All is not well in the faux-paradise that is my garden. From a distance it looks really good, but the closer you get, the more depressing it is. It looks spectacular if I am not wearing my glasses, which is the new key to my garden happiness.
I decided that instead of blaming myself for the lackluster plant growth, I'll pass the buck and blame the soil again. I quite enjoy feeling like a victim of crappy soil so it pleases me to test the soil so I have proof of my victim status. Last night I decided to whip out the soil test we purchased last year and retest our soil pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. I'll admit to thinking our soil is probably about average, after all, it actually looks like soil this year and we added some old manure a few months ago, so I figured the results might be a little off, but nothing dramatic.
Oh how I fall for it every single time. We have drama. Major soil drama. It's a barren wasteland cleverly disguised as soil and I am flying my bad-soil-victim flag high now that I have these results in my hands.
As far as I can tell our pH seems okay. When we took a soil sample to the extension office we got a result of 6.5. We added a very thin layer of lime at their suggestion and according to the soil test, it does seem a little lighter than the green square next to 7.0, so I'd guess that means the soil pH is still okay.
Look at that Nitrogen. The test says to "match pink color to the Nitrogen Color Chart," but as you can see I don't have any pink - at best it's hovering around low. I think that means our soil is pretty devoid of nitrogen. I don't know much about these results, but I know enough to know that plants need Nitrogen if they're going to live longer than five minutes.
Now let's look at the Phosphorus. It doesn't seem to quite register on the chart either. It looks like the blue is lighter than the lightest blue on the chart too. I'll admit to having no earthly idea what low Phosphorus meant, but after reading about it online I discovered its necessary for good root development and for fruit and seed production.
Finally the Potassium. I had trouble reading the Potassium results last time and I'll admit to being a bit iffy about what they read this time. I'll venture a guess that our Potassium is right about medium, but I can't be sure. I find it hard to believe that it's in the middle range, but I'm going with it because it makes me feel good to have something actually fall within mid-range on the chart.
I think the grand results mean I have some pretty sandy nutrient-free soil and a gardenful of plants who are starving to death. I'm thinking my light spraying with fish goo didn't fix it all. Instead I'll need to find out what fertilizer product to buy, where to apply it and how often to apply it. The worst part about the results? They look exactly the same as the results from when we first dug out the garden last year. So here we are almost a year later and nothing has improved. I really do feel like I'm constantly fighting an uphill battle with this garden, but I'm determined to beat it.