September 15, 2010

Soil results

I received the soil results.

The soil is...
much like the rest of Idaho...
Alkaline (basic)

The soil is very chalky in feel, and is considered a loam in texture/makeup.  It is very high in Calcium, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It could use more Nitrates, Ammonium, and Phosphate, which are all general fertilizers required by plants to abundantly flourish.

It is also lower in iron, which could be a problem, depending on the variety of vine.  Perhaps I'll add nails beneath the vines when planting.  Apparently nails were used in antiquity to cure chlorosis.

The pH level can be adjusted by adding Elemental Sulfur, a soil nutrient.  Elemental Sulfur takes time to react with the soil, being broken down into acidic compound by bacteria and chemical reactions.  This means that you need to add it quite some time before planting (which means this fall). Western Labs has a recommendation about how much Elemental Sulfur to add to the soil for growing grapes, and I'm planning on taking their expert advice.  Western Lab's report also mentions several other micro-nutrients, in smaller quantities that would be helpful to grow an abundant grape crop.  People in Idaho often add Iron Sulfite fertilizer to their lawns to help make then a darker green, because of the generally alkaline soil and lack of iron.

Adding nutrients to the soil can be a daunting task:  making soil more alkaline can sometime require adding tonnes of crushed limestone.  In which case this project would be at an end, due to being located on an Island.  However, it looks like for adjusting this soil, it will require adding a couple hundred pounds of nutrients per acre.  I'm thinking of starting at less than a half acre size, so that would mean probably only a few bags of soil nutrients.

It will be interesting to see how prepping the soil helps things to grow things.

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