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2015 Guide
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Healthy Soil.............................................7
Educational Opportunities.......................................... 13
Soil Stewardship Program.............................................17
Soil Biology Test Descriptions........................................19
Why should I test my soil biology?...............................26
Soil Sampling and Shipping Instructions (For clients residing
within the 48 contiguous United States and Alaska only; all others please
refer to for shipping samples from foreign lands.)...........27

Earthfort-made Products..............................................31
Application Rates..........................................................33
Frequently Asked Questions.........................................35

Earthfort helps you measure and manage the
microbiology in soils, composts, and compost
teas. The more you know about your soil and
compost biology, the more you will know what
to do about it.
In the past, agriculturalists and researchers have asked the
question, “What do I feed my plants for them to be healthy
and productive?” At Earthfort we answer a different question,
“What does my soil need to support healthy and productive
plants?” Our soil biology tests help you discover how well
your soil is functioning by looking at the microbiology in
it. Our soil amendment products are specifically selected
and designed to replenish and feed the microorganisms in
the soil, so that these organisms can more effectively cycle
nutrients. Once this biology is functioning well, feeding
plants for enhanced productivity and health becomes easier
and more efficient.

Earth Fortification Supplies Company, known as Earthfort,

is based in Corvallis, Oregon and has been working with
farmers from around the world since 2005. Our expertise is
in the management of soil biology for agriculture. The story
we hear from farmers worldwide is similar; there are few
variables growers can control. Earthfort gives growers the
tools to manage an often overlooked but highly important
variable: the microbiology in your soil. Your knowledge of
farming and our expertise in soil biology combine to improve
fertility, water management, yields, and more.
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In an unmanaged system, such as a native forest where no
one is fertilizing or rotating crops, plants grow and the soil EDUCATE - EVALUATE - REMEDIATE
is balanced rather than depleted. The naturally-occurring
and healthy biology found in the soil break down the plant
material that falls to the forest floor, cycling organic matter
into plant-available nutrients. Bacteria and fungi help create Earthfort believes in a three-step process
soil structure and are eaten by protozoa and nematodes, for soil restoration:
who then release excess nutrients into the soil in a soluble
form for plant uptake. Educate - Earthfort provides training and workshops
focused on the role soil microbiology plays in plant
In managed systems such as agricultural systems, landscapes, health. These workshops are offered both in-person and
and horticultural systems, products and practices can through the web.
often damage the biology, limiting the soil’s ability to cycle
nutrients. Management activities such as tillage, removing Evaluate - Earthfort’s laboratory tests soil samples from
crops and organic residues disrupt the soil biology’s activity around the world. The results of the soil evaluation will
for the next crop, requiring more fertilizers and chemical help determine how to manage the soil microbes to
inputs. We know there are beneficial microbes in the soil that meet the needs of the target crop. If you can measure it,
break down and release soil nutrients and organic matter; you can manage it.
and because Earthfort can measure these microbes, we can
help you manage them to benefit the intended crop. Remediate - Earthfort technology provides the tools
to manage soil health. Whether you prefer to “do it
yourself” or use ready-made products, we can help
restore balanced, healthy soil biology to your soil. Soil
ProVide™ returns beneficial microbes to the soil. Soil
ReVive™ encourages beneficial microbial growth.

Crop protection products are effective; but not selective.

Follow-up treatments with Earthfort products will
replenish beneficial microbes to your soil and help
restore the balance of organisms.

