The Oregon State University Extension Service has created a new tool that helps gardeners and farmers in the Willamette Valley assess their soil quality. And best of all, it’s free. The Soil Quality Card can be downloaded from www.tinyurl.com/goodsoil. PDF copies are free; physical sets of 25 can be ordered for $8 each.
According to its creators, the card asks simple questions about soil conditions, resulting in a more thorough analysis of the soil than traditional soil nutrient tests. “The Soil Quality Card measures all three aspects of soil fertility – chemical, biological and physical,” extension agent Dan McGrath said. “It condenses years of experience and education into a concise primer on soil quality for the Willamette Valley.”
A companion Soil Quality Card Guide helps users interpret results and explains the importance of each soil quality indicator. It also gives instructions on how to do the tests, and outlines more in-depth tests that can be done with simple household materials. The guide can be ordered for $3 per copy at www.tinyurl.com/soilguide.