Soil Testing Kit: What Is It?
A soil testing kit is a device used to determine the amount of nutrients present in a particular location. These kits are designed to detect specific types of nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or potassium (K). They are usually sold with instructions on how to use them. Some soil tests kits contain other substances that may be useful for determining the presence of contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
The purpose of a soil test kit is to provide accurate results so that farmers can make informed decisions about which crops to plant and when. A farmer might want to know if there are any problems with their crop before they have to spend money on expensive remediation efforts.
Other benefits include saving time and reducing costs since it takes less time than doing a field test.
What Are Its Features?
Most soil test kits come with one or two instruments that measure the concentration of various elements. For example, some kits will give readings on the levels of nitrates and phosphates in the soil. Others will check for pesticide residues. There are also kits that allow users to take samples from specific locations within their fields. These samples can then be analyzed at home using specialized equipment.
What Is The Best Soil Test Kit?
Rapitest Premium Soil Test Kit 1663. This kit is one of the most accurate and reliable kits on the market. It contains everything an aspiring botanist or farmer could ever need to analyze their soil. The kit can detect levels of major nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as the levels of minor elements such as copper, zinc and boron.
The kit comes with a manual that includes instructions for use, information on how to test for different elements and the meaning of the results. The product is manufactured in the United States by Rapitech and comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
It costs around $30 online and comes with free shipping.
What Are Some Other Soil Test Kits?
Nelson Labs Ammonia In Nitrogen Test Kit. This soil test kit contains everything that is needed to determine the level of available nitrogen in the soil. The kit can be used to test the soil both before and after a particular crop is planted to see if additional fertilizers are needed. It comes with hardy plastic bottles that make it easy to store and transport samples and an instruction manual to help get you started.
The kit costs around $24 online and comes with free shipping. It also has a lifetime guarantee.
Felton Lab’s Comprehensive Soil Test Kit. This kit is perfect for home or professional gardeners who want to test the soil in their gardens.
It comes with everything you need to get started, including bottles, testing tablets and a comprehensive instruction manual, which will assist you every step of the way.
The kit costs around $20 online and shipping is free. It can be used again and again and does not expire.
What Is Soil?
Soil is a mixture of sand, silt and clay that supports life. It is a critical part of the ecosystem as it provides nutrients for plants, which in turn provide oxygen and food for other living things. It is created when larger rocks are broken down by the actions of water, wind and ice. Soil can be classified as basic, acidic or neutral. These three types form the foundations of different ecosystems. There are also tests that can be used to determine the nature of your soil. (2019 Latest Updated Top 3 Soil Test Kits )
What Is The Best Way To Take A Soil Sample?
The first thing you need to do is purchase a digging kit, which can be found in most home and hardware stores. This will include a trowel, bucket and bags. Mark out an area in your garden that is at least 24 inches across and 10 inches deep. Use the trowel to remove the topsoil and place it in a bucket, making sure you dig down at least 10 inches. Once the area has been reached remove the soil from the hole and place it in a bag. Take this bag to your local extension office to be tested or send it off to a testing lab. This will allow you to determine what nutrients your soil is lacking.
What Are The Different Types Of Soil?
There are three main types of soil; sand, silt and clay. They can also be classified as basic, acidic or neutral.
Sand: The largest particles, easily found in deserts. Air easily passes through and water drains through very quickly.
These soils contain very little nutrients and almost no organic matter.
Silt: Particles are between sand and clay in size, found in flood plains and along rivers. Water drains very well and these soils contain a moderate amount of nutrients.
Clay: Very small particle size that sticks together, found in bogs and marshes. Water does not drain well and these soils tend to be lacking in nutrients.
Acidic: Soil with a pH level below 7, found in rain forests and some mountain areas. These soils tend to lack nutrients, especially nitrogen.
Basic: Soil with a pH level of above 7, found in desert and some mountain areas. These soils contain high levels of phosphorus and other nutrients.
What Are The Different Types Of Soil Tests?
There are three different types of soil tests that can be performed: the organic matter test, the phosphorous test and the nitrogen test. These are commonly used by farmers to determine what types of fertilizer and amendments need to be added to their fields to maximize their crop yield.
The organic matter test measures the current level of organic material in the soil. The higher the number, the more efficient the soil is at holding nutrients and water, reducing the need for fertilizer.
The phosphorous level measures how much phosphorous is in the soil at any given time. This nutrient is a mineral that promotes plant growth.
The nitrogen level measures how much nitrogen is in the soil at any given time. This nutrient promotes green leafy growth.
What Are The Different Types Of Soil Amendments?
There are different types of soil amendments that can be added to your soil depending on its deficiencies. Each of these items will need to be broken down by bacteria in the soil before they can be used by plants, this process is known as “weathering”.
