Testing Your Soil
Listen to the full show:
March 9, 2013 — Having your soil tested can be very helpful, but the recommendations that come with the results are often toxic. Mike McGrath explains your organic lawn and garden options. Plus: Mike speaks with farmer and gardener Adam Glas about raising chickens in your own backyard. And answers to all your growing questions!
I recently had my lawn soil analyzed by the soil test lab at Penn State University. Their suggestion for the amount of limestone I should add to bring up my soilâ€™s pH is quite clear, but they give endless recommendations on fertilizers, none of which seem to actually match the numbers on any bags of lawn food at garden centers. Here are just a few of the â€śN-P-Kâ€ť ratios they listed: 32-4-10; 33-3-10;
30-3-10; 30-6-12; and 29-3-4. They suggest I pick a fertilizer that matches (or is close to) one on the list and use it three times during the growing season. Some of the offerings in a famous â€śFour Stepâ€ť program come close at 30-0-4 and 28-1-4; but nothing matches any of Penn Stateâ€™s numbers exactly. What defines “close” regarding ratios? Is 28-6-6 “close” to 28-1-4? I appreciate your advice! Get the answer Â»
Photo by Flickr user NRCS Soil Health