Raised beds

barb_roselover_inApril 18, 2012

I have five raised beds with different soils in each. Everybody says I need a soil test done, but I can't have five different tests done. Could I possibly do this myself and attain any kind of a correct answer? Used to be that our extension office (Purdue University) would do these, but they no longer offer this service. Am I better off to just take a chance and amend all of them with certain additives, or just leave well enough alone. If I had soil tests done on soil from each, that would be very expensive and I don't feel up to that. Thanks for any ideas. These are for vegetable gardens. Barb

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Here in southern Illinois our local FS dealer does soil tests for $5.00. Check around and see if somewhere there provides this service. It is well worth the $5.00 to have the test done.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:01PM
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scotty66(8 Hutto TX)

why are people telling you to test your soil?
are you having problems with your plants?
If so, is the problem affecting all beds?

I have not done a soil test in my raised beds, because I know where the original soil came from.

Personally, I jsut top off my beds with fresh (homemade) compost each year. For certain plants, like my hot peppers, I'll add fertilizers and amendments sspecific for their needs.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 3:10AM
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Soil tests will tell you about your soils pH as well as the nutrient levels and can help you not spend your money on things your soil does not need as well as help you not add to the pollution of our world. A basic soil test should include soil pH, Phosphorus, Potash, Calcium, and Magnesium levels as well CEC. At extra expense you could also have other things tested for, if desired. Some people think there is no reason to test your soil, but simply knowing that you need not spend money on unneeded stuff should be enough to interest someone in having it done.
The test kits sold in garden centers are not ver reliable and the soil pH test does not give you enough good information to make intelligent decisions about your soils pH. While the P and K levels measure readily available amounts of those they do not have the ability that a good soil testing lab will have to give projected levels, what would be available long term. While Purdue no longer does soil testing, there are others that do and either UCONN or UMASS will test soils from other states at a very reasonable cost.
Remember "scientia potentia est", Knowledge is Power.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 6:41AM
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I'd simply add compost and hope for the best. If it's bothering you, maybe you can focus on one bed per year.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:28AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I second tn gardening's suggestion.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:59AM
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