Soil Testing

Are you tired of your soil cracking? Are your trees are still suffering from drought? Are you thinking about how to capture more rainwater in your soil? Would you like to produce more food from your garden beds?

All of these challenges are related to your soil. Get a soil test that is based on the organic growing methods, not the chemical intensive farming methods that have been common to the majority of soil test labs over the last 40 years.

View this video for details on how to collect your own soil sample.

We highly recommend comprehensive testing the first time, which includes a Standard Soil Test; Saturated Paste Test, Nitrate & Ammonium, and the Solvita Test. This provides us with the most accurate understanding of your soil (base line) and avoids application of unnecessary and more expensive labor & soil amendments. Additional testing is available for water (nutrient profile, not toxicity) and Soil Physical StructureTests.

o The standard test package tells us the existing potential of the soil and includes: pH, soil organic matter, base saturation, CEC exchange capacity, Mehlich III extractable sulfur, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, boron, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, aluminum.

o The saturated paste test package tells us what the plants are utilizing from the soil and includes: pH, soluble salts, choride, bicarbonate, and the water soluble forms of: phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, boron, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, aluminum, sulfur and manganese.

o For an additional $5 ($55), we can perform the standard test + saturated test plus tests for nitrates and ammonium.

o The Solvita soil test is able to measure the respiration of the soil, in other words the life cycling of nutrients and organic mater in the soil. It is commonly used to test compost and standard soil samples. Soil studies have shown the utility of testing CO2 respiration as a means to gauge active soil carbon, soil microbial biomass, and potential release of nitrogen.

Because the soil is a bank account for the soil’s fertility, we need to load up on mineral nutrients, but in the proper balance. The “soil bank account” is determined by the soil’s clay fraction, organic fraction, rock minerals, and the soil/water solution. Once we understand this, we can keep the soil loose and airy, so that a larger amount of water, plant roots, soil organisms and air can move about freely in the soil. We can also properly balance the soil pH to somewhere around a pH of 6.5 at which the maximum amount of nutrients are available to plants.