It all starts with the soil. Whether you’re gardening 10 sq ft or farming thousands of acres, smart growers know that soil tests pay for themselves in increased productivity and targeted fertilizing made possible by a specific diagnosis of the soil’s strengths and weaknesses. Whether you send in a soil sample for professional lab soil testing, buy a DIY soil test kit, or make use of a specialized meter, good growing starts with good soil.
Field test tools take full advantage of some of the best science out there. The general principle of most of these tools and test kits is to measure particular properties of a solution. Solutions are made by combining soil, fertilizer, organics (leaves, composts, etc.) with distilled water. Once the properties of your soil and plants are known you will have new information about the health, fertility, maturity and activity of your crops and soil. The glossary below will help you to understand the basics of what these devices can measure and how that knowledge gives you a greener thumb.