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Soil test results

Posted by HollywoodGardens Florida (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 16, 12 at 11:26

Hi,
I just got back my soil test results, they are as follows:

Sample 1:

Target pH: 6.5

pH (1:2 Sample:Water) 7.2

Phosphorus (ppm P): 114 Very High

Potassium (ppm K): 22 Low

Magnesium (ppm Mg):102 Very High

Calcium (ppm Ca): > 4653

Recommendations:

Lime: 0.0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Nitrogen: 0.20 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Phosphorus: 0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Potassium: 0.30 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Magnesium: 0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Micro-nutrients:

(mg/kg in the Soil)

Copper: 0.00

Maganese: 2.97

Zinc: 37.45

Sample 2:

Target pH: 6.5

pH (1:2 Sample:Water) 7.9

Phosphorus (ppm P): 72 Very High

Potassium (ppm K): 31 Less Low

Magnesium (ppm Mg):111 Very High

Calcium (ppm Ca): > 4757

Recommendations:

Lime: 0.0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Nitrogen: 0.20 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Phosphorus: 0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Potassium: 0.30 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Magnesium: 0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Micro-nutrients:

(mg/kg in the Soil)

Copper: 0.00

Maganese: 4.42

Zinc: 19.46

Sample 3:

Target pH: 6.5

pH (1:2 Sample:Water) 7.4

Phosphorus (ppm P): 82 Very High

Potassium (ppm K): 25 Low

Magnesium (ppm Mg):131 Very High

Calcium (ppm Ca): > 3658

Recommendations:

Lime: 0.0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Nitrogen: 0.20 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Phosphorus: 0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Potassium: 0.30 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Magnesium: 0 lbs per 100 sq. ft

Micro-nutrients:

(mg/kg in the Soil)

Copper: 0.00

Maganese: 4.48

Zinc: 34.90

Sample 1 is closest to a meth lab, 2 is down the center and 3 is on a side with someone who sprays everything legal or illegal.

What is wrong and what should I do about it?

Thank you.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Soil test results

I could be totally wrong, but I am going out on a limb here. You should not add lime unless the soil is acid. I don't think Florida (having sand) could have acid soil. If you add too much lime, they have said here, it can ruin your soil big time. I don't know how sand can be acid. Is your soil sand or something else? It would depend on if you are living near a beach or more inland. Florida is big, so it might not be sand inland. I thought only acid soil exists in the northern more areas where there are pine forests.


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RE: Soil test results

  • Posted by mytime 3/4 Alaska (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 16, 12 at 13:24

Okay, I'll go out on a limb, and ask if you read the report carefully, tropical_thought. It says ZERO lime, and the PH definitely shows non-acid soil.


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RE: Soil test results

oh, that is funny! Why would they put lime in there if they did not want you to add that? I did not look at the amounts of it.


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RE: Soil test results

I'd move if the meth lab is next door.


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RE: Soil test results

What is the amount of organic matter in your soil?
How well does that soil drain?
How well does that soil retain moisture?
What does that soil smell like?
What kind of life is in that soil?

Soil pH is a above optimal (6.2 to 6.8) but not terribly out of range. Mine has consistently been 7.2 for years now. Potassium is low, as would be expected in the sandy Florida soils, and your Calcium and Magnesium are out of balance which means plants growing in that soil will not be able to properly use either.
Jeff Gillman, professor of horticulture at the University of Minnesota, recently said in an interview touting his latest book that the best thing any gardener could do is add compost to their soil. I would change that to organic matter, not just compost. You should want 6 to 8 percent organic matter in your Florida Sand. That can be tough to do since the Soil Food Web works year around digesting any organic matter put in soil rather then 8 months each year up here.


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percentage of organic matter?

