"This fall I accidentally checked the wrong box when sending in my soil samples (2) and instead of getting the usual Base Test results, for which there are worksheets in The Intelligent Gardener, I have Paste Test results and am lost.
Can anyone help me translate them into what soil ammendments I should add? Or point me in the direction of figuring them out? I really don't want to have to take more soil samples, dry them out, mail them in, and pay for Logan to do them over. They charged me $30./sample this year. And all the beds are now nicely covered with young clover, even under the remaining crops, which I don't want to disturb.
And there is so much else to do this time of year! I had no idea a little 200 sq ft garden would feel like a full time job....at least during the steep learning curve of a beginning (3rd year) organic gardener.
The results come from Logan in email form so I can send them to anyone able & willing to help. So grateful for this Nofa Q & A Forum.
Hi Gwen, I can help. I'd call Logan Labs up soon and have them run a standard test for $25 more on the soil sample they probably still have. A paste test can't be used to balance the minerals in the soil. It is excellent for getting a window on what is available to the plant at that moment in soil but it says nothing of the reserves. What to do with the paste test? Farmers use a paste test for fine tuning soil. A paste test uses water to extract the minerals from the soil. Water is a much weaker solvent than the strong acids labs usually use. The current soil conditions really affect paste test results. This time of year phosphorous will be low because the soil is cold, anions maybe washed out because we've had a lot of rain. A paste won't usually line up with what your reserves are but it will provide information about the soil that will help you on your path of growing beautiful food. How do my paste and standard tests relate? What could I feed my plants that has this beautiful mineral balance built in? How could my grow system better hold and make use of free nutrients from the environment? I understand that all this is not what you thought you would have to think about to grow beautiful food. Trust that there is always an easier way and enjoy the "accidents" present themselves.