Getting Dirty in the Name of Food

Last weekend we picked up a load and a half of a 50% compost 50% washed dairy manure blend for the vegetable garden.  Before we tilled it in we did a home soil test.

The verdict?  We suck.  Our pH was way lower than we expected which means that our soil is very acidic.  (Ideally, soil for a veggie garden should come in at about 7 on the pH scale, roughly equivalent to pure water and considered neutral pH.  We came in at 5, which is round about the black coffee notch of acidity.)  Our potash and phosphorus readings were pretty OK (the phosphorus tube darkened considerably after this photo was taken) but our chief suspicion was confirmed:  practically no nitrogen. 
We had planned to bum around the house all day Sunday, but while Matt was clanging away in the forge I blew up the hot water half of the kitchen faucet and we ended up spending a considerable amount of time at a nearby hardware store instead.  While there we picked up some lime (to “sweeten” the soil, or bring the pH up to a higher, less acidic number) and Matt spread it using my antique Sears, Roebuck & Co. broadcast seeder.  That thing works way better than I expected, and he had all 50 pounds down before I could grab the camera. 
In 40-60 days we test again.  We should have another load of the black stuff down before then, so hopefully the test tubes will say something more encouraging!
— Amanda

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