Soil samples

Today I took soils samples to send to the lab. I really don’t know a lot about it, so I had a meeting with the OSU extensionist a few weeks back. She was very helpful, and began by telling me how to dig the sample holes and that I should take samples from several sites, mixing them to get a good overall average sample for my field. This all seemed pretty basic to me and I would have probably figured it out for myself. But the real help was when she told me things specific to Tillamook county, her area of expertise in all things agricultural.

“Here’s a list of labs you can use,” she said, handing me one of several handouts she had for just the occasion. She went on to explain that in our area, many of the soils are deficient in boron, so I needed to specifically request that test, in addition to the more routine testes for pH, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. She added that nitrogen testing was not very useful, since that’s going to change yearly with amendments anyway, and I shouldn’t bother with it.

Many of the testing labs also, as part of the soil report, tell you what you need to add to your soil to get it as healthy as it can be. It would be nice if it said “nothing, your soil is perfect” but that seems optimistic. But I feel optimistic! Everywhere I dug, I encountered loose, rich smelling soil filled with worms and rootlets. That’s what you get after a decade or two of blackberries and grassland growing on ancient cow pasture.

I have a double-bagged my two pound sample of earth in Ziplocks, and will stick it in the mail tomorrow. I’m nervous and excited to see the results; kindof like waiting to hear how I did on my SATs.

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