Archive for March, 2012

A simple test for reactive soil organic matter.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Of all the factors that can be measured in soil, fresh, reactive or labile organic matter is one of the more important. Its a tool that can be used to monitor seasonal changes that depend on strategies like cover crops, composting and residue retention. This test can be valuable for home gardens, horticulture, pastures or cropping.

A test for soil organic matter that shows the change in colour of a potassium permanganate solution is useful for quick comparisons. I’ve been working on an improved method that uses a relatively inexpensive colorimeter. Also there’s a spreadsheet calculator that handles all the necessary calculations even for soils with a wide range of organic matter content.

Soil organic matter is essential for good growth and flowering in vegetable gardens.

Soil organic matter is essential for good growth and flowering in vegetable gardens.

A description of the method can be found at SOM method. The calculations are in a Excel spreadsheet here SOM calculations.

As yet there is no kit available but if anyone wants help getting setup please let me know.