Category Archive: Basics

A Training Manual For Soil Analysis Interpretation in Northern California


A Masters Thesis by Gregg A. Young

Understanding Soil Testing

From A&L Canada, a soil test lab:

Very basic soil science

A fun and informative website from a Smithsonian exhibit on soils.

What is nutrient dense food?

Nutrient dense food is food that is packed with vitamins and minerals, flavor and vitality.  It’s the sort of food you just can’t stop eating because your body just knows that it needs it.  Commercial agriculture is driven by the need to make a profit and has given up flavor and nutrition at its expense.  As gardeners we are free to grow the best food possible, in order to deeply nurture our bodies and hearts.


What are soil minerals?

Soil minerals are the elements that are necessary for plant growth, along with nitrogen.   Besides air, water and soil life, these elements must be present in varying amounts in order for plants to be able to thrive.  They are classified by their elemental electrical charge as cations or anions.  The cations are: Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Potassium (K), Sodium (Na), The anions are: Phosphorus (P), Sulfur (S), The micronutrients are: Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn) and Molybdenum (Mo).

Why analyze your soil?

Plants and soil life need a balanced diet of minerals, water and air.  While compost and organic matter can help to build soil life, they cannot provide all the necessary minerals that plants need unless they are present in the soil.  A soil test can quantify the mineral content of the soil and a trained soil analyst can take the test results and turn them into specific fertilizer recommendations.

"Florina" flint corn