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Do-It-Yourself Soil and Water Tests

 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I thought this would be an interesting topic to bring up. How many and what types of soil tests can be done at home with as little supplies as possible? Please list as many things that you can find. Here is what I've found so far:

Soil Texture By Feel can be performed by following a flow chart:

Vinegar and baking soda can be used to identify if a soil is acidic or alkaline.
SciGuys has a nice video about using red cabbage as a pH indicator:


Test Water and Soil for salinity: salt water conducts electricity very well, but pure H2O is a poor conductor of electricity. One simple idea would be to take a battery and a light bulb and use the water as a medium to connect the two. How well the lightbulb lights up will determine how salty the water is. Any types of extensions to the simple circuit could be added to distance the user from the water to add more safety. Here's a quick demonstration of the concept by Michael Gane:
 
Sam Boisseau
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Location: PNW, British Columbia
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You might enjoy these:



 
Dave Burton
pollinator
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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What a wonderful and informative video Sam! Thank you!
For visual assessment of nutrient deficiencies, I found Plant Physiology and two neat images online:


This image shows how pH can affect nutrient absorption:
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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One of the simplest ways to test your soil is to taste it. Acidic soil fizz in your mouth, neutral ones taste like organic matter, and alkaline soils stick to your tongue.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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