Different amendments can be added directly to the soil, or you can purchase pasteurized compost instead. This has been processed at a high temperature and all potential pathogens have been killed, making it safe to use.
For sandy soils that drain too quickly, you can add powdered gypsum. This will help the soil hold onto moisture longer and promote microbial growth.
To combat acidic soil, you can add powdered limestone. This raises the pH balance while adding minerals and nutrients that promote plant growth.
To combat basic soil that is lacking in nutrients, you can add manure, as long as it’s well rotted. This will help restore nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil.
Manure from animals like cows and horses should be composted for at least six months before use.
Tips For Maintaining Your Soil
Soil is a living thing, this means it is always changing. You can’t just add a soil amendment and expect it to instantly make your plants grow bigger and better than ever.
You need to constantly monitor the pH balance and nutrient content of your soil if you want to get the best results. Different plants require different levels of nutrients, some will do better with more nitrogen, while others need more phosphorous. It’s up to you to determine what your plants need in order to thrive.
Conduct a soil test at least once a year and more frequently if you notice that your plants are lacking in nutrients or if they are growing poorly.
In the fall, conduct another soil test and amend the soil as necessary.
Fertilize your soil with compost or manure in the early spring before the growing season begins.
Continue to grow plants as you normally would.
How Do I Prepare My Soil For Planting?
Before you get started, you should have all of the necessary tools for the job. If you’re planning on planting a large garden, it might be a good idea to have a small tractor and rototiller to break up large clumps of dirt and turn it over. If you’re planting a small herb garden in containers, you can get by with just a small spade and hoe.
Begin by clearing away any weeds or grass from the area you plan on planting.
Add a 2-3″ layer of mulch, such as chopped up leaves, straw or grass clippings, over the soil.
Add a layer of compost to the soil, about 4-6″ deep.
Break up any large clumps of dirt until the soil is soft and loose.
If you’re planting in a container, fill the pot with soil until it’s about an inch from the top. Gently pat the soil down and form a small hill in the center for your plant.
Plant your seeds and lightly cover them with some more compost or topsoil. Pat this down lightly as well.
Water the soil until it’s evenly moist and wait for it to start growing!
What Should I Put On My Soil To Help It Improve?
Once you’ve added the organic matter and topsoil, there are a few other things you can add to your soil to help it out. There are soil amendments you can purchase at many gardening centers and home improvement stores, you can also gather these items yourself, though this takes time and may not be very cost effective.
Greensand – This helps to condition the soil and restore its ability to hold nutrients. It also adds trace amounts of several different minerals, which promotes healthy root systems in plants.
Ground Oyster Shells – This helps to increase the pH balance of acidic soil. You can also add crushed eggshells, which have the same effect.
Peat Moss – Peat moss prevents soil from packing together and prevents it from getting too wet. This can help to promote aeration and drainage.
Rock Dust – Rock dust contains several trace elements which are great for plants. Wood ash, cottonseed meal and limestone are a few common types of rock dust.
Sawdust – A small amount of sawdust mixed into soil helps to retain moisture and prevents soil from becoming too compacted. However, excessive amounts can make soil too dirty for seeds to take root.
Greensand, oyster shells and rock dust are all examples of a soil ammendment.
Planting Your Garden
Now that you’ve created the perfect growing conditions for your garden, it’s time to get down to business! If you already have a plan in mind for what you want to plant, that’s great.
If not, take some time to think about what you like to eat and what will go well together.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Evaluation of commercial soil test kits for field use by DE McCoy, SJ Donohue – … in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 1979 – Taylor & Francis
Evaluation of quick test kits for the determination of nitrate, ammonium and phosphate in soil and in hydroponic nutrient solutions by R Maggini, G Carmassi, L Incrocci, A Pardossi – Agrochimica, 2010 – researchgate.net
Experimental evaluation of two field test kits for the detection of PAHs by immunoassay by LC Waters, A Palausky, RW Counts… – … Analytical Chemistry & …, 1997 – Wiley Online Library
A strategy to validate immunoassay test kits for TNT and PAHs as a field screening method for contaminated sites in Germany by PM Krämer – Analytica chimica acta, 1998 – Elsevier
Soil test handbook for Georgia by DE Kissel, LS Sonon – 2008 – athenaeum.libs.uga.edu
Evaluation of the structure/cross-reactivity relationship of polycyclic aromatic compounds using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit by M Nording, P Haglund – Analytica chimica acta, 2003 – Elsevier
Performance of commercially available immunoassay‐based field test kits for petroleum fuel hydrocarbons in soil by LC Waters, MA Palausky, RW Counts… – Field Analytical …, 1997 – Wiley Online Library
FUELS IN SOIL TEST KIT: FIELD USE OF DIESEL DOG SOIL® TEST KITS by JF Schabron, SS Sorini, JF Rovani Jr – 2001 – core.ac.uk