Soil Test result

Asked July 27, 2017, 1:33 PM EDT

Hello, We will try this question again. I hope you can view the files this time. I live in Upper Marlboro, in PG county and have a large vegetable garden (100 feet by 40 feet) that I began using in 2003. It has been in production for most years. I have only used organic fertilizer on it in the fall, when the beds are done for the season. I used the amount called for on the package. I have also used a no-till gardening style, just loosening the soil, putting on the fertilizer and covering the bed with a lot (2 feet or so) of shredded leaves from all the trees on my property. In the spring, I peel the leaves away and plant. The garden is not on the septic leach field--the closest part to the garden is 30 feet away. When I took the soil sample this spring, I used a clean trowel and a glass container to collect the soil sample. Can you please tell me why the nutrient levels in the soil are so high? What could be causing this? All nutrient levels seem to be excessive. I am wondering if I got some fertilizer in the soil sample, but it would have been from the prior fall. Please advise. Thanks, Judie

Prince George's County Maryland

2 Responses

We had our extension specialist review your soil test results. Your pH is good. It is quite common that we see soil test results with the P, K, Mg, and Ca showing in the excessive range like this. It is okay. These are essential nutrients for plant growth and they will be held in the soil until they are needed by the plants. They will not inhibit your plant growth, and you do not need to lower these levels. When you apply nitrogen as recommended, look for a product that does not contain phosphorus. Avoid adding additional phosphorus, because this is a major pollutant in the Chesapeake Bay. We are not sure the proximity to the septic system would be the cause for these nutrient levels. If your garden is level to or uphill from the septic system, it should not be a factor, as long as the area is not wet. The high nutrient levels could be from your previous fertilizing.


Thank you for your response. The garden is on the same level of the septic system and the ground is dry.

I will retest test next season to see how things change.