Soil Testing - A Strong Foundation
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We’ve been told that soil testing builds a strong foundation. I agree. But in many cases, we haven’t been told what is actually being built on the foundation.
Just like a foundation could be used to support a road, a house, or a warehouse, soil testing could be used for many different outcomes. This includes high yields, an economical program, or even a bare bones fertility program just trying to get a crop at the least cost.
But at Fix My Soil, we use soil testing for a very specific outcome. Our passion is to build healthy soil. This is important because it leads to healthy plants which produce healthy food. And this ultimately results in healthy animals and people.
This cascade of healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people all starts with the simple act of testing soil.
Cascade – a succession of devices or stages in a process, each of which triggers or initiates the next.
So, what is the benefit of soil testing? It allows us to see. See what you may ask? Every soil has certain minerals present and ready for plant uptake. Some minerals are just about right, others critically low, and a few may be at an extreme high or not even present at all.
When taken together these minerals paint a picture of the current state of soil health. This picture is actually a pattern that can be seen over and over. For example, a common pattern I call Depleted Soil will have:
- Low Phosphorous
- Low Calcium
- Moderately Low Magnesium
- Low Trace Minerals
- High Potassium
Once the pattern is seen and understood, the next step is required. And that step is to move the soil toward ideal. This is accomplished by following the fertility recommendations that accompany the soil test.
Imagine you are going on a road trip to Branson Missouri. If I was to take this trip, I would need to head south and slightly east. What direction you need to take depends entirely on your starting point. The soil test says You Are Here.
No matter where we start or what the pattern of the soil test is, the destination is the same; healthy soil that promotes a thriving microbial community and vigorous plant roots. Once we get to healthy soil the cascading effects of healthy food and healthy people become much easier to accomplish.
So how do we achieve healthy soil? Just follow 3 simple steps.
- Step 1: Test the Soil to Find the Current Pattern
- Step 2: Apply Minerals and Carbons to Improve the Pattern
- Step 3: Repeat Annually
It should be pointed out that the fertility recommendations are custom formulated for your specific soil and tailored to the crops you are raising. We follow 3 rules to make the custom recommendations:
- Supply What is Needed
- Avoid What is Excessive
- Use Full-Spectrum Nutrition
As nutrients leave the soil through leaching, weeding, and harvesting produce the pattern changes. This is why annual soil testing is so important. It is an opportunity to step back and reevaluate the new pattern the soil is in. Why do this? To get closer to the ideal pattern and improve the cascade of Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People. And that is a foundation we all need to stand on.