Soil health is very important to your garden. That’s why I share with you 3 quick and easy home tests to find out its status in terms of texture, pH and fertility.
Its structure and texture, as well as its pH levels and nutrients, can tell us a lot about the health of the soil, its productive possibilities and the risks of contracting pests and diseases, than what color can give us, for example. . We are therefore going to see 3 quick tests to know the health of our orchard by measuring these aspects.
1. Soil structure test
For this test, we only need 3 glass jars of the same size. It can be, for example, the jars of cooked vegetables that we have surely kept if we are among those who are used to making their own preserves. If we don’t have any, we tell our friends and neighbors to keep them for us.
We fill a third of each pot with soil samples that we get from 3 different places in the garden. It is important to clean it lightly so that branches and large stones do not slip into it, although a few small ones will not be a problem.
We fill the rest of the pot with water, cover it tightly and start beating. The idea is for it to be for 10 minutes, although it doesn’t have to be 10 minutes continuously, but you can stop. A good idea would be to summon our group of close friends to help us with this manual task, but if not, we can take it as an exercise for the arms.
Once the 3 jars have been shaken, let them rest for 3 days. During this time of rest, the particles will separate and what the soil contains will be well marked by levels and weight: first gravel and pebbles, then sand, then silt and clay will settle on it. What will remain floating on the water will be the organic remains, which will also show us fertility.
As seen in the image above, a soil is said to be sandy if more than 80% of its composition is sand, a soil is clayey if the percentage of clay is greater than 50%, and excessively loamy if there are more than 85%. vase.
Ideal soil health in terms of texture would be something like 10-30% clay, 30-50% silt, and 25-50% sand.
In the following video you can see this process well and in the article on the home soil test In addition, we explain how to modify these percentages in favor of more productive and healthy soil for crops.
2. Soil pH Test
This quiz is for measure soil pH in an artisanal way As in the previous example, it is ideal to take more than one sample, and in this case at least 2 different samples from certain parts of the orchard, because it is very common that it is not the same everywhere.
We will need:
- Several glasses or glass jars of any size
- Distilled water
- The vinegar
- Baking soda
What we are going to do is place half of the soil from one of the samples in a glass jar or glass, cover it with distilled water and stir so that the elements are well mixed.
To check if our soil is alkaline, the next thing we will do is add vinegar. If bubbles appear, it means that our soil is alkaline, and based on their quantity and continuity, we can know how alkaline it is, while if no bubbles appear, we can determine that it is not is not.
Then, with the other half of the sample, we will cover it with distilled water and stir. We add bicarbonate, and if it does not react or few bubbles come out, we will determine that our soil is neutral or almost neutral. If bubbles appear, we can determine that our soil is acidic, and as in the case of vinegar. The continuity and amount of bubbles will tell us if the acidity level is high or low.
Abafia Soil PH Meter, 4 in 1 soil tester…
- 4 in 1 Plant Soil Test Kit: Test soil moisture (5 levels), PH value (3.5-9,0,12 levels), sunlight intensity (9 levels) ) temperature and humidity (-9°C to 50°C); 16°F – 122°F), which makes it easy for you to know the condition of the plant. (NOTE: Please do not use it to directly test pure water and other liquids)
- Large Backlit LCD Display – This soil tester uses a large LCD display to easily display a variety of readings, and a green backlight lets you read the settings in dark conditions
- CONVENIENT OPERATION – Connect a 9V battery, remove the protective cover of the probe and turn it on, insert the probe up and down smoothly, the LCD screen will display the four indexes of the detected area. Powered by one 9V battery ( not included). An auto-off feature helps save battery life
- Indoor and Outdoor Design: Ideal tool for testing soil conditions (moisture/light/pH) of fruits, flowers, vegetables, shrubs, etc. Lightweight and portable design, convenient for indoor and outdoor use
- PLANT CARE ASSISTANT – This soil moisture meter can save time and energy with high efficiency, a great tool for your garden and planting. Know when to water, adjust pH or change the lighting of your garden, flowers, plants indoors and outdoors
We repeat the same process with each of the samples we have taken.
3. Test to measure soil fertility
This last test for soil health is used to measure its fertility. To do this, we will only need hydrogen peroxide.
For our soil to have optimum health and obtain good harvests, in addition to its beneficial structural composition and optimum pH, it must be fertile. This is called the three Ms of soil, ie organic matter, micro-organisms and minerals.
To be this test, the simplest of the 3, we take a sample of soil, we place it in a bowl. As you can see in the video, I took 3 completely different samples, one from the orchard, another from the river and a third from another part of the farm.
We add the hydrogen peroxide and we will see how the earth reacts. If the reaction is long and abundant in bubbles, it means that our earth is fertile, because it contains many microorganisms and organic matter, because what hydrogen peroxide does is kill microorganisms that feed on organic matter.
There are others uses of hydrogen peroxide in the gardenwhich I leave you here:
If few or no bubbles appear, it is a sign that it needs to be improved, either with homemade plant fertilizer, orchard mulch or one of the many ways and methods we have to bring our land to life and increase its fertility.
These are the 3 tests I do in the garden that I recommend to learn more about soil health.
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