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Thanks, Paul! I never was too certain about the home tests, and never was sure about how important it is. Thank you for taking the time to explain all that. I, too, have contacted my extension service. The baggie, as they say, will be in the mail. Thanks again!
[quote]I had heard several years ago that if you add a handful of Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate) to each plant when you fertilize it will give the roses a boost[/quote]
Heard the same thing about tomatoes. Everyone, or it seems as if everyone, suggests tossing Epsom salts into the hole when planting out. Like you, I was suprised when my soil test came back--there is more than enough magnesium in the soil. Adding more would have been a waste of money and as you write, may have blocked the uptake of other elements. Right there I paid for the soil test several times over. My problem was phosophus (a common problem in CT). Only had 1 lb per acre. The lawn I was carving a garden out of looked OK but the soil was not at all suitable for tomatoes (pH of 5.7 and less than optimum K).
Might mention another reason for a soil test: lead.
If you're growing vegetable, it is only prudent to know the lead level. I thought mine might be high because of location and the age of the house but it was only slightly above background. The University of Connecticut provided information on how to mitigate the problem. had it been high.
Aluminum levels are likewise handy to know--both for growing food crops and hydrangeas.