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Old 05-06-2005, 11:48 AM
Kenneth
 
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Default Accurate soil testing...?


Howdy,

Is there a reasonable way to get accurate soil testing done?

Here's why I ask:

First, my local cooperative extension does testing, but, to
my amazement, none of there available tests (and they have
many) includes an assessment of nitrogen.

Next, I own a soil test kit, but discovered that it showed
nitrogen depletion even when testing a highly concentrated
solution of nitrogen fertilizer in water. When I found that,
I called the manufacturer and was told that it may have
expired. I asked where in the detailed instructions there
was information about expiration, but of course, there was
no such.

In any case, what's the solution? I would welcome any
specific suggestions.

Sincere thanks,
--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."

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Old 05-06-2005, 12:26 PM
Pat Kiewicz
 
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Kenneth said:
Howdy,

Is there a reasonable way to get accurate soil testing done?

Here's why I ask:

First, my local cooperative extension does testing, but, to
my amazement, none of there available tests (and they have
many) includes an assessment of nitrogen.


MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient Lab. does offer nitrogen testing *during the
growing season* (it was mentioned in the June 1 CAT Bulletin) and there's
not just one single test.

http://www.ipm.msu.edu/CAT05_veg/V06-01-05.htm#4
http://www.css.msu.edu/SoilTesting/prices.htm

From their FAQ:

Why doesn't the regular MSU soil test include nitrogen analysis?

*Soil nitrate levels are the best indicator of nitrogen availability. Because
these levels fluctuate widely depending on rainfall and soil temperature,
the best time to take soil nitrate samples in while the cropis growing. within
two weeks of supplemental nitrogen applications.

*A soil sample taken months ahead of this time will not provide an
accurate measure of the nitrogen available to the plants.

/end quote

I would think that such service would be available in other states as
well, but only seasonally (for the same reason) and likely home gardeners
are not ever encouraged to get some of the tests available to the
professionals.

Next, I own a soil test kit, but discovered that it showed
nitrogen depletion even when testing a highly concentrated
solution of nitrogen fertilizer in water. When I found that,
I called the manufacturer and was told that it may have
expired. I asked where in the detailed instructions there
was information about expiration, but of course, there was
no such.


Was the packaging marked with an expiration date?

Many items come with a 'best before xx-xx-xx' on the packaging
without mention of that fact in the package inserts.

--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
(attributed to Don Marti)

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Old 05-06-2005, 02:53 PM
Kenneth
 
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Default

On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 12:17:06 GMT, "FDR"
wrote:

Could you please tell us the maker or brand of test kit this is so we can
avoid buying them?


Hello again,

Certainly...

"luster Leaf Products" Woodstock IL.

Nicely packaged, easy to use, good instructions, meaningless
measurements.

All the best,
--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."


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Old 05-06-2005, 03:23 PM
FDR
 
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Default


"Kenneth" wrote in message
news
On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 12:17:06 GMT, "FDR"
wrote:

Could you please tell us the maker or brand of test kit this is so we can
avoid buying them?


Hello again,

Certainly...

"luster Leaf Products" Woodstock IL.

Nicely packaged, easy to use, good instructions, meaningless
measurements.


Thank you.


All the best,
--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."



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Old 05-06-2005, 03:39 PM
Steve
 
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Default

Kenneth wrote:

On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 12:17:06 GMT, "FDR"
wrote:


Could you please tell us the maker or brand of test kit this is so we can
avoid buying them?



Hello again,

Certainly...

"luster Leaf Products" Woodstock IL.

Nicely packaged, easy to use, good instructions, meaningless
measurements.............




I'm sure you are right about the meaningless measurements. Maybe the
other tests (other than nitrogen) are of some use, but then again, who
knows? I understand that testing for nitrogen in a meaningful way is not
easy. I'm sure they felt they had to include it anyway so it would
appear to be a complete test kit. They have to sell them and make money
after all.

