The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Vegetables => Topic started by: Odin on October 26, 2011, 08:35:33 pm

Title: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Odin on October 26, 2011, 08:35:33 pm
Evening all.  :)

Busy carting a couple of trailer loads of five year old pig manure at the moment   :pig: , tipping at the side of a pile of horse :horse: and hen  :chook: manure with the intention of mixing it all with my five foot Howard rotorvator. Some of the horse manure does have some wood shavings but I'm not going to start picking it out. Its all going to have to cook together before been spread onto the land, probably early new year time. Have also got some cow  :cow: manure on straw to collect from another local farm. Do I keep it separate or mix that in as well ?
Any road, the point of this rant is ;- can anyone recommend a soil test kit ? Preferably something that does not have wires, batteries etc. But then does such a soil test kit exist ? Reason being, I am looking into getting some sort of status for these spuds that I am managing to sell and now realise the defination of "Organic".
At this moment I am not convinced that Organic status will help but could be a burden to my effort. However I like the sound of the Wholesome Food Association (WFA) as it more akin to small local producers. The big question both organisations ask is 'Crop Rotation'?  There is no point me stating that I am going to grow such & such a veg or crop if the soil is not suitable.
So the question is .... Soil Test Kits.... Recommendations or experience please ?  :-X
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Odin on October 27, 2011, 06:08:15 am
Now then Herdygirl.  :sheep:
Just been studying 'Animal Manure Charts'... and sheep manure ranks high on certain nutrients. Yes you have guessed my next question,  :bouquet:  not that I would expect you to run around your hill side with a shopping bag  :thumbsup: . Other than putting sheep on to the land, is there another way of getting sheep manure ?  :dunce:
Just ordered a book off Amazon about soil for crop growing. Please bear in mind that whilst I am used to composting at home for the vegetable patch and it all goes in, it gets cooked, turned and cooked before being dug back into the earth. This is on a larger scale using a tractor. So its a tonne pile of this manure or that manure, so when a farmer says 'take it', I goes and getz it.  :yum:
But just like the old saying ; "When anything is big it becomes a pile of the proverbial.... but when spread thinly around it works wonders".   :farmer:
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Fleecewife on October 27, 2011, 10:07:37 am
Getting and maintaining Organic status requires quite a lot of diligence ie time and attention to detail, plus a hefty fee which eats into your profits, and on a small scale probably negates any benefit from being organic.  We decided not to bother, although in fact we comply with the regs and go beyond them in many ways.  We are not selling large-scale crops though, just veg, eggs and hogget direct to the customer so they know our system.  WFA would be a better bet although we had problems making contact.

Hopefully the shavings will rot down further when you mix your piles - it should heat up with the turning.  We use a forklift to turn, then the rotavator to chop it all up ready to spread.

Really the only way to get sheep muck is from housing or field shelters.  We don't house our sheep but they do have field shelters which we keep well strawed.  The manure builds up into some pretty wonderful FYM - we moved an ark earlier this year and we haven't finished using the manure left behind yet - it's just for the veggie garden, fruit etc. and for various family members' gardens.
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Fleecewife on October 27, 2011, 11:01:01 am
I forgot to say that there is, or was, an Organic soil testing service which I think was run by Elm Farm Research in the south of England.  They send you some bags and instructions and you send off your samples to them.  The results, being geared to Organics, might be more appropriate to your needs than some of the others.  You should be able to find them on Google.