Cooperative Farm in Suriname, South America

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Enhance Crop Quality: The relationship between life
EDUCATE contained in the soil and the health of the plants that grow
within it is inseparable. A plant’s ability to move its roots
through the soil to find essential nutrients is dependent on
THE BENEFITS OF HEALTHY SOIL the soil’s texture, structure and nutrient content. The biology
in the soil creates movement of particulate and organic
Soil health is defined as the ability to perform essential matter to create spaces that aids and eases root exploration.
ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling, water filtration, Soil biology is also the mechanism by which nutrients are
and habitat for plants and animals. When the health of the made available to plants: through decomposition and
biology in the soil is disturbed by sudden changes to the excretion of dead organic matter. When these two biological
ecosystem (e.g., over-tilling or application of any fungi/ processes are functioning properly, plants are able to grow
herb/pesticides), overall soil health is affected. When such and produce at optimum levels naturally supported by the
practices become the normal management regime, soil soil’s environment.
becomes cyclically dependent upon amendments and the
soil’s ability to perform nutrient cycling through biology Reduce Weeds/Condition Soil for New Crop: Different
is continually impaired. The biological approach to soil plants require different ratios of fungus and bacteria, based
reestablishes soil biology to rebuild the desired properties on the successional state of the ecosystem in which they
that can enable soil to return to a healthy functioning state. originated; this process is called plant succession. The
biological approach seeks to match crops with their ideal soil
Create Natural Nutrient Cycling: The most productive conditions. Some plants are naturally acclimated to strongly
systems are ones with the most flourishing biology, because fungally-dominated forest soils; others are acclimated to
nutrients are being cycled in a way that is supportive to every grasslands that are more heavily bacterially-dominated. The
aspect of the environment. Insects and worms shred dead biology in the soil can enhance or impede plant growth
plant matter, creating increased surface area for bacteria and based on the symbiotic or antagonistic relationships
fungi to consume and decay. Larger organisms consume the between microbes and plants. Conditioning the soil’s
bacteria and fungi and excrete excess nutrients to make them biology to compliment a specific crop will increase nutrient
plant-available. Plants eventually turn into more organic uptake, and give the desired crop an edge over weeds they
matter for insects and microbes to cycle. try to compete against. Many weeds are most vigorous in
unhealthy soils, as they have adapted to those conditions.
Consultants from our lab take crop type into consideration
and can help you to adjust the soil’s fungal/bacterial ratios to
support your crop.

“Here is a organization with a positive way

to grow healthy organic [food] and feed the world.
[It is] all about improving the soil biology.“
- Tracy Graves, via Facebook
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biological approach is preventative medicine that assists
plants in resisting disease.

Remediate Soil Structure and Hydrology: A balanced

diversity of soil organisms can help create an even mixture
of varied particle sizes and pore spaces (air/water-filled
spaces in soil). Small pore spaces (called micropores) hold
water by the forces of adhesion so that it stays in soil and
is available to plants. Large pores (called macropores) allow
water to drain through the soil so that air can move through,
providing oxygen that keeps the soil respiring aerobically. It
is important to have a good mixture of macro/micropores so
that soil is able to hold water but does not get water-logged
to the point of anaerobic respiration because many diseases
and pathogenic organisms thrive in anaerobic conditions.
Fungi, insects and worms move through soil, creating
macropores throughout the root zone of the plants and
often deeper; thereby, decreasing compaction and creating
Microbial environment typical crops and plants need: space for air, water, and plant roots to move through the soil.
Broccoli/Cabbage (Strongly bacterial)
Row Crops/Tomatoes/Grasses (Slightly bacterial) The conventional approach of intensive tilling to loosen
Berries* (Equal bacteria and fungi) compacted soil actually creates a hard pan beneath the tilled
Broadleaf Trees/Shrubs/Vines (2-10 times more fungal) layer that impedes deep root penetration and can become
Conifers (100+ more fungal than bacterial) anaerobic attracting pathogenic bacteria. These tilling
*Note: Grapevines, blueberries (and other Ericaceous berries techniques also destroy the fungal colonies that naturally
and shrubs), kiwi, and snowbrush are considered to be in the aerate the soil. When compaction and poor drainage is a
shrub/vine category due to their fungal needs. problem for any soil type, improved soil structure can be
achieved by encouraging proper soil biology.
Reduce Pests and Improve Disease Resistance: Crop-
crippling pest infestation and disease occurs when there is Conserve Water, Reduce Erosion and Leaching of
a lack of biodiversity. A monoculture grown in soil without Nutrients: The organic substances (e.g., clay and humus)
healthy soil biology is extremely vulnerable to wide spread produced by biological nutrient cycling have an ionic charge
pest infestation, as it is a concentrated food source with no that holds nutrients in soil. When there is little organic matter
protective ecology. A healthy soil supports pest predators in soil, nutrients are easily leached out by rapidly moving
that keep harmful organisms from over-populating and water. Biological exudates create an adhesive effect that
destroying crops. Well-balanced ecology also provides strengthens soil aggregates, improving structure so that soil
the natural nutrient cycling that keeps plants vitalized. The is not as easily broken down by water and eroded by wind.

