TEST THE SOIL (SOIL ORGANISMS)
There are two ways you can test your soil for biology, field observations (do it yourself method) and laboratory analysis with a microscope. In this guide, I’ll outline how to collect soil samples for the laboratory analysis, for the field observations guide click here.
The laboratory analysis with a microscope is the only way to know with certainty what microbes are present (harmful or beneficial) and in what number. The soil testing for biology will provide you with information about the amount and diversity of organisms such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, beneficial nematodes, root-feeding nematodes, and mycorrhizal fungi.
Based on this microbial soil test you can better plan your soil management strategy; mulching, composting, applying compost tea, making compost extract…
The best time to take soil samples is in mid-spring, after significant soil warming, and in mid-fall during moist, but not excessively wet, conditions. When soil temperature is less than 4° C most soil organisms are dormant.