A Mini DIY Soil Test

perfect beetroot sowing soil - friable and lush

Use this quick, simple test before planting or sowing, to check that the soil you wish to plant into, is up to the task.

Based on your assessment, you may well change your planting plan. Lets say you were planning to plant pumpkin, but your test reveals that the soil’s dry and musty. Because pumpkin is a hungry feeder, you’ll either need to amend the soil, ie: rehydrate it first, then pile on loads of compost, OR you could find a more nourishing spot that only needs a small amount of compost added.

The dry musty soil you originally planned on planting into, would better suit growing a light feeder, like beans or salads where only a small amount of compost is needed, or – if you have room, give it a rest + repair by sowing a greencrop or building an easy peasy, restorative compost on the spot.

Let your soil lead the way in all your planting and sowing decisions. You’ll use heaps less compost, your crops will flourish and you’ll keep fertility steady.

How to do a mini DIY soil test

sniff the soil

This mini DIY soil test, is exactly the same as your test for moisture + a few add on’s.

Scoop up a handful of soil.

  • Take a sniff, smell tells you alot. Sour means it lacks air and life, musty means you’ve an absence of organic matter + life, earthy and good = good growing!
  • Look for worms and other critters, then return them to the garden.
  • Squeeze the soil in your hand. Then open your hand out with a slight shake. Good growing soil will loosely stick together in a few clumps with a few crumbs that fall away. Poor growing soil will either slip through your fingers with nothing much sticking together or will stay moulded, retaining the shape of your fingers.

Should your soil be under par anyway, add homemade compost or vermicastings and saturate with a biological feed before planting.

Soil is so forgiving, given the right prompts it repairs beautifully. Keep building it in tandem with creating your awesome garden set up, and one fine day – it’ll all come together.