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Replacing good, diverse biology is vital after the harmful
entity has been removed. The biological approach should be
used to restore biology after pest/herb/fungicides are used.

Remediate Soil/Convert to Organic Agriculture: Earthfort

is dedicated to revitalizing soils by rebuilding the biology
that encourages biodiverse soil. Whether a soil is heavily
polluted by industrial toxins, or depleted from overuse of
pesticides and fertilizers, we believe the biological approach
is the healthiest way to restore the soil to a functioning state.

Earthfort Project Highlight:

In South India, Peter Ash has been rehabilitating soil from a heavy
metal contaminated garbage dump by mulching, adding compost,
phytoremediation, and Earthfort consulting and testing. Heavy metal
concentrations are now drastically reduced.

Enhance Efficiency of Chemical Applications/Reduce

Production Costs: The biological approach to soil is still
an important practice for those looking to augment the
use of chemical fertilizers and intensive tilling. The addition
of biology prevents loss of added nutrients, reducing the
amount of chemical fertilizers needed each year. Movement
Earthfort Project Highlight:
of the biology in the soil also improves texture, reducing the The 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown left Japanese farmland
need to till soil and saves fuel and labor costs related to that contaminated with radioactive cesium. Earthfort was asked if our
process. bioremediation technology could help mitigate these contaminated soils.
We engaged Oregon State University’s nuclear physics professor Dr. Kathy
Higley and students, who conducted trials with and without Earthfort’s
Supplement Biology Lost to Pesticide, Herbicide and
biology products. Results showed a 55% reduction in ground water
Fungicide Application: Crops suffering from massive radioactivity with our products, and 42% reduction in radiation uptake by
infestation can be equated to a human undergoing radishes when treated with Earthfort products.
chemotherapy. It is necessary to get rid of the problem, but Read more at:
the mechanism for doing so kills the good biology as well.
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Part of Earthfort’s mission is to provide science-based (Scheduled monthly; check our
training to enhance your knowledge about soil microbiology website for dates!)
and management for plant health. Our staff members have
a diverse array of soil biology, agricultural, and business Practical Soil Biology,
experience, and we want to share what we’ve learned with Webinar or DVD – 60 min
you in a participatory environment. The sessions are offered This course conveys the
both in-person and on the web. practical applications of soil
biology and why managing
Our programs involve four this resource is important. It is the perfect class for those new
participation levels: to soil biology or as a review for those using the practices.
• Webinars provide an Folks interested in learning the fundamentals of soil biology
overview of various soil- and how it applies to their gardens, farms, or landscapes will
related subjects and are find this class fascinating. Briefly, we review a biology report
attended via the internet. and what these results mean for plant health.
Some of our webinars are
available on DVD, check Understanding Your Earthfort Soil Test Report – 60 min
our website for ordering information and more details. In this webinar we will review, in depth, each component of
• Workshops are held in Corvallis and provide a deeper the Biological Analysis Soil Report form. We will examine
understanding of soil’s physical, chemical, and biological how the components listed work together to create a
factors, as well as soil biology management. picture of the health of that soil as it relates to the needs of
• Consult one on one with an Earthfort professional various plants. We will also review a biological amendment
on your site: Our specialist will visit your site and discuss report (compost and compost tea) as well as an E. coli test.
the specific challenges you are facing. We will look at the Excellent for those thinking of using our services and as a
site’s regimen and conditions and help you trouble shoot refresher for those familiar with the testing report.
problems to increase efficiency and yield.
• Soil Stewardship Program: Designed for those in the Compost Production, Webinar or DVD – 60 min
soil business, you will complete our accredited curriculum, This class will cover the theory of composting and how
receive discounts on Earthfort testing and products, as well to produce healthy, productive compost. We will discuss
as having access to consulting with our director and other appropriate starting materials, ratios for different mixes,
experienced Soil Stewards. All of the above will contribute how to measure temperature, when to turn the pile, proper
to your professional expertise. storage of compost as well as how to tell when your hand-
crafted humus is finished.
Our webinars and workshops are accredited for
continuing education hours with the Oregon Landscape Compost Tea and Alternatives – 60 min
Contractor’s Board as well as the Oregon chapter of the Compost tea offers a simple and effective method of
American Society of Landscape Architects. Ask us how to obtaining all the benefits of a biological approach to
get your continuing education Credits! growing. When compost cannot be applied or hauled to
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land, for example in a green roof setting, tea may provide a between soil biology and soil nutrient chemistry, so you
way to apply the microorganisms from compost. However, if can manage the system and improve your crop and soil
produced improperly, compost tea can do more harm than remediation. Composting and compost tea best practices
good. Earthfort has been testing and manufacturing tea for will also be covered. Your unique soil chemistry, history, and
fifteen years, so we clarify appropriate tea application and biology will have differing management implications. We’ll
methodology. Students will learn the most effective methods give you the tools to work within your system rather than
of production, and how to integrate tea into growing against it; saving both time and money. You are encouraged
practices. to have your soil biology and chemistry tested in our
laboratory prior to the workshop to take a more in-depth
Biologically Based Pest Management, look at your specific soil biology challenges and solutions.
Webinar or DVD - 60 min
Managing pests is one of the most challenging aspects of Visit for additional information.
land management, and it all begins with the soil habitat.
In this sixty-minute webinar, we give an overview of a
biological perspective to pest management, and review
the fundamentals of diversity in agricultural systems, as
well as using knowledge of life cycles to effectively prevent
and control pests. We discuss the challenges in taking a
simple approach to pest management versus how a holistic
approach, with biology serving as the guide, provides more
effective pest controls.

