Organic Fertilizers Testing Methodology

how to test fertilizers

When nurturing plants naturally on your farm or homestead, finding organic fertilizers that efficiently boost soil health and crop yields without chemical residues is essential.

Our testing protocols assess leading plant nutrients across several key performance criteria to identify products best suited for rural gardening needs.

Core Testing Categories:

1. Nutrient Levels

Analyze nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and micronutrient content using professional lab equipment and techniques for accurate characterization.

2. Environmental Impact

Evaluate runoff potential, groundwater contamination risks, and wildlife safety based on included ingredients and concentration.

3. Application Ease

Hands-on trials by gardeners assessing spreading, mixing, and spraying convenience of fertilizers in raised beds, containers, and in-ground plots.

4. Plant Uptake

Measure nutrient absorption rates, and plant-available periods by tracking electrical conductivity changes in treated soil over time.

5. Yield Impact

Relative productivity increases quantification for customer reference crops like tomatoes, leafy greens, and legumes based on lab and in-garden trials.

What We Didn’t Consider

Here are some additional factors that our current organic fertilizers testing methodology does not address:

Long-Term Soil Effects

While we analyze short-term nutrient availability, we do not complete multi-year trials to document the long-term soil structure and microbial diversity impacts from extended fertilizer application.

Perennial Crop Testing

Our plant trials focus on standard annual vegetable and herb varieties rather than tree fruits, berries, asparagus, and other perennial staples. Unique nutrient demands may vary.

Custom Blending

We test pre-formulated branded products rather than tailoring and assessing custom organic nutrient blends gardeners may mix themselves to dial into specific soil profiles and needs.

Cost Critiques

Our reviews focus exclusively on agronomic performance and plant yield results rather than conducting price per nutrient analyses or cost comparisons between brands.

Our process for scoring and ranking organic fertilizers

1. Establish Testing Benchmarks

In our protocols, plant nutrient availability, responsible sourcing, and application convenience carry the most weight over cost or brand considerations.

2. Evaluate Samples In-House

Our lab analyzes NPK levels, and soluble nutrient release rates over 45 days across various pH conditions using industry standards.

3. Garden Testing

Products are applied in raised vegetable beds and containers for 60 days with crop health, and yield quantified.

4. Scoring

Metrics and observations are compiled to grade products on weighted criteria like soil efficacy, sustainability, and usability.

5. Expert Review

Before finalizing scores, agronomists audit data validity, checking for anomalies between lab versus garden performance.

This scored benchmarking allows for transparent like-for-like comparisons to reveal the organic fertilizers delivering outstanding nutrition and value for self-sufficient rural producers.

By focusing on the metrics most directly influencing plant nutrition, ecosystem health, and gardening efficiency, our reviews identify the organic fertilizer products that deliver outstanding natural growing power for rural farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners alike. Please reach out with any questions!