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Tool Review: Timberleaf Soil Testing
By Ecology Action Staff

Test Your Soil for Improved Productivity!
(photo: Matt Drewno)

EA has used Timberleaf services since the 1980s and has found the basic and trace mineral test combination to be helpful in identifying what is needed in the soil. Applying the recommendations properly can save a garden years in the building up of the soil’s fertility.

It is not uncommon for soils to be deficient in one or more micronutrients (trace minerals), such as boron, iron, or zinc. Trace mineral deficiencies can restrict the availability to plants of certain major nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, even when a sufficient supply of those nutrients is present in the soil. Excessive amounts of certain trace minerals may indicate the presence of heavy metals.

Timberleaf’s soil testing combination considers the whole-plant environment by testing over 20 soil elements and aspects, and the cultivation practices used in a specific garden or mini-farm. In turn, gardeners and mini-farmers have a clearer idea what their soil needs to become nourishing and resilient, no matter what soil type they have or where they are located.

A soil test analyzes numerous areas of the soil and should consider cultivation practices. In addition, other factors affecting plant growth such as organic matter, soil oxygen, and soil moisture are reviewed.

After testing, a report is provided, with individual nitrogen and phosphorous recommendations tailored to the crops and plants identified during testing. It is suggested that mini-farmers should have a trace mineral test annually and gardeners every three to five years. For more information, visit:


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