Soil pH chart Mineral availability at different soil pH levels If you have inherited a high pH soil, driven by an excess of magnesium, or sodium, or both, then it is a good strategy to bypass the associated soil lockups via direct route into the leaf. In this case it is always a productive strategy to foliar spray iron, manganese and boron at least twice per season, as they are the minerals most impacted by high pH soils. If your soil pH is 8.0, for example, it can be tremendously effective and profitable to compensate with foliar applications of iron, manganese and boron (in cereal crops, usually at the five leaf stage and again immediately before flowering). [x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]Organic Matter[/x_custom_headline] This may be the single most important parameter on your soil test. Organic matter, or humus, is the true essence of soil fertility. If you can work toward building organic matter in your soil, there are a multitude of profound benefits. These range from improved water and nutrient retention and reduced soil loss (through erosion) to greater crop resilience, less need for chemicals and more fun in your farming enterprise. Organic matter is the “great forgiver”. You can weather your way through all sorts of mineral imbalances and deficiencies in your soil, simply because the humus compensates for, and buffers against, most problems. The higher your humus levels, the larger your microbial workforce and the more successful your growing enterprise. Cover crops, microbial inoculums, humates, compost, minimum-till, intelligent grazing strategies and reclaiming earthworm counts are some of the humus building strategies that can make farming more profitable and so much more fun. When we comprehend these critically important monitoring tools, we take the guesswork out of nutrition, we take control and we are less likely to suffer the joy-killing “stress” that can undermine our farming pleasure. Part 2 of this article will be posted soon.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]]]>