What is healthy soil? Experts offer many indicators that are excellent guides. But you can decide the parameters that suit your situation yourself. You may be looking for a seamless transition between your subsoil and your topsoil, loads of worms, nutritional value of your crops, the water holding capacity, pH, fungal dominance, bacterial dominance, depth of the root zone, NPK availability (arguably only relevant in the 1mm of soil closest to the root zone) etc etc. It depends on the kind of soil you start with. Soil tests are often thought of as analytical reports from a lab. To really get to know your soil - all you need is a shovel. Visual Soil Assessment - by Graham Shepherd is an excellent field guide for DIY soil monitoring. His book are available online to download and to read. www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/soil/vsa/fieldguide.aspIt Good condition Moderate condition Poor condition
Soil contains significant proportions of both coarse firm clods and friable fine aggregates
Good distribution of friable finer aggregates with no significant clodding.
Soil dominated by extremely coarse, very firm clods with very few finer aggregates
Other soil monitoring tools..The Penetrometer Soil penetrometers measure the resistance it takes to push the shaft of the probe into the soil.
The Refractometer or Brix meterThis instrument measures
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