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Soil testing - Ottawa


phorbesie
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hey folks,

i want to get our soil tested before we eat all our garden veggies (Pb, pH, etc - we live next to a highway, hydro, very old buildings, etc)

has anyone done this recently and can point me to the right place? i am thinking carleton/exp. farm would be able to do this. any ideas on what this might cost?

Just thought I'd ask here first in case someone has some good advice! thanks.

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i think most home kits test only for pH as well as the three basic nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels (i.e., the N-P-K percentages found on most lawn and garden fertilizers). levels of all four would be crucial in how well things grow in the garden. you can get one of these combo kits at most large garden centers. but note that results may vary wildly within your garden itself - you'd likely need to take several samples in various spots.

to test for contaminants like lead, you would need a test kit specific for that. i know they sell lead test kits for use on items and paint, but i don't know how common kits for soil would be. re: hydro line effects ... i do not think there is a common test, per se, but my understanding is that the most issues involve effects on the bacteria in the soil rather than effects on seasonal plants themselves - unless you live directly under some really powerful lines. if that's the case, consider moving.

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if by 'old buildings' you are wondering about potential contamination over the years, like oil or other chemicals you would likely need to call in an environmental testing firm for that.

but be very careful. to take this to the extreme ... if it turns out there is some sort of soil contamination, you may be legally required to either clean it up immediately or at least disclose it whenever you go to sell the property. check with your title insurance policy when you bought the house as it may cover possible clean-up costs. which can easily exceed five or even six figures if it's bad.

btw, jalapenos, mmmmmm.

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i do it for a living, its remarkably expensive to do this testing ie. get a person to come out and collect your sample, but you can likely collect the sample yourself and take it to a laboratory.

Maxxam Analytics or Agat perform the tests in a lab setting, they might be in the yellow pages.

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i do it for a living, its remarkably expensive to do this testing

I did this for a month when I was locked-out of work at the CBC. My buddy's company (Profile Drilling) does core samples. Good workout working one of those drilling rigs ;) We were pulling up samples from industrial/commercial sites (needed for transferring ownership). Amazing how much shit/pollution is down there.

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i do it for a living' date=' its remarkably expensive to do this testing [/quote']

We were pulling up samples from industrial/commercial sites (needed for transferring ownership). Amazing how much shit/pollution is down there.

Amazing indeed, I don't work for a drilling company, but i do work with them (sure looks like a work out ;) ), collecting and profiling the samples.

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Sorry I'm late!

Home Hardware does indeed sell soil testing kits; but they only check for pH, Nitrogen, Potassium and Potash. Here are a couple of SKU's:

5059-250

and

5059-198

you can buy the hype on pressure treated hydro poles though, good 'ol creosote.

Pressure treating and creosote are definitely different things. Creosote usually means coal tar creosote. Up until 2004, the common treatment in "pressure treated" was CCA, Chromium Copper Arsenate, which contained two bad elements, Chromium and everybody's favorite chemical, Arsenic. After Dec. 31, 2003 the industry voluntarily switched to a different Copper based pesticide which is considered much safer.

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Let the record show I peed in the turlet each time last Saturday night despite my passive aggressive objections.

actually.....

from: The Current for July 10, 2009

Part 2: Peak Phosphourus

It's gardening season again ... Which means there are at least a few of you out there agonizing over the appropriate level of phosphorous for your tomatoes. And it turns out that simple act is a microcosm of a crucial dilemma for the world's food supply...

...there are those who worry that we simply won't be able to feed ourselves unless we can find alternate sources of phosphorous. In fact, the phrase "peak phosphorous" is now being used in much the same way that some people talk about "peak oil."

And for those of you who aren't gardeners, we've asked Jim Hole to explain exactly why phosphorous is so important when it comes to making things grow. He's a gardening guru on CBC Radio. And he's also the co-owner of Hole's Greenhouses and Gardens in St. Albert, Alberta."

...according to this dude, we're supposed to pee on our gardens!! So there, Heather, if your soil testing reveals low levels of phosphorus, you have a "built-in" solution!! (and by solution, of course, I mean the 1:5 urine/water ratio he recommends!!) :):)

listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090710.html

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