purple grass
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:31 am
Location: Fontana, CA

SOIL TESTING - for hot inland socal

Hi All!
I am new to the site and also a new homeowner. :D
I am planning a complete re-landscaping of my front and back yards and replacing quite of bit of lawn designated area (currently weeds! :( ) into a vegetable garden, citrus trees, and native low water plants.
I have read a lot about soil amendments and soil testing. How much is soil testing, how long does it take, and where can I have it done? (I live in the INland Empire of So Cal, near UC Riverside.)
I am spending a lot of time, effort and $$$ on this project and want to get it right the first time.
Any suggestions for soil testing, amendments, plant/tree/shrub/vine or veggie recommendations are highly appreciated. You can see I'm not bashfull right? :D
Thanks for all your help!
~Purple Grass Girl

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Look in the phone book or the web for your county's Agricultural Department. Call them and ask what the costs and procedures are for a soil test to determine whether your soil is suitable for growing [your list of plants].

They'll take it from there.

When you get the results back, you'll know the nutrients in which your soil needs to be improved, if any, as well as those where you may have an excess. If you get a "traditionalist" soil tester, he'll recommend xyz fertilizers. But if you get the nutrients and want long-term soil health, come back and learn where to acquire those nutrients in a soil-supporting, dare I say "organic" way.

Sounds like a terrific project! Be sure to take before, during, and after pictures.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hey PGG!

Weeds, huh? That tells me the fungal to bacterial ratio is gettting really low, so you need to stimulate the fungal side of your soil. That means good aeration and higher carbon inputs to your soil, and that is perfect match for leaf compost. Can you put hands on a lot of leaves? Running them through a garden chipper (or even just spreading them on the lawn and running them over a few times with a mulching mower will work). I know that might be a harder get for you than me, but it's the right stuff. Spread a layer of manure compost (like 1/4 to 1/2 inch) on top of that and you are off to the races. Might need to do the same year two, but eventually Nature will start to take care of business herownself...

The test idea is a good one too, and you will learn a lot about your soil; it is some of the smartest money to spend when setting out on a task like this and I always do. But biology and chemistry are a chicken and the egg thing; which comes first? You can move chemistry with biology, and you can move biology with chemistry. I tend to favor the former... get your soil alive and it takes care of itself...

Cool project...and yes Cynthia, I do think you daresay organic...

HG
Scott Reil

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