Just a Reminder...it's Soil Sampling Season!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

 Soil testing is a great way to understand the current nutritional status of your production space. When taken properly, the sample will give information on which nutrients are already present in the soil, the degree of nutrient availability (through CEC and pH values) and make suggestions on lime applications where needed. This information can then be used to determine the best inputs for efficient and economical crop production in the upcoming year. 

Soil sampling can be done any time of year, however most producers opt to take them in the fall immediately following harvest. The results generated through soil analysis can vary depending on the time of year, but they typically don't change a lot from the fall to the following spring. This timing also allows for a larger window to develop the fertility plan for the following season, and allows slow-acting amendments such as lime, and elemental sulfur to work their magic before the next batch of plants move in. Whichever time of year you chose to soil sample though, it should remain consistent over the years. Outdoor crops see a recommended interval of testing every 2-3 years, but protected soils (tunnels, greenhouses, etc.) should be tested on a yearly basis as it is more susceptible to big changes from year to year compared to a field soil. 

Unsure of what test you should be submitting? The field soil test is suitable for all soils, including those contained in tunnel/protected spaces. If you are a hydroponic producer, with crops grown in containers or grow bags containing soilless substrate (Ex. Sunshine mix, Promix etc), or are looking to get your potting mix tested for nutritional breakdown, then you are looking for the greenhouse soil paste analysis, listed as G1P on the general submission form for Nova Scotia's lab. 

For information on how to take a soil test, check out Perennia's latest guideline here

Once we have our soil test, what do all these values mean?

There are a handful of resources available to you to help interpret your soil results:

As always, if you have any questions regarding your soil test, feel free to reach out to your commodity specialist for further discussion.

Happy sampling folks!