After You've Tested Your Garden Soil, Then What?

News Article

Planning your vegetable garden is a fun spring activity.   Soil testing is the first step that can lead to a successful growing season. When the soil test results come back what to do with all that information?

 

In the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, we receive a variety of samples with symptoms characteristic of nutritional imbalances. The best way to prevent this imbalance is to start with the soil test results.

 

Macro and micro nutrients can be available in the soil, but their uptake is modulated by the soil pH.  Figure 1 below depicts the pH values where nutrients are available for the plant to uptake. The width of the bar indicates how available the nutrient is. For example, Phosphorus is available for plant uptake on soil pH that ranges from 6.5 to 7.5, outside of this range P availability decreases.  Manganese become less available if the pH greater than 6.5. 

 

If your pH does not match the required pH range of your vegetable garden list, learn how to modify soil pH in the home garden in the February 12, 2106 Horticulture & Home Pest News.

 

Keep in mind soil pH is one of the many requirements grow vegetables.  For specific vegetable requirements see the following publications and articles:


 



Graph of soil nutrient balance
Figure 1. Macro and micronutrient are available for the plant uptake at different soil pH. From www.ag.umass.edu
Graph showing optimum pH balance
Figure 2: Optimum soil pH varies for different vegetable plants. Adapted from Soil Fertility and Fertilizers: An Introduction to Nutrient Management, by J. Havlin, et. al., 7th edition.

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Lina Rodriguez Salamanca Extension Plant Pathologist and Diagnostician (Program Specialist II)

Dr. Lina Rodriguez Salamanca is an extension plant pathologist and diagnostician with the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, a member of the North Central Plant Diagnostic Network (NCPDN) and National Plant Diagnostic Netw...