Feeding Your Soil - Step #2

Understanding Test Results

Many soil reports from traditional ag fields are very high in Calcium. This is usually due to some form of limestone runoff or repeated overapplication of calcitic lime over years of traditional farming. The most common approach here is to either ignore the Calcium or suggest lime anyways. So, what is the best way to approach this? What do we do here? Truly the best way to handle high Calcium conditions in the soil is to actually recondition the soil. A thorough application of fulvic and humic acids will help free up some of that Calcium already present in the soil and make it available to the plant. This approach, over time, will allow the Calcium in the soil to actually become a functioning part of the soil system and the soil food web. 

Soil Food Web

We often review soil reports that have “recommendations” to add Phosphorus, when in fact, there’s plenty for the purposes of cultivating hemp. As a direct driver of THC levels, hemp fields require much less phosphorus than “traditional ag” farming. The source of your phosphorus matters as well. Salt-based phosphorus sources like traditional ag salts are specifically correlated to this driving of THC due to their forced uptake via the osmotic effect. Other forms of phosphorus like high-phos bone meals, feather meals and bird/bat guanos provide a slightly slower uptake. You can still over-feed with these forms of phosphorus which can lead to elevated THC levels, but they can provide the necessary phosphorus necessary to maximize yield. 

Organic matter percentage is a key element in determining soil health, and often undervalued. Soil rich in organic matter holds water, nutrients and life much better. If your levels are below 5%, it is extremely difficult to restore soils back to a healthy level where the entire soil food web is balanced and communicating properly. Increasing the organic matter percentage is usually a great first step in restoring a healthy soil. We can accomplish this by applying a high organic matter containing compost like worm castings or manure. Having said that, it is important to understand the nutrient content of what you are adding in order to properly adjust nutrient application levels after factoring in soil and water reports.

Check back Friday for… Step #3 - Optimizing Your Soil

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