Fertilization and Soil Testing

It has been a while since I wrote to you my lovely audience. Yes, it’s rainy season again, there is a lot of pressure from the field and the rain is not constant as expected, this is why it’s essential for famers and gardeners to plan all activity for a whole year.

Today we will be looking at an interesting topic – fertilization.


If you run a mini garden you should be able to produce all the compost that your farm will need after two farming seasons knowing fully well that at the beginning you will have to bring in a lot of inputs. Sufficiency in soil compost is only possible when the soil nutrients are balanced through adequate soil analysis followed by the application of the appropriate quantity of soil amendments.

Soil testing:

It is essential as gardeners or large scale farmers to test your soil once a year or at least once in 2 years to have comprehensive analysis.  These should be done in laboratories so that major soil nutrients and trace minerals, PH and soil texture can be determined.

For a backyard gardener, you get a test kit which will enable you to test often though you may not be able to test for trace minerals and the results may not be as accurate as the laboratory’s, at least it will give you an idea on how to manage your soil. You will be able to test for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and also the soil PH and moisture, depending on your soil test kit.

Soil tests are efficient tools for analysing deficiency in soil, excess soil nutrients and the relative balance of all nutrients in the garden.

A lot of people have different organic fertilizers and amendments for the soil but have you asked the soil if those soil elements or amendments are what it needs at that time? Having a soil test can save you a lot of money since they guide you to avoid over-application or under application of nutrients.

Soil test should come with soil amendment recommendations, if it does not please get a soil scientist to interpret the test results for you or demand for it from where you had the analysis. Also the growth pattern of certain plants and the presence of some plants in an area can give us information about nutrient availability or deficiency in the soil of that area.

This is a skill that must be mastered by all gardeners through observation, and it can only be possible when you work on a piece of land over time, shifting from one location to the other. Gardening in containers of soil brought from outside may not give you the same opportunity unless the same soil is re-bagged and re-used over time.

Observation can be done constantly and records of what you observed must be kept to have a logical conclusion over time.

Soil testing is critically important if you must have optimum result from soil fertilization.

Let’s keep a date for another enlightening piece next episode.

Thank you.

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