Test Garden Soil For Nutrients?
Testing garden soil for nutrients is not only useful but it is very necessary if one wants to grow healthy plants. If one does not have access to good quality organic fertilizers then they will need to use synthetic fertilizer. Synthetic fertilizers are available from several companies, which are made up of chemicals and other ingredients that may or may not be natural or safe for human consumption. They contain harmful substances such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury etc. These are all toxic substances that can cause harm to humans and animals.
The most common way of testing for nutrients is with a soil test kit. There are many types of tests available on the market today. Some tests can be done at home while others require professional assistance. The following are some of the different types of tests:
1) Water Tests – These tests measure the amount of various elements in water.
The results can indicate whether there is any contamination in the water supply.
2) Air Tests – These tests measure certain gases in air.
The results can indicate whether there is any pollution in the area.
3) Nitrogen (N) & Phosphorus (P) Tests – These tests measure nitrogen and phosphorus levels in soil.
4) Soil pH Test – This test measures the acidity or alkalinity of soil.
The results can help determine whether soil requires addition of acid or base to reach a desirable pH level.
Most people feel that buying a kit and doing the tests at home is cheaper than paying a professional to do it. However, this may not necessarily be true. It all depends on the test that needs to be done. In some cases, it is cheaper to hire a professional.
The following are some reasons why it may be more cost-effective and less of a hassle to hire a professional:
1) There are tests that can only be done by professionals, such as those that require very specialized equipment that most people do not have access to.
2) It may take several days for test results to come back.
During this time, you may have to keep paying a gardener if you haven’t already hired one. This can get very expensive, especially if you have a large garden.
3) It takes some skill and knowledge to properly collect samples and other test materials.
If the samples are not collected correctly then the results may not be accurate.
How To Test Soil For Nutrients?
Soil testing is very important and beneficial if you want to grow quality plants. Most people think that testing soil only helps large farming companies, but this is not true. A lot of home gardeners also test their soil on a regular basis.
So, what are the reasons for testing your soil?
The following are just some of the benefits of testing your soil on a regular basis:
1) Help in determining the nutrients that are present in the soil.
2) Help in determining the pH balance of the soil.
3) Help in determining the presence of any toxic elements in the soil.
4) Help in determining whether you need to add organic material to the soil.
5) Help in determining whether you need to add nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium to the soil.
6) Help in finding out what crops grow best in your area.
7) Help in saving money.
This is especially true if you know what nutrients your soil is lacking.
Most professional gardeners and farmers have their soil tested on a regular basis. If you want to grow quality produce and flowers, then you should test your soil as well. There are several types of tests that can be done. Most tests involve sampling the soil and sending it to a lab for analysis.
In some cases, a garden expert may come to your property and test the soil himself.
The following are some of the different tests that can be done:
1) Mineral Analysis – this tests for the presence of various nutrient in the soil.
It is also sometimes called a complete chemical analysis.
2) pH – this measures the soil acidity or alkalinity between 0 and 14, with 7 being neutral.
Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6 and 7.
3) Moisture Content – this test determines the water holding capacity of the soil.
4) Organic Matter – this test determines how much organic material is in the soil.
Soil testing is a great way to maximize plant growth. If you do not want to test your soil regularly, you can always hire a gardener that has lots of experience. Many people actually do this and there are also landscaping companies that specialize in lawn and garden services.
So now that you know everything about how to test soil, what you can do to improve it and where to get the right type of testing done, all that’s left to do is choose the plants that you would like to have in your garden or landscape. After all, the plants are what really matter since they’re the ones that provide food and beauty.
Sources & references used in this article:
Testing and educating on urban soil lead: A case of Chicago community gardens by L Witzling, M Wander, E Phillips – Journal of Agriculture …, 2010 – foodsystemsjournal.org
Comparison of bioassays by testing whole soil and their water extract from contaminated sites by L Leitgib, J Kálmán, K Gruiz – Chemosphere, 2007 – Elsevier
Sources, sinks, and exposure pathways of lead in urban garden soil by HF Clark, DJ Brabander… – Journal of environmental …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library
The utility of field tests for evaluating insecticides against the garden symphylid by AJ Howitt, JS Waterhouse… – Journal of Economic …, 1959 – academic.oup.com
Local adaptation in four Iris species tested in a common-garden experiment by M Dorman, Y Sapir, S Volis – Biological Journal of the Linnean …, 2009 – academic.oup.com
Mobilisation of bacteria in soils by electro-osmosis by S Suni, M Romantschuk – FEMS microbiology ecology, 2004 – academic.oup.com
Lead (Pb) and other metals in New York City community garden soils: Factors influencing contaminant distributions by RG Mitchell, HM Spliethoff, LN Ribaudo, DM Lopp… – Environmental …, 2014 – Elsevier
Acute bronchopneumonic histoplasmosis following exposure to infected garden soil by JH Kier, CC Campbell, L Ajello… – Journal of the American …, 1954 – jamanetwork.com