What do we do?

Look a soil or compost sample through an optical microscope at maximum 400x magnification to determine what type of beneficial soil biology is present, i.e. are there any beneficial protozoa, nematodes and fungi in there.

Two types of assays:

‘What do we have here’, the quick, qualitative assay. ‘What do we have here’ Just looks at what kind of biology, if at all, is present in the soil. Are the main groups of the soil food web present? Which are missing? This gives you a good general indicator for biological soil health and general baseline.

‘Biomass and fungi/bacteria ratio’, the complete, quantitative assay. Determine not just what kind of soil microbes are present but also the biomass based on the samples provided. Knowing the quantities of bacteria, fungi, and nematodes, as well as some basic classifications gives growers more detailed knowledge about the microbial health of the soil or compost and, most importantly its suitability for desired crops according to Dr Elaine Ingham’s Soil Food Web approach.
Typically, if the soil or compost is lacking diversity and quantities of microbes, we can advise growers how to adjust their soil and/or compost care in order to introduce and/or increase the desired microbes.

Cost

Quick: one off samples: £15

Complete: one off samples: £55

Please contact us for a quote for multiple samples to find the optimum solution for your requirements.

How to package a biological soil sample

How do I take a soil or compost sample?

How do I take a sample from a PASTURE or PADDOCK?

Choose an area you would like information on such as problematic areas or well growing patches. Take 3 to 5 samples using a tool such as an apple corer, pushing it firmly into the soil, but there is no need to force it into the ground.

Mix all samples from the same area in one plastic bag. Samples from areas with different plant growths should be in different bags. Avoid mixing samples from weedy patches with good crop areas for example.

How do I take a sample from an ARABLE field?

Choose an area you would like information on like problematic bald or weedy areas or well growing patches. Take 3 to 5 samples using a corer such as an apple corer per patch. When sampling around plants insert the corer halfway between the plant stem and drip-line.

Mix all samples from the same area in one plastic bag. Samples from areas with different plant growths should be in different bags. Avoid mixing samples from weedy patches with good crop areas for example.

How do I take a COMPOST sample?

Garden sized compost piles: take one teaspoon full from 5 different moist locations, at least 10cm deep, deeper is ok.  Large compost windrows: take one teaspoon from 20 different areas, at least 10 cm deep, make sure you take these from moist areas.

Mix all the samples together in one plastic sealable bag.

How do I package a sample?
Place the samples in a resealable plastic bag, making sure it is properly closed and will not leak. Treat the sample as a living being, so avoid direct sunlight on the bag which could quickly overheat and kill the microbes inside.
Leave as much air in the bag as you can when sealing for posting so microbes have enough oxygen during transport. 
Label each bag separately on the outside, especially when sending multiple samples. Paper notes inside a bag very quickly become food for microbes.
Place all the plastic bags of samples in a padded envelope for posting.
How should I label my samples?

Label each bag separately on the outside, especially when sending multiple samples. Paper notes inside a bag very quickly become food for microbes.

They should be labelled with:

  • Your name
  • Location of the sample
  • Date the samples were collected
What postal services should I use to send my samples?

Post as next day delivery service to
Silke Gebauer

Living Soil Matters

20 Godiva Road

Leominster

HR6 8UQ

Text or email us to let us know the sample(s) are on their way.

0780 34 34 776

silke.gebauer@gmail.com