Have you been putting a lot of effort into your farm, but the hemp plants are not doing well? One of the main causes of low production is poor soil health, and you can use soil analysis to improve it. Using soil testing kits allows you to understand the specific deficiencies of the soil and ultimately craft the right fertility management program.
At this point, some farmers might ask, “How do you use a soil testing kit?” To help you get it right with soil testing kits, here is a comprehensive guide. We will also tell you why more farmers prefer using a third-party laboratory than testing the soil with a kit.
What is a Soil Testing Kit?
Every plant requires specific nutrients to thrive. Soil testing kits are used to assess the level of nutrients on the soil to determine the additives that are required for higher production. Although soil testing kits on the market might appear a little different, they all work the same way. In each kit, you will find chemical reaction capsules, soil samples, distilled water, and test tubes for testing the soil. Here are the common types of soil test kits.
- Mail-In Kits: These kits are pretty simple to use because all you need to do is collect the samples, secure them, and send to a lab for testing.
- Professional Chemical Kits: These kits come with chemical reagents and guides with instructions on how to collect soil samples and test them.
- Digital Meters: These kits are pretty easy to use and get results because you only have to stick them unto the ground and then check the reading on the LCD screen. They are mainly used for checking soil pH and water levels.
How to Use a Soil Test Kit
If you want to do a soil analysis on your own, start by getting a professional soil testing kit from a good manufacturer. Besides, you will need a notebook, distilled water, and several clean jars. Then, follow these steps:
- Pick Your Soil Sample
Go to your farm and pick a représentative soil sample. This implies that if you have a large farm, consider dividing it into several sections and picking a sample from each.
- Create a Soil-Water Mixture
Using the sample you have collected, prepare a soil-water mixture so that the ration is five parts water and one part soil. Shake the mixture well and allow it to settle for 24 hours.
- Check the pH Levels
Pour some soil sample on one of the test tubes, add the powder on the green capsules, and then distilled water. Shake the mixture and allow it to settle. Note the color changes and compare with the pH chart that came with the kit to determine the pH of the soil.
- Test Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous
To test these nutrients on your soil, fill one of the tubes with the soil-water mixture that you prepared earlier. Then, add the powder from the capsule, shake well, and allow it to settle. Finally, use the resultant color to establish phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium levels by comparing the color with the nutrients color chart. The chart will help you to determine whether the levels of the nutrients are high, low, or medium.
To get more accurate results of the nutrients in your soil, you should consider having the soil sample tested in an accredited laboratory, such as Sante laboratories. They not only have expert scientists but also use the latest technologies and can assist you to craft the right fertility management and hemp production optimization strategies.