Ah yes - found it: www.efrc.com  (http://www.efrc.com) go to 'advice and education.  They say they no longer do the actual testing but can offer advice and interpretation of results.  Worth looking into anyway and there's lots of other stuff on the site.
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Rosemary on October 27, 2011, 02:12:44 pm
I came across one in the RBST's The Ark magazine

Dr Russell Young, Chartered Scientist, Member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists
email ryy@aber.ac.uk Tel 01974 831397

Analysis and advice on what to apply and when. Includes organic solutions.
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Odin on October 27, 2011, 10:00:33 pm
Thanks for the above advice.
Still reading the Elm Farm site as there is quite a lot on there. I also e-mailed Dr R Young who replied immediately  with helpful information, do's & don'ts of soil testing, a few questions and a price of 30.00 plus the dreaded (vat) per sample area. He requires 12 samples for an area. So I will be taking him up as I'm sure that I will get the answers that I am asking.
Meanwhile two trailer loads of potassium tipped in the dung heap (5 year old pig manure) to play with.
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Blonde on October 28, 2011, 08:26:55 am
Evening all.  :)

Busy carting a couple of trailer loads of five year old pig manure at the moment   :pig: , tipping at the side of a pile of horse :horse: and hen  :chook: manure with the intention of mixing it all with my five foot Howard rotorvator. Some of the horse manure does have some wood shavings but I'm not going to start picking it out. Its all going to have to cook together before been spread onto the land, probably early new year time. Have also got some cow  :cow: manure on straw to collect from another local farm. Do I keep it separate or mix that in as well ?
Any road, the point of this rant is ;- can anyone recommend a soil test kit ? Preferably something that does not have wires, batteries etc. But then does such a soil test kit exist ? Reason being, I am looking into getting some sort of status for these spuds that I am managing to sell and now realise the defination of "Organic".
At this moment I am not convinced that Organic status will help but could be a burden to my effort. However I like the sound of the Wholesome Food Association (WFA) as it more akin to small local producers. The big question both organisations ask is 'Crop Rotation'?  There is no point me stating that I am going to grow such & such a veg or crop if the soil is not suitable.
So the question is .... Soil Test Kits.... Recommendations or experience please ?  :-X
You can get them with the powder and the liquids that you use to see waht the Ph is of the soil..... you should find them in your garden centre for look on line....no wires, no batteries, no smart technology!!
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Plantoid on October 29, 2011, 01:28:35 am
If your having difficulties locating things  bung " soil test kit "  into eBay
There are some good ones at around 32 inc VAT , they should see you able to do many tests around your grounds.
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Odin on October 29, 2011, 07:46:49 pm
Theres a lot to choose from on there. I am going to need one but in the mean time I'm gonna give Doctor Russell a go, I've learnt just from reading his reply. Once I know what I'm doing, then I will purchase something.
Just imagine all the bar stool barristers sat around the bar discussing Soil Testing, then you will know what it is like for me in a boozer when they are all discussing MOT Testing ! Not that I frequent Public Houses, cant afford the time nor the money  :farmer:
Title: Re: Soil testing kit.
Post by: Blonde on November 26, 2011, 01:50:20 pm
Evening all.  :)

Busy carting a couple of trailer loads of five year old pig manure at the moment   :pig: , tipping at the side of a pile of horse :horse: and hen  :chook: manure with the intention of mixing it all with my five foot Howard rotorvator. Some of the horse manure does have some wood shavings but I'm not going to start picking it out. Its all going to have to cook together before been spread onto the land, probably early new year time. Have also got some cow  :cow: manure on straw to collect from another local farm. Do I keep it separate or mix that in as well ?
Any road, the point of this rant is ;- can anyone recommend a soil test kit ? Preferably something that does not have wires, batteries etc. But then does such a soil test kit exist ? Reason being, I am looking into getting some sort of status for these spuds that I am managing to sell and now realise the defination of "Organic".
At this moment I am not convinced that Organic status will help but could be a burden to my effort. However I like the sound of the Wholesome Food Association (WFA) as it more akin to small local producers. The big question both organisations ask is 'Crop Rotation'?  There is no point me stating that I am going to grow such & such a veg or crop if the soil is not suitable.
So the question is .... Soil Test Kits.... Recommendations or experience please ?  :-X
Pity you dont live next door...... you could run by pig yards in to tattie  patches on a yearly basis.   Pig poo every where.  There is a powered version and a stick with an electrode version.   Depends on what you want it to do.