Soil analysis

Pile of envelopes full of soil

Once you have signed up for the project you will get sent a kit, including borage seeds, pH meter, cotton strip and pre-paid envelopes that you can send samples of soil to the Royal Agricultural University’s soil science laboratories.

Here, the soil is weighed and some chemistry components are tested, including pH, organic matter content, total carbon, total nitrogen and some micronutrients/heavy metals.

To measure soil’s organic matter percentage, the soil is first oven dried at 105C for 12 hours. Afterwards, it is weighed again and then placed into ceramic crucibles and combusted in a muffle furnace at 550C for 4 hours.

Soil is weighed and oven dried before it is milled.

Once soil has been milled it is weighed into small tin capsules so that we can measure the total carbon and nitrogen content.

These initial soil samples are useful as they provide a baseline measurement of the soil that is being used. How this soil changes over time as plants are actively growing in it will vary depending on plant growth, biological activity and climate.

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