Phil: Hey guys this is Phil from smilinggardener.com,
if you havenÕt checked out my free online organic gardening course, you can do that
right on the home page of smilinggardener.com. Today I am talking about soils again, what
I am going to do is get into a little bit of a home soil testing process, you can easily
do and donÕt worry I know you guys want to learn about how to control pests and get rid
of weeds and how to grow really delicious tomatoes and how to get you know into fertilizing
and which fertilizers to use and I am really excited to teach all that stuff I love talking
about that stuff but the thing is here is the thing; hey, are you filming this out of
order, when we start with the soil we are actually working on all of that stuff already.
So I am already teaching you that when we have really good healthy soil, we have healthy
plants. We donÕt have pest problems, we have delicious tomatoes and other plants and nutritious
plants. So starting with the soil really takes care of any kind of problems you might encounter
and it really addresses to love the goals you may have such as growing food. So thatÕs
why start there and the cool thing is within a few years you are going to be growing this
really healthy food, it is really beautiful flowers and I say a few years because it actually
does take time to get the soil to a level of nutrition that you can really sure, you
going to have hardly any pest problems, you can be more sure, you are going to have higher
nutrition in your food. It doesnÕt mean this year wouldnÕt be good.
You can still have a great success in your first and second season, maybe second season
but as you get further and further thatÕs when it really starts to click and it starts
with this hole I have dug right here. Now this is a simple process, we are going to
get into more detailed soil testing through a lab eventually but this is a simple thing
that you can do in less than half an hour and I even do it every year to just to see
how I am doing so what you do is you dig a hole, you dig a hole thatÕs about a foot
wide and long and deep and you start to look into that hole and you figure a few things
out about your soil. The first thing I look at is how easy was
it to dig and you want to keep notes on all of these stuff because one of the main reasons
we do is just to see how we progress year to year. Last year when I dug in here, it
was reasonably difficult to dig. ItÕs a pretty heavy clay soil, it came out in big clumps
but last year I double dug this which I am going to show you eventually and I 2:21 melted
it which I am going to show you eventually as well and so digging this year took about
one minute to dig this hole. I put it in here into a wheelbarrow, you can put onto a trapper
garbage bag, you want to look at it and see how dark the soil is, here this has pretty
nice organic matter because I have mended quite a lot last year but when I started it
was a much lighter color, now itÕs pretty dark.
I guess you can see because I am kind of stranded in the shadows and you know what, itÕs going
to a get a lot darker over the years, if it will really light page color, if I knew I
had sand; then I can kind of keep track as am mending it with organic matter, if I am
improving that. You know if were like a grey color I may just be a little concerned about
if itÕs maybe a really heavy clay again I am going to be mending it, so I am just trying
to pay attention. I also put it in here and I look at the soil in the wheelbarrow. One
thing I do is I kind of drop it in there and clumps and I see how some of those clumps
break a part, look at how beautifully this has broken apart.
It still has nice kind of aggregates, itÕs not like sand but it also has a nice kind
of looseness to it. So it kind of clumps a little but those clumps fall apart very easily
thatÕs just because I have working on for a year but you know your year is the hardest
because thatÕs when you got to start doing some heavy work but eventually it becomes
like this and mine is doing really nice. Also I can do the ribbon test I showed you last
time which is taken a third of a cup and trying to squeeze it into a ball and into a ribbon
to see if I have clay or sand, that tells me a lot as talked about last time, oh and
there is another thing to look for, earthworms. So if you go through your square foot of soil
and you find ten earthworms and you are doing pretty good. I am happy to have ten earthworms.
I am really happy if I can find more like 30 earthworms which I am sure I could find
in there because of all the work I have been doing, another I like to look for and this
is especially if I do in a lawn which I did today but if you in a place where there is
roots. If you see how far down the roots go, you can keep track of that, if you see the
roots, kind of stop at a certain point and start going sideways, that probably means
you have a hard pan layers there and you might wanted the first year double dig through that
with a fork with a garden fork and also do some of mending when we get into the soil
testing stuff because we want the roots to be able to go much deeper than that, also
you can look to see if there are fine root here is on your roofs that indicate there
is plenty of oxygen in the soil or maybe if there is not a lot of fine root here, thatÕs
a pointing though lack of oxygen. There are a few things you can do right now.
If you have a question for me about how to improve your soil you can ask it down below
and I will get back to you. If you havenÕt signed up on my free online organic gardening
course, you can do that at smilinggardener.com. If you are on Facebook, you can like my page
there and we hang out there and my sister posts stuff there everyday too, she posts
a lot of cool stuff. On YouTube you can subscribe and I will see next time.
Home Soil Test – No Equipment Needed