Soil Testing 

For more than a decade we have conducted soil testing analyses and given prescriptions for natural and organic materials indicated by the testing laboratory measurements.  All those materials may be purchased from Black Lake Organic, which can pre-mix them and can also ship them via USPS.  Currently, we use Logan Labs of Lakeview, Ohio to provide us the figures used by Gary Kline and his trained associates to analyze those numbers and develop recommendations for what to apply, with the aim of approximating complete nutrient balance in the soil.

 The following section discusses why you should get a professional soil test and under what circumstances; what our test and analyses covers; instructions for properly taking soil samples; and a questionnaire form that provides us information about you and your site, the history of its treatment and use, etc.

 Our soil analysis is very complete and understandable.  After you have reviewed it, we go over the report in person or over the phone (a free 30 minute consultation), give any needed explanation and answer your questions.  Our fee is $75.00.  We ask that you send a money order or write a check to BLOSSOM Consulting and send it, along with your completed questionnaire and soil sample (in a zip lock bag), to the address below: 

 

BLOSSOM Consulting Services

4711 Black Lake Blvd

Olympia, Washington 98512

 

Click here to print Soil Sampling Instructions and Customer Soil and Fertility Questionnaire

 

DOING IT RIGHT” 

THE MINERAL-AUGMENTED ORGANIC WAY 

The Only Way to Grow!

 

PROFESSIONAL SOIL TESTING SERVICES

 

We at BLOSSOM Consulting Services are increasingly convinced that soil testing is essential to gardening success, especially for food gardeners desiring to have high production of nutritionally complete crops.  Every serious gardener should have a professional soil test conducted to determine what soil nutrients are not needed (and could even be detrimental, if added), and which nutrients, in what quantities, are needed for optimum fertility.  It is most likely that savings in fertilizer purchases, as well as errors avoided, will more than offset costs of the testing.  The fee is $75.00 per test.  A free 30 minute consultation to explain the analysis will be given at the office or by phone.

BLOSSOM Consulting’s services are based on results of professional laboratory analysis performed by Logan Labs LLC of Lakeview, Ohio, which uses testing procedures designed for ecological farming and gardening based on research of Dr. William A. Albrecht, former Chairman of the Soils Department of the University of Missouri.  We provide interpretations and recommendations geared to Minerally-Augmented Organic methods that we developed over the years. 

We offer a complete professional soil test with qualitative organic evaluations of laboratory report results and quantitative recommendations for organic/natural material applications.

Laboratory test parameters include the following:

Organic matter (%); pH of soil sample; exchange capacity (M.E.); sulfur (S in ppm); phosphorus (as P2O5 in lbs./acre); calcium (Ca in lbs./acre); magnesium (Mg in lbs./acre); potassium (K in lbs./acre); sodium (Na in lbs./acre); other base elements (trace elements, variable in percent); exchangeable hydrogen (H in percent of base saturation); boron (B in ppm); iron (Fe in ppm); manganese (Mn in ppm); copper (Cu in ppm); zinc (Zn in ppm); aluminum (Al in ppm, non-nutrient).  Also given are optimum and actual percentages of key cation nutrients (Ca, Mg, K, and Na).

Procedures:  BLOSSOM Consulting provides  precise, written instructions on taking samples.  It is extremely important that samples be taken as instructed.  You may bring samples to us in plastic sandwich bags or zip-lock bags.  You may also mail the sample(s) to us directly.   Instructions and a questionnaire are available at the above link or at BLOSSOM Consulting. 

Results of the lab test will be emailed to BLOSSOM Consulting within about one week and you will be notified by phone or email.  A copy of the lab report will be furnished to you when you arrive at BLOSSOM Consulting to pick up your complete report, including the write-up evaluation and recommendations we provide. If you are not able to come to the office we can send the report to you and arrange a phone conference.

In addition to the written report, we will provide a brief verbal explanation of the results and recommendations which will identify the recommended fertilizer materials and amounts prescribed to bring your garden into balanced optimal fertility.  Generally, it is recommended that testing be repeated in four years or more often in commercial operations.

 

“DOING IT RIGHT” 

THE MINERAL-AUGMENTED ORGANIC WAY 

The Only Way to Grow! 

WHY GET A SOIL TEST?

 

Gardening magazines and books frequently urge gardeners to get their soil tested.  Yet, one wonders how really necessary soil testing is and whether it is worth the trouble and expense.  Furthermore, you may have doubts that you can make sense of the test results or know what products to use for “correcting” your soil to get the best plant response.  Have no fear.  BLOSSOM Consulting has solutions.

There actually are situations where soil testing may not be worthwhile.  However, we at BLOSSOM Consulting strongly recommend a professional soil test for most food gardening situations.  Professional soil analyses (tests) are, admittedly, somewhat expensive.  However, they are nearly always money well-invested and usually you will save money on fertilizer purchases by knowing precisely what to buy and not to buy.  Professional soil tests take the guesswork out of garden fertilization.  Considering the controlling influence that fertility has over crop productivity and the quality of produce, we believe getting a soil test is the wisest first step and most important thing you can do for your garden or farm.  The best crops will result from having balanced, amply fertilized soils.

