Soils & Fertilizers

Soil

Soil is a natural body comprised of solids (minerals and organic matter), liquid, and gases that occurs on the land surface, occupies space, and is characterized by one or both of the following: horizons, or layers, that are distinguishable from the initial material as a result of additions, losses, transfers, and transformations of energy and matter or the ability to support rooted plants in a natural environment.

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  • Publications (Link)
    View 100+ publications about agriculture...
  • Laboratories Serving Oregon:  Soil, Water, Plant Tissue, and Feed Analysis (PDF)
    Revised May 2008. Before choosing a lab, call for current prices and procedures for mailing the sample.
  • Crop and Soil Science Department at OSU (Link)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service Soils Website (Link)
    NRCS, Helping People Understand Soils - Soils is part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, an effort of Federal and State agencies, universities, and professional societies to deliver science-based soil information.
  • Soil Testing -Soil testing is an important management practice on all farms, whether growing vegetables for fresh market or pasture for livestock. It’s nearly impossible to determine what a soil needs to be productive, without a soil analysis. There are many types of soil analyses available depending on what information you are seeking. The most commonly requested analysis is for nutrient content, though you may wish to know what organisms are working in your soil, if there are pesticide residues or determine the particle size analysis.
    A Guide to Collecting Soil Samples for Farms and Gardens (PDF)
    This publication is a simple guide on “how to take a soil sample”. Remember, the results of the soil test will only be as good as the soil sample taken. Be thorough, collecting a representative sample of the complete area to be tested. Check with the local Extension Service office to see if there is a soil probe available for loan.
    Soil Test Interpretation Guide (PDF)
    Soil tests results may look a little foreign! This guide will help sort out the key points. For further information about specific soil results, contact the local Extension Service office or a private consultant.
  • Home Gardener's Guide to Soils and Fertilizers (PDF)
  • Soil Health Fact Sheets/NRCS (Link)

Articles:

Fertilizer

“Fertilizer” and “plant food” are terms used to describe additives that increase soil’s fertility—its capability of producing abundant crops. Nutrients are substances providing nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life. Nutrients are what’s provided, through the application of fertilizer, to enhance the fertility of the soil.

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Articles:

OSU Review Details Negative Impact of Pesticides and Fertilizers on Amphibians (PDF)