I found a link here. I think it won't be possible to measure the amount of organic matter in your soil. 7 percent seemed like very little organic matter. But I could see from reading link, The measurement comes from not just what is the top layer, but deeper layers. My top layer is filled with organic matter, but if I dig down I really don't see any organic matter unless I have spend time digging up a hole and filling it was a lot of organic matter such as when I am planting a new rose. If I was to soil test the top layer it would have a lot of organic matter. I don't know how much but more than 25 percent, I am guessing. If I was digging down I would find like maybe 1 percent or .5 or zero. The article says "A sandy loam rarely holds more than 2% organic matter. " If loam is considered a good soil and it only has 2 percent how would be possible to get 7 percent even if you I composted at 10 times the rate I compost. If I took off my whole life and drove around collecting spoiled fruits, leaves and coffee, I would still never get up to those "ideal" levels. At least I don't think so. Due to the lack, that San Francisco like Florida is a zone 10 and burns up organic matter all year and sand won't hold on to organic matter. Although I think parts of Florida are zone 11 more like Hawaii. But, the northern parts appear to be zone 10 from the climate map. Maybe instead of considering total organic matter down to the bottom of the garden, we can realistically consider how much organic matter, we can keep at the surface layer, and get a percentage of what that should be?

Here is a link that might be useful: link to organic matter


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RE: Soil test results

7 percent seemed like very little organic matter.

That's actually a whole lot of organic matter. The 6 to 8% referenced is on a dry weight basis. Labs can't measure organic matter on a volume base because there is no way to physically separate all of the organic particles from the soil. The % dry weight is determined by the ash method (or some call it "loss on iginition" method) in which they weigh a dried sample, burn off the organic matter in an oven and weigh it again. Another method is by titration.

A soil that has been recently amended with compost and was measured at 7% organic material by dry weight would be roughly 30 to 40% organic by volume. (depending on the organic content of the compost as well as the dry weights of the compost and the soil).


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RE: Soil test results

7 percent is unreal for florida sand, so I suspect we are talking about some kind of bought material here, with perhaps a little native material mixed in.

Florida sand soil (not the muck soils in southwest fla) tends to be slightly acidic and vanishingly low in K and traces and N of course. P and Ca are generally ample if not high. OM percentage around 1% would be normal. CEC therefore is far too low to grow crops without major inputs.


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RE: Soil test results

I see a lot of talk of it being so warm in Florida year round and because of that, it burns up the OM. I see it a an OPPORTUNITY to add MORE organic materials- simply because it IS AVAILABLE year round, green, abundant, compost piles don't freeze up, neither does the garden. Adding OM isn't just a once and done kinda thing, and it shouldn't be treated as such. Maybe that's just my Maine attitude or Yankee ingenuity.


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RE: Soil test results

So, if 7 percent actually equals 35 percent? That makes it even harder to tell. I constantly add compost that I make to my soil all year around, but always need more in most of the areas. In the winter the compost seems to break down even faster. If I use a lot of compost to the point of over kill it will last for a few months, but I never have enough compost to over kill the areas. If I dig deep enough I always hit pure sand. In the best areas the sand does have some OM, I can tell because that sand takes on a darker color then the pure sand. But, I don't have a way to measure the total amount. So, if I was hitting the target amount of maybe 3 OM percent for sand I would not know it.


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RE: Soil test results

Kimmsr, I do not know how much organic matter I have but I think it is very low.

The soil drains very quickly and does not hold water terribly well, but I am not sure whether to blame it on the weather or the soil.

On the meth lab side, the soil smells bitter and not earthy at all :( and in the middle it smells a little more earthy but I think not enough.

What do you mean by "life"?

Are the Calcium and Magnesium too high or too low? And what about the micro-nutrients and Phosphorus?

Also, is there anything you recommend that I do about these problems?

Thank you.


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RE: Soil test results

Jon, one can and has added OM to florida soil until the proverbial cows come home and it will not correct the mineral deficiencies and un crop-friendly decay cycle.

The best thing for florida soil and climate, HG, is perennial crops.


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RE: Soil test results

These simple soil test can help, Hollywoodgardens.
1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains� too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

When water drains very quickly from sandy soils, in my unamended sand water drains out in less then 1/2 hour and without much organic matter has none for plant roots to use, and the soil does not stay moist very long that is because there is nothing in the soil to hold it.

Some years ago during a spring cleanup at church one of the workers, an avid gardener, found an area where we had been allowing leaves to accumulate for years so he, thinking that looked messy and terrible, started to rake those leaves up. He wondered what that smell was that eminated from the soil as he uncovered it, a nice, pleasnt aroma of good, rich earth. He had never smelled that before. Apparently his soil always smelled of a chemistry lab.
That one side of your house may take a few years but with the additiion of enough organic matter you can change it.


