Quoting:The labs in this list are organized in two broad categories:
1. those that emphasize a biological assessment, and
2. those that emphasize mineral content and fertilizer recommendations
The first category focuses on tests for biological parameters and associated indicators such as soil organic matter and microbial activity. Farmers using organic production methods employ a range of biological farming practices to achieve a healthy, productive soil—e.g., crop rotations, cover crops and green manures, composts, minimally processed rock minerals, and in some instances, microbial inoculants. Accordingly, they need data that indicate soil biological health, not just mineral composition. They also need to understand how they can adjust agronomic practices to improve organic matter, soil tilth, microbial diversity, and nutrient mineralization and how this will affect their farm production.
The second category emphasizes mineral availability and mineral balances in the soil. The labs listed in this category provide organic fertilizer recommendations, conduct modified lab tests considered special or unique, or provide recommendations based on alternative fertility concepts developed by agricultural advisors like William Albrecht, Carey Reams, Rudy Ozolins, and Arden Andersen.
What does BRIX stand for, or come from? Its meaning is clear from Darius' excellent article - I just want to know where the word comes from. I guess it's part of my mental filing system (assuming I have one)?
The Brix scale was originally derived when Adolph Brix recalculated Balling's scale to a reference temperature of 15.5°C. The Brix scale was subsequently recalculated again, and now uses a reference temperature of 20°C. Brix can be approximated as 261.3*(1 - 1/g), where g is the specific gravity of the solution at 20°C.
(The Balling scale was developed by German chemist Karl Balling. It refers to the concentration of a dissolved solids (mostly sucrose), as the weight percentage sucrose at 17.5°C.)
So it comes from someone's name - that helps! Thanks. I get the concentration of solids and sucrose part, that made complete sense from your article, together with the image of watery bland store cantaloupe compared to yummy, sweet and flavorful organically homegrown ones!!! Unfortunately, not yet by me, but give me another few years.
I look for one that does a weak acid test or mild soil extraction and mentions something about William Albrecht, Carey Reams or high brix growing.
A mild/weak acid soil tests are supposed to approximate the extracting ability of plant root extrudates and thus show what is actually available to your plant versus just present in the soil but unavailable to the plant.
I've looked at the web sites for about six labs. They all measure CEC as well, and have sections talking about building up biological activity in the soil. The labs that advertise in AcresUSA usually seem to follow these methods of soil testing.
Talking to the EM rep here, it seems that the CIS method VERY closely tries to achieve the same results as using EM or AEM in the soil (or the Bokashi juice)... Do you not use EM with your gardening? Do you integrate the two? If the latter...how do you integrate the two...?????
LOL! Aloha, of course I use EM & Bokashi in my gardening!!!
I use the soil test to help me determine what nutrients I need to add to the soil and then work with the refratometer and plant sap pH to figure out what the plant needs. Sometime I'm more successful than others.
AlohaHoya - I'm just getting started with both a greenhouse and EM, so pardon me if I ask what may be a stupid question. . . Are you spraying the EM on all the plants in your greenhouse, in the greenhouse itself (walls, floors, etc) or, possibly BOTH?? Thanks, Samantha
Not at all stupid, Samantha... I activate the EM with Molassas at about 1:1:1000 and let it sit for 12 hours...then I spray the plants. It really helps keep the 'nasties' down...the beneficial bacteria fight the bad ones... It is part of my regimen keeping fungi and pathogens down... I also add Bokashi juice to my water when I fertilize...the plants seem to really benefit.
Thanks, Aloha - I am preparing my plants to go into the greenhouse this weekend, so in addition to the soapy water treatment to kill bugs, I'll do the EM treatment - just got my molasses this wee, & will make my batch up today! Which element in your dilution is the 1000 - the water? Thanks for the tips! Samantha