Canadian Soil Testing

freyja5(8a (Surrey, BC, Canada))August 26, 2009

Does anyone know if there is somewhere in Canada that does a similar soil test/similar price as the cooperative extensions in the US? I've heard (maybe incorrectly?) that soil tests in the US are around $15 or so. In Canada, I've heard the same kind of test (at private labs) runs around $65 or more, and one lab in AB advertises $300 for a full biological and chemical test (not sure if that's even needed, but I really want to know the amount of OM in my soil).

I'm just not sure what I should be looking for, who I should be asking, etc. Agriculture Canada seems to be more geared to farming and agriculture, and not a little ol' homeowner wondering about their lawn soil conditions.

Any ideas? Thanks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

AgCanada does not do basic soil testing, so I'm told, but a web search should provide information on soil test labs you ould use. A simple set of tests you can do is listed below.
1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer you soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:46AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Increasing height of celebration bermuda
Our lawn was sodded with bermuda celebration a bit...
trussin.22
PLEASE HELP - identify this weed
Hello all, I live in North Texas and just started organic...
steelerdan
High % OM & Compaction/Hydrotropic
My front & back lawn have been 100% organic for...
sc77
Is It to Late in the to Apply Organic Fertilizers in Zone 5b
The condition of my lawn: The lawn is thick, but lacks...
claga
Best Organic Weed Control Ideas?
Hello, I am doing a project in which the objective...
tigger033
Sponsored Products
Canadian Fir Grande Wrapped 4-foot Tree with 100 Clear Lights
Overstock.com
42-Inch Gyro Wet Indoor/Outdoor Oil Rubbed Bronze Ceiling Fan
$809.95 | Bellacor
Artemis Liquid Nickel 58-Inch Ceiling Fan
Bellacor
Astoria Chrome Three-Light Bath Fixture
$104.50 | Bellacor
Acero 52-Inch Ceiling Fan
$439.95 | Bellacor
6-foot Canadian Fir Grande Wrapped Tree with 200 Multicolor Lights
Overstock.com
Castor Design | Deadstock Catherine Table Light
$842.00 | YLighting
Dutailier Ultramotion Beige Microfiber Glider Ottoman
Overstock.com
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™