Edna M Weigel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tue, 9 Nov 1999 13:40:55 -0700
The soil test I paid for before I started my current garden
indicated 10 ppm nitrate and 1.9 ppm phosphorus The lab recommended 6
pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft three times and 28 pounds phosphorus
once. I haven't made the recommended additions but my garden seems to be
doing fine except for things like weather and grasshoppers. Meanwhile,
Ronald Nigh and others have convinced me that the fact that I do a lot of
mulching encourages nitrogen-fixing bacteria, so I'm not worried about
nitrogen. (I never have added the amounts of nitrogen that the Master
Gardener Book says I have to.)
But I'm wondering about phosphorus; do soil tests show total
phosphorus or only that that is "available"? From my days as a chemist,
I am fully aware that phosphorus can be tied up in very insoluable
compounds. (I remember one test for pyro phosphate in which we boiled the
sample something like 24 hours in dilute acid before we could measure the
total phosphate.) From my reading, I am also aware of microbial activity
that makes phosphorus more available.
How concerned should I be? Will my efforts to add organic matter
(which soon will include composted chicken manure and bedding) and
continued mulching encourage the microbial life that will make phosphorus
Regards, Edna Weigel
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