Steve



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Old 07-06-2005, 11:25 AM
Dominic-Luc Webb
 
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Default


Perhaps a convenient way to get some measure of soil quality is
to use some indicator plants. I know of a couple plants that
grow well above pH 7 and promptly die in acidic soil, etc...
Others so dramatic responses to depletion of specific nutrients.
Most plant physiology books have a nutrient deficiency key from
which you can trace down specific problems. These are usually
based on common garden plants such as the tomato.

Dominic



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Old 25-06-2005, 11:49 PM
Thomas H. O'Reilly
 
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Default

Send it to a local company that specializes. Here in Illinois, I've used
http://www.algreatlakes.com/main.asp. You can check out their web site, and
see sample reports, etc. Their S10 report is for home gardeners, they have
other reports for farmers and orchardists. It's not very expensive, and is
comprehensive. They will also make amendment recommendations based on your
desired plants.


"Kenneth" wrote in message
...

Howdy,

Is there a reasonable way to get accurate soil testing done?

Here's why I ask:

First, my local cooperative extension does testing, but, to
my amazement, none of there available tests (and they have
many) includes an assessment of nitrogen.

Next, I own a soil test kit, but discovered that it showed
nitrogen depletion even when testing a highly concentrated
solution of nitrogen fertilizer in water. When I found that,
I called the manufacturer and was told that it may have
expired. I asked where in the detailed instructions there
was information about expiration, but of course, there was
no such.

In any case, what's the solution? I would welcome any
specific suggestions.

Sincere thanks,
--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."



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Old 26-06-2005, 05:33 PM
Kenneth
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Sat, 25 Jun 2005 22:49:34 GMT, "Thomas H. O'Reilly"
wrote:




"Kenneth" wrote in message
.. .

Howdy,

Is there a reasonable way to get accurate soil testing done?

Here's why I ask:

First, my local cooperative extension does testing, but, to
my amazement, none of there available tests (and they have
many) includes an assessment of nitrogen.

Next, I own a soil test kit, but discovered that it showed
nitrogen depletion even when testing a highly concentrated
solution of nitrogen fertilizer in water. When I found that,
I called the manufacturer and was told that it may have
expired. I asked where in the detailed instructions there
was information about expiration, but of course, there was
no such.

In any case, what's the solution? I would welcome any
specific suggestions.

Sincere thanks,
--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."

Send it to a local company that specializes. Here in Illinois, I've used

http://www.algreatlakes.com/main.asp. You can check out their web site, and
see sample reports, etc. Their S10 report is for home gardeners, they have
other reports for farmers and orchardists. It's not very expensive, and is
comprehensive. They will also make amendment recommendations based on your
desired plants.



Hello again,

I have made note of your suggestion, but have a question:

Might you know why their testing does not include Nitrogen?

All the best,
--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."
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Old 27-06-2005, 11:32 AM
Pat Kiewicz
 
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Default

Kenneth said:

I have made note of your suggestion, but have a question:

Might you know why their testing does not include Nitrogen?

Here's what the Soil and Plant Nutrient Lab at Michigan State University has
to say in their FAQ:

/begin quote

Why doesn't the regular MSU soil test include nitrogen analysis?

*Soil nitrate levels are the best indicator of nitrogen availability. Because
these levels fluctuate widely depending on rainfall and soil temperature, the
best time to take soil nitrate samples in while the cropis growing. within two
weeks of supplemental nitrogen applications.

*A soil sample taken months ahead of this time will not provide an accurate
measure of the nitrogen available to the plants.

/end quote

Nitrogen tests are available during the growing season. Note that there are
separate tests for different forms of nitrogen. Available tests:

PSNT - Pre-sidedress Nitrate -N
PSNT + NH4 - with Ammonium - N
NO 3 - N - Nitrate - Nitrogen
NO 3 + NH4 - with Ammonium - N
TKN - Total Nitrogen

Some of these are available with a standard analysis and some are priced
as standalone tests.

http://www.css.msu.edu/SoilTesting/

(I hope it's safe to assume that the situation is the same in others states.)
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
(attributed to Don Marti)



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