Feeding Your Soil - Step #1


Testing

So, we’ve discussed the importance of feeding the soil (not just the plant) - so how exactly do we go about that? What does my soil need? What will my water contribute? Answers to these questions start with soil and water analysis.

Farmers are wise to submit their soil for testing prior to planting. However, more often than not, the reports reflect minimal testing and yield insufficient data. We beg you, invest in a full portfolio of testing!! A proper soil analysis reports on the following at a minimum:  Nitrate/Nitrite, Phosphate/Phosphite, Potassium/Potash, Sulfur, Calcium, a comprehensive list of secondary and micronutrients, a full examination of all heavy metals, % of organic matter, CEC (cation exchange capacity), and an examination of the soil condition (ie. loamy, sandy, clay, silty, peaty and chalky). It sounds like a lot, and it is. The cost may be more that you’re accustomed to, but the return will far exceed the slightly higher investment.

We strongly encourage also having your water analyzed, ESPECIALLY if you are not filtering. Oftentimes, the water will contain elevated levels of heavy metals, multi-form carbonates (bicarbonate, tri carbonates, etc.) and runoff from previous farming or agriculture. All of these things need to be taken into account when considering a recommendation for fertilizer or planning what to plant in the upcoming season.

One last thing to consider when getting your soil analyzed is getting what is called a “residue analysis.” This type of analysis examines the remaining residual levels of various harmful substances. It looks for things like RoundUp, DDT and other extremely volatile and potentially harmful products. If you have elevated levels of any one of these, you may want to consider farming industrial hemp (fiber/grain used for things like clothing and building materials) at a high density for a few seasons to help remediate the soil. Hemp is well-known as an excellent phytoremediator and bio-accumulator. As such, It is vitally important when growing products meant for consumption (like oil or food) that there are no residual toxins in the product itself. 

Finally, to make the most of your investment, have your reports evaluated by a hemp cultivation specialist as the “recommendations” labs make are far too generic and not specific to the end goal for your hemp crop. This is a complimentary service the Key To Life Microbiologist and Grow Specialists provide, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Check back next week for… Step #2: Planning


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