soil testing for wide spectrum of poisons

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by joseph W Roca, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. joseph W Roca

    joseph W Roca Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    woodstock usa
    Hi!

    I would like to know that the soil i'm growing my vegetables in hasn't been contaminated with, well, pretty much anything poisonous, and my sense is that testing for such is a tall order. Can one acquire tools to do this for under $300? Could you direct me to a source, not merely for acqisition, but for genuine and deep education on the subject? I fear I'm asking alot, but thank you very much in advance.

    Desiring the Cleanest safest food for me and my kin.

    Joseph W. Roca
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I'm not sure about tools, but there should be some good labs in your area (or at least close to you) that can do the testing for you, definitely for less than $300. Jeez, if we have them in Ecuador (there are 15 in Quito alone) you should definitely have them in New York.

    Other than that you'd need to equip a full home laboratory, which will cost you much more than your stated amount. Try doing a websearch on soil testing; I know that some basic kits (pH, heavy metals etc.) are available commercially, but nothing like the broad-spectrum stuff you're looking for. The USDA might be able to help you out.

    I'm assuming you want to do the regular tests - heavy metals, pH, minerals (sodium, calcium, phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium) soil type and drainage, as well as broad-spectrum pesticide and herbicide, radioactivity, and obscure contaminants. It's better to find a lab, because you can train for years and years on soils and still not know everything (I have a friend who went into soils and soil testing as an undergrad and he's still working on his master's in the subject 10 years later.)
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,444
    Likes Received:
    512
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    First suggestion, look into the previous history of the land. If agricultural, then you won't need to test for anything other than one or two persistent herbicides and pesticides. If residential, unlikely to be any significant contamination except perhaps again a bit of pesticide and maybe the odd dump of motor oil. If industrial, then the risks of contamination are far higher.
     
  4. joseph W Roca

    joseph W Roca Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    woodstock usa
    Thank you both. It seems that soil testing takes some fairly serious investment, monetary or otherwise. I'll post any interesting experiences i have as I go through this development of the ability to test soil for myself, family and friends. Though i think it worth $300 to test my soil {i wonder how many samples}, i can't imagine most of my associates will readily invest the cash.

    Love your name. My email name was inspired by the musical instruments of Whoville. Veebelblat. Just imagine some insanely Goldbergian bicycle, horn, drum, guillotine type thing that seven people play.
     

Share This Page