soil testing kits

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jimmyhague
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margo - newbie
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soil testing kits

Post: #265851 jimmyhague
Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:11 pm

does anyone know of a reliable soil testing kit for ph, nitrogen etc available online? i've seen plenty available but the reviews can be conflicting on how much you can trust the results. we have a pigeon poo fertilizer bed that's spent 6 months rotting away and i'd like to know what it's constituents are before flinging it about and also what state my soil is in general in different areas. gracias..

daz101
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: soil testing kits

Post: #266083 daz101
Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:11 pm

It depends on what you want to spend really, here's a few links:

http://www.allthingsgreen.net/marketpla ... le%20Works

http://www.gardening-naturally.com/acat ... tml#aPST01

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/LAMOTT ... OTTE-8C677

As you can see you get a varying number of tests and obviously a varying price. $674 dollars is way too much for anything less than a professional but it all depends on how professional a result you need. Did you follow a recipe for your compost? Ph is going to be the only real clincher and I found the colour scale ones to be more than accurate for most garden needs. Another way would be to take samples from around your garden (topsoil/subsoil separately?) and send them to a lab for testing which is not so scary a price as you might think. If you're in th UK (Your profile doesn't say)
http://www.nutrientmanagement.org/Suppo ... aboratory/
Hope it helps
D

jimmyhague
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:33 am
latitude: 52
longitude: 7

Re: soil testing kits

Post: #266105 jimmyhague
Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:32 am

many thanks for the info D. i may go for the mid range kit and get a few friends to chip in and share the use of it. The compost did start life with a rough recipe; poo, soil , dry pine needles etc but over the months this or that has been added to retain some moisture as we're in Spain and it will turn bone dry in a week. The pit takes over about 3 valuable square metres of our plot so the idea is to test the compost, bag it up to be stored/shared and then reclaim this area. i will wait a while until it's had a least some rain on it. 4 months and counting since the last downpour :angryfire: thanks again

daz101
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: soil testing kits

Post: #266113 daz101
Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:53 am

I can appreciate you may adding the pine needles to offset alkalinity of the droppings? If they're not alkaline then you're going to end up with a VERY acidic mixture which may not compost at all due to the low pH, and as you've found it is a bulky and time consuming process. This is partially due to the robust nature of the resinous needles which will really put up a fight unless kept between damp and wet. One ingredient that i know of to alkalise your mix is spent mushroom compost which is usually landfilled and so can be cheap in bulk but again is a bulky process. Another and better option maybe would be to make pigeon "tea"
To make Pigeon Dropping Tea, collect a good sized amount of droppings. Make sure they are dry. If they are not dry, spread them out somewhere. Put them in an old pillow case. Weight them. Fill a large plastic barrel with a lid with 10 times the weight of water to droppings. Place the closed pillow case in the barrel and let sit 3-4 weeks, stirring regularly.

This forms a concentrate. When using this, dilute the concentrate 1:20 with water. So, 1 cup of concentrate Pigeon Droppings Tea with 19 cups of water. You can then water vegetables with this. Be sure not to pour it directly onto the plants, but rather around them. It will stink to high heaven, but is one of the best natural fertilizers you can get.

jimmyhague
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:33 am
latitude: 52
longitude: 7

Re: soil testing kits

Post: #266133 jimmyhague
Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:17 pm

we've got an unending supply of the stuff as the butcher has racing pigeons so could try this with the next batch and bottle it! last time i had a rake through, the pine needles had almost all been consumed. for months the surface of the pile was warm so i'm hoping it did get enough time to break down properly. will post any test results, cheers (lets not toast with the tea!)

daz101
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: soil testing kits

Post: #266148 daz101
Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:42 pm

Sounds good! I really thought acidity was going to be a problem tho. Another thing you might try is watering it with diluted dissolved wood ash (not coal ash) Potassium is alkaline and so may regulate the pile and enable bacteria to work more efficiently for longer, this is just an educated guess mind!
As for the pile being warm...I'm sure I would be, in Spain, without rain for 4 months over the summer :-D


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