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RE: Soil test results

Okay,
1) I haven't had a chance yet but maybe Tuesday.
2) It drains in about 5 minutes.
3) The soil is not very damp, even though it just rained, and falls apart.
4) On the meth lab side, very bitter a little bit like the ingredients in meth, in the middle almost neutral.
5) 0.

I know this is very bad, so I got the soil test. What form of OM would fix the mineral deficiencies and how much would I need for 2500 sq. ft.?

Thank you.


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RE: Soil test results

I found a blog on Calcium/Magnesium Ratios. You can add Magnesium by adding Epsom salt. I am not sure about adding calcium, so I don't know about that.

I found out a couple of things. "The controversy concerning Ca:Mg ratio has raged for nearly 100 years." Someone decided an ideal soil would have a certain ratio. "The suggested ideal ratio according to the theory is between 3.5 and 6.0, but this has never proven to be of significance."

Using coffee grounds to make a compost is the most useful thing you can do to help correct imbalances. While adding coffee grounds and OM in not the same as adding minerals, as someone pointed out above. Yet adding the coffee will improve the soil so that the plants can better use what minerals are there already.

When he has use OM and not compost, this means, compost is already composted completely for like 1 or 2 years. All the OM is already gone. Load up your compost bin with coffee, wood, leaves, eggs shells, fruit, and not allow to sit there for a year, but use it with months before all the OM is broken down. Then it will still be OM and not compost. The definition of compost is somewhat tricky, young compost is OM. Some peoples skip composting and just bury the OM. This can work, if you don't have raccoons or other animals that will dig it up. This is called lasagna gardening. Layers (like lasagna) of OM are buried in the soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calcium/Magnesium Ratios blog


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RE: Soil test results

Then, would sprinkling some dolomite powder (CalMag) and non-finished compost do it?

We are a family of 12 so we have plenty of coffee grinds, etc. that go in.


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I wish I could answer that. The goal would be to get them in balance, but not necessarily add either one. The levels could be high and in balance or low and in balance. Someone has to help us with that. I don't know chemistry very well at all. I would like to know also. I have added both Epsom salt and some calcium carbonate pills that were not wanted. I composted the pills and I put the Epsom salt on the soil, but I could not tell that it made a difference at all. I was just trying things for fun. Throwing in everything was fun, but I should become more scientifically minded.


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Dolomitic lime (CaMg(CO3)2) is a limestone with a high amount of Magnesium in it and is often the recommended source for those soils with a low pH and needing something to bring the pH up. One could add Epsom Salts, Magnesium Sulfate, if one had enough money to buy a truckload of it, but the 1 cup of Epsom Salts in 1 gallon of water sprayed over 100 square feet of soil is not going to do much for a soil that needs Magnesium.
Some 45 years ago when we first moved out here the soil tested at pH 5.7 with low optimum levels of P and K and the Ca and Mg out of balance so the lab (Michigan State University) recommended some amount of Dolomitic Limestone. After adding a lot of organic matter to this sand the soils tests changed to a soil pH of 7.2 and above optimal levels of P and K and the Ca and Mg were in balance, and levels of organic matter were in the 6 to 8 percent range. Plants grow quite well and are not terribly bothered by insect pests or plant diseases.
The organic matter is compost and shredded leaves, green manure/cover crops, and about any other vegetative waste I can.


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RE: Soil test results

What Kimm is saying is that "plants grow quite well" is the final standard. I used to feel the same way.

However, if any of us were entirely depending on food we grow for sustenance, plants that seemingly grow well could be the death of us due to deficiencies. See Albrecht's paper of 1949 linking human degenerative disease to soil properties which are themselves linked to historical climate and geology. This is nowhere more important than florida which is at the pinnacle of an ancient over-developed soil. The entire state with some small exceptions is extremely impoverished, as is the southeast generally, and yet trees and shrubs grow quite well and are not terribly bothered by insect pests or plant diseases. And yet generations of southerners suffered severe malnurishment the legacy of which is still with us today in many families in the form of mental illness (there is a well-ducumented link between chronic Pellegra and multi-generational mental illness).

Small populations can subsist in such areas by eating largely out of oceans and riparian areas, but when they try to apply the agrarian model of subsistence to such landscapes, compost or no compost, the results are poor.


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RE: Soil test results

Very interesting Pat.

