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Testing the quality of the soil

Good soil health on the cards

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A coathanger and a piece of fencing wire are among the tools used in this clever soil testing kit, reports SIMON WEBSTER.

How good is your soil? Are your attempts to improve it working? Has it got more earthworms than this time last year? More or less groundcover? Better or worse structure?


One way to keep track is to use the ingenious Soil Health Card, developed by farmers, agriculture scientists and TAFE teachers in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, but useful in all climates.


By using simple homemade tools, such as penetrometer (a piece of fencing wire), an infiltrometer ring (a piece of PVC pipe) and a wire quadrant (a coathanger), along with a pH kit, a spade, a jar and a few other items, farmers and gardeners can conduct a fairly thorough analysis of their soil.


You conduct the tests, write down your scores on your Soil Health Card, and keep it as a record that can be referred back to.


Check it out here.


Pic shows TAFE lecturer and president of the Tweed Richmond Organic Producers Organisation, Dave Forrest, using an infiltrometer ring. Photo: SIMON WEBSTER