Saturday, November 17, 2007

Honey & Soil Testing

A few weeks ago the Clackamas County Master Gardeners had a fall garden event with a soil testing station. I thought it would be a good idea to check out the PH of the soil in the vegetable beds. If the PH is not correct it can make the fertilizer/nutrients in the soil unavailable to the plants. The Soil Science Education Home Page has tons of soil related information and a good description of how soil PH relates to nutrients.

The test showed that the vegetable beds soil PH is good. The PH range for good vegetable growth is 6.0 to 6.5, my beds were 6.2, 6.5, and 6.8; I won't add more lime, but I will continue to test the soil in spring and fall.
If one is planning a new garden, or if the existing vegetable garden or shrub bed is showing poor growth or off-colored foliage, an in depth soil test may be warranted. There are laboratories that one can mail soil samples to for a small fee. The Oregon State University Extension service has instructions for Soil Sampling for Home Gardens; and a Willamette Valley Soil Quality Card with a worksheet to use when evaluating the condition of your soil.
Gourmet Honey Farms of Oregon 503-632-8448
While I was waiting for the results of my soil test I wandered through a craft fair and found a Bee-keeper friend, Kerry Haskins, selling honey. I couldn't resist purchasing a jar of his Pumpkin Honey, it has a dark rich color and the flavor is carmely with a hint of herby squash, very rich. We have been enjoying it on toast and biscuits.

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