I agree that soil shortages of Yttrium, cobalt, strontium, scandium, iodine, selenium, and more could be behind a host of diseases. A chronic and low grade shortage of a certain B vitamin [bera bera] tends to heart impairment for example.


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RE: Soil test results

If you really want to grow foods for eating, you can do what I did. I had two raised planter boxes put in. I added good soil to them, also some sand and clay, I regretted the clay, but I got great daffodils from them. I also got good carrots and potatoes last year. The soil in them is so rich, that the daffodils in them did better then the ones I planted in the ground.

Here is a link that might be useful: photo of one of my boxes


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RE: Soil test results

Wayne, all of those are in seaweed and the oceans so those peoples that live from the oceans tend to be healthy. People drinking mountain water may be healthy due to freshly-weathered minerals, since vertical rock ledges can't hide and are always exposed to rapidly moving rainwater.

For Kimm and Tropical, I also used to assume that my good-looking produce was hot stuff nutritionally. Now that I have been brix testing I find that it is in some case only average by the brix charts. Sometimes good or excellent, but I wish to eat only produce that is excellent nutritionally, at all times. One has only so much stomach space.


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While some of the minerals listed above may perhaps not be necessary for healthy plant growth, they are necessary for healthy human life. I wouldn't assume they are naturally available.


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Not even in seawater, Wayne?


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Well, I am looking for a practical solution for produce to eat that would cover 2500 sq. ft. so raised beds wouldn't work.

Thank you.


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Yes, but what about the meth lab waste? I don't think you should eat anything from the soil unless it was in a planter box. I don't even eat anything myself from my native soil. I use the planter boxes. It's just safer. If you had a number of the boxes covering all the ground. You would just have a minor amount of space needed for walking around the beds and tending them. I don't think you would lose much space that way. Even if you are growing in the ground you need space to walk around the beds.


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RE: Soil test results

How does soil being in a box make it "safe"?


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RE: Soil test results

You buy soil and put it in the box. If you dug up the soil you had it would be just the same as putting it in the ground. The box raises it up and you can start much sooner, than trying to amend an entire yard. Since the water flows down nothing bad from the soil will come up from the ground into your box. It is easier on your back. The drainage is great. You have to decided what kind of soil you want in your box. Do you want to create a blend or just buy soil? I bought an organic mix then added sand, clay, perlite and my home made compost. Go to a forum I think is called gardening by the square foot and also container gardening. By the square foot means you get the maximum yield from the minimum space.


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RE: Soil test results

Okay, I do agree that we shouldn't eat anything from the meth lab side, but, about how much per raised bed would it be and would there be a way to get anything to grow in between them?

I would not need all 2500 sq. ft. to be raised beds because we have geese.


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2500 sq ft times one-half to a foot deep of bought soil is a lot of money. There are cheaper ways to get to productive soil, even in fla.


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I think it would take more organic matter to amend the yard then to put it in raised beds. I have spent 20 years and bags and bags of stuff, and the majority of my garden is still not amended. I only focused on certain parts since I want empty space for my dogs to be able to play.

What is your question? How much will it cost to buy the soil for the beds or how much soil would you need? I don't know the answer to either one. I would depend on how high you make the beds. If you make shorter beds with just 6 inches high, it will take less soil. Mine are taller, because it is easier on my back that way. You will need the space in between to walk. I would just mulch the areas between the boxes. I would start out small just one bed to start and just the soil for that and see how it goes. It may not be your cup of tea. It's a lot of work and money, and you can buy a lot of produce for what it costs to get started.


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RE: Soil test results

Pat, When I said I would not assume they were naturally there, I meant that they would not necessarily be there without bringing them there. [to the garden]


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I agree, Wayne.


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Of course having thought it over, if the boxes were lower they would be closer to the ground and more likely I guess to be affected from impurities from the soil. So, I don't know really. I like boxes, but maybe it makes no difference? We actually need to consult a scientist on this matter. They would have to test the produce from impurities. However, I do know that filtering pollution such as pesticides through compost does clean. It just does not make sense to spend a lot of money up front, in case it does not work out. Unless you just want to improve the home value by landscaping. I would add a few small bushes and trees and things to make it look nice. That way you add to the home value.


