It felt so good to get into the field yesterday! I was getting soil samples ready for testing and it dawned on me that most people don't really know the science behind planting a field. Soil sampling is the first step and this will give you an idea of how it all works. I'll create more posts like this one from time-to-time to give you a better understanding of what we do. Like they say, know your farmer, know your food!
“What you see depends on how you view the world. To most people, this is just dirt. To a farmer, it’s potential.” - Doe Zantamata
Soil sampling is a vital part of farming and the first field work a farmer must do. Samples are collected to see what essential nutrients are in the field such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Along with checking soil pH and organic matter which is essential for plant growth and development.
A six to eight inch core of top soil is enough to get an adequate reading. Five to eight more soil cores are taken per acre to get overall analysis from the field we are testing.
We walk on a diagonal zig-zag throughout the field gathering samples and once all are collected we mix the cores together.
The soil samples should be moist, but more on the dry side, or it will create problems during transport. If the soil is very wet it also could affect the results.
The samples are sent to the UMASS Amherst soil lab where they go through the process of testing for different nutrients and organic matter. Simple tests can be done from home to test pH, but a lab has better equipment and the current tech to dive deeper into the samples and give a better analysis.
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