Four DIY Soil Health Tests

Dirt Rich PodcastSarah Lindblom returned to our Dirt Rich podcast this month to share four soil health tests that you can do at home to gain insight on the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological function. These tests can be valuable to gardeners and farmers at any scale, and can be done using simple materials from your recycling bin:

  1. Infiltration test – simulates a 1 inch rain event, demonstrates soil structure and indicates biological activity
  2. Slake test – simulates an extreme rain event, demonstrates soil structure and indicates biological activity
  3. Earthworm test – indicates soil biological activity
  4. pH test – helps you track soil acidity

Directions for each of these tests and a “Soil Health Report Card” to help you track your results are available on the SFA website. See Sarah demonstrate the tests in this video for a visual walkthrough (also below).

Sarah also gives an overview of how the physical, chemical, and biological components of soil health and function are interconnected, and briefly discusses approaching soil health using systems thinking. The Venn diagram graphic she uses to illustrate is here.

Sarah Lindblom operates Solar Fresh Produce in Buffalo, MN and is entering her eighth growing season. She has run a CSA and a farm store and primarily grows produce, herbs, flowers, and raises bees and chickens. She is also the president of the Crow River Chapter of SFA.

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