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RE: Soil test results

Why ask people all over the nation when Florida's soil conditions are very well understood by the U FL Extension Service? If that is Hollywood, FL, you are very near where some of the first micronutrient studies were conducted (1920s) because the soils are critically deficient in several (copper and zinc on sands and peat, manganese on marl). There is an extension office and small experiment station near the main campus of Broward Community College (near the educational TV station, if it is still there).

Many but not all of Florida's sands are acidic. The sands in southern Florida can be naturally more lime rich though. It takes a little but not extraordinary effort to successfully grow many vegetables and fruit there. A citrus-type fertilizer with complete micronutrients will solve nearly all soil problems, save nematodes. Growing most crops in cooler, drier winter will largely solve the fungal problems on leaves and fruit. New Zealad spinach and cherry tomatoes (old selections anyway) and some Latin American root crops will grow in the summer heat and near-liquid atmosphere.


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RE: Soil test results

Hollywood:

I have not been paying attention to this thread and just saw the mention of a meth lab. I might be able to offer some advice on contamination and cleanup - that's what I do.

Can you share some more info?
Was it formerly on your property (perhaps a previous owner), or currently or formerly on the neighbor's property?
Do you know that waste was dumped there, or just suspect?
Does anything grow there, or is it barren?

There are various chemicals used and various wastes produced. Some will be inocuous - like ammonia, basically fertilizer. Some are toxic but may not persist for long periods (solvents will evaporate unless the quantity is large enough to soak into the ground). Others may persist.

The composting process tends to break down chemicals, not a 100% guarantee, but you might consider making some big compost piles on top of this area. The leachate from the piles will feed soil microbes. But I may be getting ahead of myself. It might be better to remove some soil.


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RE: Soil test results

So you could grow yams in Florida? What about peanuts? I heard they like sandy soil and heat. Of course oranges and lemons and stuff like that should do great. Watermelons?

Soil removal is good. If you want to add a lot of compost, sometimes there has to be some soil removed to make room for all the new compost. I did have a remove some of mine, but I did it over many years so it was not so much work.


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RE: Soil test results

I have not been paying attention to this thread and just saw the mention of a meth lab. I might be able to offer some advice on contamination and cleanup - that's what I do.

You have a meth lab?!?!

/Sorry. I don't know what comes over me sometimes.


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RE: Soil test results

@toxcrusadr What information do you want?
There is an "active" meth lab next door and an ongoing investigation (shhh).
They dump they're waste out the side door on our side, the houses are about 15 feet apart here.
It is pretty barren but we were able to get some porterweed to grow (yay!)

@tropical_thought But, the trees would die too. I think i'll settle for getting anything to grow now.

Thank you.


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Ah yes, but I was meaning of course after you had amended the soil. I would not plant a tree without amended first. What about getting some containers and doing that? I have a bunch of old black nursery containers you could have it if you lived near me. Rats. Tomatoes are supposed to be great in pots. You can control your soil completely and no need to spend a huge amount of money. I would not want to spend a lot to amend the soil if I was worried the meth lab had made it hopeless. Dwarf lemon trees will grown in pots and you can pick the lemons. People put them on the balconies of their apartments. I can't grow tomatoes in San Francisco, but there are lot of edibles that can be grown in pots or planters that have bottoms and drainage holes, thus keeping any soil toxins out.


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RE: Soil test results

We have a lot of citrus, but only the Meyer lemon in the front center is doing well and one of the two date palms we have on the 'lab' side has died, I gave the one on the other side Epsom Salt and it is doing a bit better.

So, I think that what could be the best thing to do is to try to amend the soil on the one side and do raised beds and containers and find something to make the 'lab' side look a little better. What could I put on the 'lab' side to make it look better?

@toxcrusadr Do you have any cleanup options that you recommend?


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Manure?

Or as my mother says, what we need is a truckload of manure :). Anyone know what kind would be best?

Thank you.


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RE: Soil test results

ha ha
Whell Watcha gutta do iz.... < picture Larry the cableguy

Free I vote for free manure.


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RE: Soil test results

Some of my co-workers think I have a meth lab, but they'll never prove it. :-p

Hollywood, I will try to find some reference info on what might be in that waste first. MO is #1 or #2 in the nation in meth labs - not exactly a badge of honor - and we have a meth lab task force.

Usually, when someone contaminates your property, you can sue them, but these jokers would probably just as soon shoot you. They will probably end up in jail soon where they won't be able to pay for a cleanup anyhow.

I'll get back to you.


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