What We Do
We perform assessments on soil, compost, compost extracts and/or teas using a microscope to estimate the quantity and types of microorganisms, including:
- Nematodes (distinguishing bacterial-feeding, fungal-feeding, predatory and root-feeding)
- Protozoa (flagellates, amoebas, and ciliates)
- Bacteria (aerobic, anaerobic, pathogenic)
- Fungal hyphae (beneficial & detrimental)
For each sample, you will receive a detailed report with this information, along with recommended ranges for the type of plants you want to grow. The data from the assessments will come to you in a table, as an approximation of organisms per gram of soil. Here’s a SampleReport.
The assessment also includes a few video and/or still images of microbial life in your sample so you can see what’s in your soil, too! You can use these to promote your business, share on social media, or use for educational purposes.
What might you assess and when?
If you’re a farmer/ grower:
- Before and after adding amendments or making any changes to a field to document the quantity and diversity of microbes in your soil (i.e. “before” and “after” snapshots)
- To assess inputs/ products you want to add to your soil (e.g. compost teas/ extracts)
- To track positive or negative effects on the biology as you make changes
- When you observe a problem with a crop
- To fine tune additions to your soil based on the Fungal: Bacteria (F:B) ratio
If you sell soil, compost, extracts and/or teas that have biology in them:
- To ensure your product has sufficient quantity and diversity of beneficial microbes with no detrimental organisms before you sell it (quality control)
- When you suspect a problem with your product
- To check the quality of ingredients used to make your product
How It Works
Contact us to schedule an assessment(s) before collecting sample(s) to ensure we are ready to assess your sample(s) upon receipt. Then, you can drop off a sample, we might be able to pick it up, or following appropriate instructions, you can mail it.
Follow the instructions in this Sample Collection Protocol.
Download and complete the Lab_Assessment_Order_Form.
The cost is $90 per assessment, payable by Paypal, Venmo, or credit card when the assessments are completed. If you have 5 or more assessments at a time or would like to have ongoing assessments performed, please contact us to arrange a package plan.
*If you would like to drop off your sample(s) at Harlequin’s Gardens in north Boulder, please click here to get the details and schedule.