While it is helpful, we do not especially recommend having your soil professionally analyzed for landscape plantings and lawns.  Soil tests are generally not warranted for temporary gardening situations, very small gardens, or where gardeners are not looking to their gardens for a major portion of their food and for especially high nutrition in their diets.  For such situations, general recommendations based on typical conditions may suffice.  We can provide such guesstimations, although we have to say from viewing results of numerous tests that many local soils are far from “typical”.        

For several reasons we recommend a professional soil test over simple do-it-yourself home test kits or even over agency and university testing.  Small, inexpensive test kits can have their place, but they are of limited value regardless of how accurately they might measure nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N-P-K) and pH (acidity/alkalinity).  At least a dozen other elements and factors are involved.  Importantly, home test kits do not tell you anything about the levels of calcium, magnesium, and sulfur (so-called secondary plant nutrients) which are very important to plant growth and health.  Nor do they give you any information about the vital trace element deficiencies and excesses frequently encountered in today’s soils or about the soil cation exchange capacity and base saturation percentages.

 

Because of a seriously mistaken notion that “secondary” nutrients are accounted for by the pH reading, many test kit manufacturers, testing laboratories, and resource agencies simply are not capable of supplying appropriate fertilizer and liming recommendations from the data they collect.  Another shortcoming of most laboratories is that they are geared toward large-scale, chemicalized farming operations and are ill-prepared to make recommendations suited to small-scale organic farming and backyard gardening.  BLOSSOM Consulting is uniquely qualified to provide skilled interpretation of professional laboratory test data and make precise recommendations to implement a Mineral-Augmented Organic program for lasting soil treatment.  Soil testing is unquestionably a smart move and we make it easy.  Our professional soil testing services and costs are described below.

  

 

SOIL SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL SOIL ANALYSIS

 

Warning:  It is extremely important that you follow these instructions in taking soil samples and get a sampling that is representative of the site you will be gardening or treating.

General:  You can not simply go out and grab a scoop of soil and bring it in.  Improper sampling will give you misleading lab results and waste your money.  The data and recommendations you receive from the laboratory and from BLOSSOM Consulting will only be as good as the samples sent in for analysis.  Late spring, early summer and fall are the best times to have your soil tested, but anytime is O.K.  While not required, the lab prefers to have dry (air or solar-dried) soil as opposed to wet soil.   

Any sample turned in has to represent a uniform soil type and condition.  Since a number of scattered sub-samples are involved, you can not take some from a sandy soil and some from a clayey soil, or some from a low, wet site and some from a hill and expect the averaged results to be useful.  Separate tests are required for dissimilar soils or sites.  If undecided about whether to test a fertilized or an untreated area, it is generally best to know about the original or untreated ground or else to test both separately. 

 Tools:  To properly take clean, uncontaminated samples, you will need a clean, non-rusted digging tool such as a shovel, spade, trowel or special soil probe.  Stainless steel and chrome-plated tools are best.  Do not use galvanized metal, brass or other soft metals, or tools with flaking paint.  Also needed is a clean knife (stainless steel or chrome), a clean cup, a clean plastic pail, a ball point pen, and a sample bag (or bags), which we furnish, or use a clean zip-lock plastic bag if necessary.

 Procedure:  Using a map or site drawing, randomly select 10 scattered sub-sampling spots.  In gardens you will be taking samples from the top 6 inches.  For lawns and pastures sample the top 4 inches.  At each spot scrape away any surface debris, plant material, litter, mulch, etc. without removing any soil.  Dig out a small hole or wedge about 8 inches deep and set the soil aside.  Next, with your shovel, slice down an inch from the sidewall of the hole and then, without removing the slice, cut away all but a center column about an inch wide with a knife and lift it out on the shovel.  Cut off all but the top 6 (or 4) inches and slide it into your pail.  Take the other 9 sub-samples in the same way, then, using a trowel, stir them all together thoroughly.  Remove a full cup of the soil mixture and place it in a sample bag, which has been properly labeled and identified.  Bring the bag to us along with the questionnaire which you need to fill out as best you can to aid us in advising the lab and for interpreting results to advise you on needed treatments.

   

Click here to print Soil Sampling Instructions and Customer Soil and Fertility Questionnaire

 

 

BLOSSOM Consulting Fees Schedule

 

Speaking and Lecture Presentations (per hour)

(Travel, meals and lodging expenses are additional)

$100.00

Professional Soil Testing and Expert Understandable Analysis

$75.00

Gardening, Soils, Nutrition Sessions (per hour)

(Generally one on one discussions)

$50.00

Group Workshops and Classes (per person)

(Minimum group rate is $100.00)    

$20.00

Lecture Texts, Notes, Graphics (per page)

$1.00