I've written a lot here about the importance of using soil testing labs in order to determine which organic fertilizers to use.
Otherwise, you're stabbing in the dark. But I haven't actually told you which testing lab I use.
While it may be tempting to drive a sample over to your local soil lab, it's probably not the best option. Right now, most soil testing labs aren’t doing a great job.
They’re still stuck in the same chemical mindset of soil management that the conventional agriculture colleges are teaching.
We just don’t speak the same language:
I could go on, but enough ranting, right? Let's get to the good stuff.
I've been strongly influenced by the testing methods developed by Dr. William A. Albrecht and Dr. Carey Reams.
Consequently, I only use soil labs that are using at least one (if not both) of these methods, or that have at least learned and acknowledged the methods, even if they decide to modify them for good reasons.
If the folks running a soil lab have never heard of these methods, I'm assuming they aren't doing their research - that they're coming from a chemical agriculture paradigm and haven't learned anything other than they were taught.
So I want labs that do at least base saturation testing, possibly Lamotte testing, and further, labs that make biological or organic recommendations first.
"Biological" in this context means that they may suggest certain synthetic fertilizers in order to balance the system and create a healthy, sustainable soil environment, but not the harmful kinds of fertilizers being commonly used today such as potassium chloride and triplesuperphosphate.
Below are my two favorite labs. These labs are doing the kind of tests that I believe are most useful. Current prices are $50-$75, plus you have to ship 2 cups of soil there, but it's worth it.
You can use another soil lab, just make sure they do Albrecht base saturation testing and preferably Reams/Lamotte testing.
Any questions about soil testing labs? Let me know below.
And if you've looked at the Academy before and didn't want to commit to such an extensive course, you may want to check out my small course that just covers How To Test Soil And How To Fertilize.