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Is your soil healthy?

I listened to a conversation between two strangers during a recent supermarket visit. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but when a conversation turns to growing flowers or vegetables, my gardening radar tunes in. One woman was talking about how well her strawberries have done this spring, despite the excessive rain over the last few weeks. The other woman remarked that she had set out some tomato plants, but they didn’t look healthy. Too much rain, maybe? Maybe, but excessive rain might not be the only cause of droopy tomato plants. It’s difficult to tell why some plants are thriving and others are languishing without examining the soil and having a soil test performed by the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) lab, a test that ideally is performed every three years.

Analysis results include soil pH (acidity or alkalinity), potassium, phosphate, and micronutrient levels, and recommendations for the amounts of fertilizer and lime necessary to improve the soil. Dolomitic limestone adds ...

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