode of This Old House where they discovered lead had been washing down into the planting bed soil next to an older home. The owners had children and were warned to never plant edibles in that area.

And if you don't know the history of your property, there's a chance that lead or other contaminants could have been dumped there. Friends bought a home that had been previously owned by a painting contractor and ended up discovering one whole section of their lot was basically a toxic waste site. They eventually learned it was where the painter used to keep his dumpster.
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Old August 12, 2016   #4
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I had a guy tell me they go in and spread soil over the top of old auto salvage yards because they only test so far down and it isn't that far.
They do this instead of cleaning the place up.
The property behind my house used to be the old city land fill from many years ago.
No telling what kind of stuff is buried out there.'
You can tell where it stopped and started by the age of the trees.

Worth
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Old August 12, 2016   #5
Cole_Robbie
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On the bright side, tomatoes don't uptake lead. Leafy greens are the worst about it.
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Old August 12, 2016   #6
Hellmanns
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I played with a big block of lead when I was a kid, I think that's why I'm slow.
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Old August 13, 2016   #7
My Foot Smells
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ha. probably ate a few lead paint chips a a kid. let's hope we don't get none of that in the sample.
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Old August 13, 2016   #8
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I was running conduit in an old cabinet shop and kicked a dusty old 2X6 out of the way.
It didn't move it was a solid bar of lead.
Ouch.

Worth
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Old August 13, 2016   #9
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As a kid I used to look for lead and copper to sell at the scrapyard. I remember an aunt giving me some mercury to play with. No bicycle helmets no seatbelts matches that would strike anywhere, how did we ever survive ?
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Old August 15, 2016   #10
PureHarvest
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We do survive. That's the sinister part of it. We do survive the onslaught of bacteria, fungi, parasites, chemicals, elements, and compounds.
However, look at how the majority of the adult population struggles with at least one chronic disease condition.
Most just chalk it up to "I must be getting old" as a reason for why they are not thriving, even into advanced age.
The body burden people are carrying around is unseen, and rarely considered as the factor for their woes. Then there are the diet choices people make that directly impact the equation further and to a greater degree.
"What doesn't kill you (instantly) makes you stronger", is one of the biggest myths of all time.
Inflammation from diet, along with exposure to the list above, creates chronic disease.
The greatest of all of these that you can directly control is diet.
/Rant off/
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Old August 15, 2016   #11
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We were given some mercury to handle at school in science class.

In the shoe shops you could put your foot into a contraption and see an X-ray of it - fun!

At least we didn't have fast food or junk food when I was growing up.....

Linda
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Old August 16, 2016   #12
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OK, to get back on topic, when I had excess energy and double dug part of the garden I found where the builders had dumped the excess green pigment for the first stucco coat on the house. It was a chromium compound that would not have been healthy if taken up by plants. Most removed to the landfill, and a frog pond over that area now.
PureHarvest , no rant only the truth.
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Old August 16, 2016   #13
Worth1
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I asked my friend why he didn't have a back yard garden.
He told me that the subdivision he was in they used the back yards for scrap fill and covered it with soil.
The scraps were concrete chunks bricks and rebar.
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Old August 18, 2016   #14
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The city in which I was born, raised and still live was founded on lead and zinc mining. During the 80's the EPA did extensive soil testing and thousands of properties had the top several of inches of soil removed and replaced with uncontaminated soil. Apparently the whole town is built on top of old mine shaft from the extensive mining. I remember as a kid we would spend countless hours playing in the chat piles, digging and rooting around. Those chat piles were also removed in the 70's and 80's. I have little doubt this was detrimental to many who have made this area home. But growing up we had no idea we were living in a danger zone.
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Old August 26, 2016   #15
My Foot Smells
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the results are in:

soil test results.pdf


acidic soil, low N and K.

any help or suggestions would be appreciated. thanks
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