The Soil Test Dilemma – Road to Organics

NOFA and all the organic organizations recommend soil testing as the first step and virtually every year thereafter. I understand the rationale. The powers that be want to create a disciplined approach. And they want to raise awareness about the very real dangers of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides to human DNA and of course to wild life.

So let’s sign up for common sense 101. Most everybody has sadly used at least synthetic fertilizers, if not the whole gamut of deadly horrors. Clearly your section of the earth is, in a word, dead. Testing at this point is costly. You know nothing good is going on. The better approach is to lime, (according to bag directions), aerate the lawn, add bone meal, and then add peat moss and compost to everything – gardens and lawn. Then follow the “lawn program”. Fish hydrosylate and Quantum your gardens 3 times over the year.

Now you’re ready to do soil testing. Make sure your receptacles are clean (and by the way glass is best). Take soil samples from different places – i.e. 6 samples from 6 different parts of the front yard. Combine them in a labeled jar and send them off. Do complete soil work; minerals, toxins, metals etc, if you still find that after one year you do not have any worms – you may have to call in a professional – but start with the soil test.

Send the soil to:

Cornell Soil Health Assessment
1003 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: (607)-255-1706


Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory
PO Box 902
Milltown, NJ 08850
Phone: (732)-932-9295