Should I Get My Soil Tested?
If your garden is gorgeous and perfect and you have no problems. Would you need to get a soil test done? I would say it might be good just for your curiosity but I recognize that it does come at a cost. You know it can cost anywhere from around twenty bucks twenty five dollars to have the soil tested so no if your soil kind of goes under the. If it ain't broke don't fix that's exactly. Yeah because I'm in New York. The soil tests were considerably more than twenty or twenty five but it was more like the fifty dollar range so I would always say and this is what I've always done. If if it ain't broke don't fix it if you if you notice. Your plants are not growing the way you think you should. There's some indication that that there's a problem either they're not flowering or the foliage is sickly yellow. Or then. I would do it but I would say soil test before you actually try to do anything to improve your soil because as you mentioned you can't know what the problem is. You're just be a shot in the dark. The one exception that I would say to. If it ain't broke don't fix. It would be annual selling. And that's because yes annuals have short season to do their thing. Most of them are nitrogen hogs they bloom at the end of new growth. And what stimulates new growth nitrogen? So for your annuals you would be better off. Fertilizing regularly or using time release fertilizer or a mix of time release and Inorganic Product. That has a higher rate of nitrogen in it. I I know that all of the horticultural universities who do testing on things like how annuals grow best. They see that they grow better with fertilizer. And that's been my experience as well so and that brings up another question. I agree annuals. Do need that fertilization. Because they have a short amount of time to grow. Produce Flowers set seed. That's it that's their job and they need a lot of nutrition. But what if you have annuals planted in the same containers the same garden bed as perennials? Or as woody's is that a problem people ask me this all the time. Oh interesting well I guess for things like Rooftop Gardens where you might have a shrub or a perennial in a container with annual. Frankly I would fertilize in that case anyway because these plants are in smaller areas. They're growing in a container right. So yeah I would go ahead and fertilize in a container by disagree. That at this only happens in containers. I think people with small gardens like I have here in Santa Fe have no choice but to Inter plant their annuals with their perennials. The vast acreage you have on Cape Cod offers many more growing opportunities. But I didn't mean to imply that it only happened in containers I okay. I meant to imply that in urban gardens it's more likely to happen. In containers that you've got shrubs and annuals or perennials and annuals mixed together. But I absolutely mix in annuals perennial gardens and around trump's and everything and I've fertilize the area where the annuals are going to be planted and does that excite you know give some nutrients to the perennials absolutely but. I do try and target the fertilizer into the area where the annuals are. Yeah so a little bit of that. Fertilizer may extend into the reach of the perennials and the and the shrubs but the focus is on the annuals right. So it's very possible outside of feeding your animals every year that you might not need to fertilize all your other plants. Every year depending on what? The results of that soil test are absolutely and. I think that we should a pause before we routinely feed things like trees for example. Because we don't want to push growth artificially for tree. We want it to grow as nature intended for them to grow and Unless we know that they are not getting the nutrients that they need. I think we need to err on the side of caution personally. I'm afraid to get a soil test done because I think my soil is so awful. I don't want to know I don't want to know because then I'll be obliged to do something about it. So don't panic. You are not a bad gardner. If you don't fertilize your garden. Every year. The important thing is to find out if you need to fertilize. So if you've got problem areas take soil samples send it into your co op extension office or your local Land Grant University. And they'll tell you if you need to fertilize