Soil and Compost forum: 6-6-0 amendment and Zinc question

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Amelia77
Mar 21, 2018 1:25 PM CST
Hi! I'm in Zone 7, and I recently got my soil tested. The results suggested that I add 6-6-0 at 1lb/100 sq feet to my flower beds. The only pre-made 6-6-0 fertilizer that I can find is a ground shrimp meal (Down to Earth Shrimp Meal from the Pacific Northwest) and so my first question is whether or not anyone has experience with supplementing with this, and how often I should apply it after the first application to raise my N and P levels.
My second question is that the test showed that our soil is super high in Zinc. Does anyone have any experience with amending soil to lower zinc levels? I've been diligently tending my perennial beds for four years now, and although my plants come back, they are not growing or flourishing. I'm hoping that raising the N and P levels will help, but I'm wondering if the issue is the over abundance of Zinc in the soil. Any thoughts or insights would be so helpful!
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Apr 2, 2018 7:17 AM CST
I think lowering the ph helps to remove zinc. Did they find any other heavy metals? I have a friend who is a chemist and works with contaminated soil - he says one of the very best ways to remove such pollutants is to plant squash plants - pumpkins, squash etc. he likes pumpkins and gourds the best - because you should not actually eat those crops - they will be full of the heavy metals - but you can use pumpkins and gourds for decorations in the Fall so you will still get good use from growing them. And when you are done with them, do not put them on your compost pile, but discard them instead. he said it is an excellent way to clean up contaminated soil.
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Dirtmechanic
Oct 25, 2018 12:15 AM CST
Shrimp meal is favored for the chitin, which feeds certain members of the soil team that are able to kill nematodes. Chitin is what a lot of insects are made of, and it works out to be an organic suppression technique when you intentionally feed a hungry horde of chitin eating microbes.

As you increase your phosporous levels, your zinc problem will rectify itself. In fact if you had high levels of P, you would likely have a zinc deficient soil.
[Last edited by Dirtmechanic - Oct 25, 2018 12:16 AM (+)]
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