Keith Kridler, Texas

Soil Tests & analisis of bottom ash from coal fired power plant

October 29, 2008
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Categories: Fertilizing, Growing Daffodils, Soil

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Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas Early killing freeze yesterday!
Seeing the photos of where species daffodils are growing in Spain on sandy bare soil. Then seeing foliage on tazetta daffodils from New Zealand that are more than a meter tall makes me wonder more and more whether soil nutrients, weather/ heat and cold or ground water conditions versus hours of sunlight are the most determining keys to larger bulbs and or flowers or larger healthier foliage.
Peter Ramsay mentions in a previous post: “”Re Nutrition and HWT. There is no question that proper nutrition improves texture, substance, size and colour. Like many others we obtain soil tests and add whatever fertilizer is needed. We also study research and commentaries on good bulb and flower production. You can overfeed or underfeed – we watch foliage very carefully and will have tests done if there looks to be any nutritional problems. PR””
OK here in the southern USA Soil labs don’t have a clue as to the ideal Micro and Macro nutrients needed in the various soils for growing daffodils! WHAT do the different daffodil growers world wide consider as the CML or Critical Minimum Levels of the various nutrients, PH and also the Critical Maximum levels of these?
Soil tests need to be taken at a depth where you expect the roots to be pulling up the nutrients for the various plants you wish to grow. Daffodils for example have a deeper root zone than most common yard grasses. How deep do you all pull up the samples you want tested? I sent in samples to test from 0<16″ inches deep 0<40 CM deep.
Our 20 acres (8hectars) was worn out cotton farmland abandoned for crops in the 1940’s. PH on soils across our creek where we have NOT begun adding soil amendments has a PH of 5.4 which is highly acidic but our other daffodil fields tested almost perfectly neutral at 6.8 and 7.0.
Even though I thought that we are using WAY too much nitrogen to grow bulbs our soil tests came back with two fields as VERY LOW nitrogen with the one across the creek/stream at only 1 PPM (part per million). The next field at 8 PPM and the best one at 21 PPM. Anyway these all need between 50 to 100 pounds of pure nitrogen per acre (50 to 100 KG per hectare) to bring them up to the minimum nitrogen levels for growing onions. (Onion growers want a big bulb and our testing lab has many commercial onion growers so they know what this crop needs.)
Soil tests are REALLY cheap compared to adding soil nutrients or just guessing at what you have in the soils in your daffodil beds!
Coal ash for a soil amendment. We have six coal fired power plants within 12 miles of my daffodil fields that burn 36 million tons of coal every year. They produce a LOT of really nice sandy textured type volcanic ash product that we have been using for several years as a soil amendment. They used to charge $4.00 a ton to load my dump trailer compared to cheap limestone at $25.00 a ton. But now they are trying to give away to anyone who will haul the ash a thirty year stockpile of coal ash.
Our county agent is using our farm for a research project now to test the soils and we have to track the amount of coal ash, composted wood chips, fertilizer and any micro or macro nutrients ETC.
Soil type tests on the coal ash from the Wyoming Powder River Basin came back as an almost perfect soil amendment for the soils in East Texas. PH of 10.3 there were not any of the micro or macro nutrients that were excessively high if used for a crop of onions.
I will try to put these various four soil tests results in a word document but it sure would be nice to compare similar soil tests results from other growers.
I strongly recommend that if you are spending the time and money to grow show daffodils that you spend the time and money to get a soil test sent in from your various daffodil beds.
I would hope that we can all compare soil tests at some point. Has there been any soil research done on the locations where exceptional selections of species daffodils have been found?
If someone wants to fax me their soil analysis report you can at 903-572-7529. I would like to get the sizes of my daffodil bulbs and flower sizes up to at leash HALF the size of the bulbs I get from Mitsch Novelty bulbs and I would like to see a second year bloom from their bulbs similar to what we get out of first year blooms:-)) KK

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