Planning to plant soon? Here is something you need to learn about soil sampling and testing. Sampling can be done any time, but you should test your soil as early as possible prior to transplanting to give yourself ample time to amend the soil for pH, Phosphorus and Potassium if needed. Testing your soil is the best way to evaluate the fertility status of your field or high tunnel before planting.
A soil test is useful in the diagnosis of plant culture problems, and it is also an important tool in improving the soil nutritional balance. Soil tests will also save you money and energy by applying only the amount of fertilizer needed by the plants. The most common soil test performed is soil pH, which is a measure of soil acidity. Soil pH is an important factor in plant growth because it affects nutrient availability to the plants. When pH is maintained at the proper level for a given plant, nutrients are at maximum availability. Most plants prefer a soil pH between 6.0 – 7.0, except for some acid loving plants like blue berries and potatoes.
In Kenya, soil testing can cost you between Ksh 1500 ($15) and Ksh 5000 ($50) per sample of your soil.You will need to carefully do the soil sampling procedure so as to ensure you get the correct samples for accurate report. UjuziKilimo is saving you the hustle by providing a technology that enables you to perform soil testing at the convenience of your farm. Part of what our sensors test is your soil's pH, which is key to determining your soil acidity levels and enabling you to manage your fertilizer application well.
A balanced soil pH will allow your plants to take up the nutrients from the fertilizers you apply. Acidic soils make the nutrients un-available. If your soil is acidic, adding more fertilizer to your farm will not yield because plants will be starved of these nutrients as a result of the low pH. The remedy to this problem is to add agricultural lime to your soil before the planting. Agricultural lime helps in raising the pH to levels that allow your crops to take up nutrients. This saves you on the cost of fertilizers since no wastage occurs and plants are able to efficiently take up the available nutrients in the soil. Keep following this blog to learn how to manage your soils using Ujuzi sensors.
Nutrient recommendations are provided on soil test reports. Additional help is provided to refine nutrient recommendations for specific crop, landscape, and garden situations, and to aid in correcting other problems diagnosed with a soil test. Proper recommendation will entail a soil correction plan with advice on the quantities and rations of NPK fertilizers, or a combination of manure and agricultural lime. Getting a good report is however the first step to a good harvest. You will need to get advice on other aspects of crop production especially when it comes to crop management like pest and disease control.