Posted in Gardening | 1 comment
Soil tests are necessary to document your baseline and your progress in building a living, balanced soil. The NC State Extension service offers free soil testing. This is a basic test and has limited value. More expensive soil tests can be ordered from agricultural labs that cater to organic agriculture. But at $50 a test, these are expensive for small plots.
In general, soils in the piedmont in NC are heavy, infertile clays with significant mineral imbalances. The soils typically need hi-calcium lime and gypsum to raise pH and break up the heavy clay. The soils also need a lot of good compost to add carbon and humus. They need a good source of phosphate and trace minerals. Most of these materials can be purchased locally at Southern States in Pittsboro. The compost can be purchased by the truckload from local producers.
It helps a lot to have an experienced gardener familiar with soil and plant nutrient needs to assist in figuring out how much of each of these ingredients any particular plot might need to bring its fertility to optimum level.
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