Workshop at the Corvallis Depot.

Integrated Soil Management 2-Day Workshop in
Corvallis, OR (2-3 workshops are scheduled per year; check
our website or newsletter for dates!)
On the phone or in the field, Earthfort offers consulting
If you can measure it, you can manage it. Join us as we services to answer your questions! Our consultants are
explore the physical, chemical, and biological soil processes, available Monday through Friday, 9am to 5 pm Pacific
and how you can better understand your system’s soil time, to assist you in developing and implementing soil
ecology in order to manage what you want to grow. This remediation strategies. Consulting is available for purchase
workshop is intended for farmers, landscape and agricultural by the hour in 15-minute increments starting at $30.
professionals, homeowners, restoration practitioners, and
anyone interested in better management and remediation of On-site visits can also be arranged with director, Matt
soil resources. Slaughter, to assess your fields, compost or tea brewing
facility and provide you with insights to maximize the
Our primary objective is to convey the interrelationship effectiveness of your operation.
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Consultation topics include: Incentives and benefits of the Soil Stewardship program
• General biology questions includes:
• Specific remediation questions • 20% discount on testing packages for one year
• Brewer design and function • 20% discount on products for one year
• Pest and disease management • Free business listing on Earthfort’s website
• Up to 4 hours of free consulting within 12 months
With over 10 years of working directly with clients, both • Continuing education: ½ off workshops and free webinars
in the field and through the lab, we have developed an • Optional quarterly Stewardship conference calls for
expertise in the practical application of the science behind updates and networking opportunities
soil biology. No matter your circumstance, we can help you
achieve your goals of a healthier more productive soil. The Soil Stewardship Program does require annual renewal
to maintain the benefits listed above.
The Soil Stewardship Program Visit to find out more about
is designed for folks who are the Soil Stewardship Program.
in or starting a soil business
who want to expand their Other Educational Resources
knowledge and understanding The Earthfort website has a number of educational resources
of soil microbiology. Growers, to peruse and to purchase. Learn more by signing up for our
composters, landscape newsletter or following discussions on our social media sites.
professionals, and others use this
program to add value to their
existing services and differentiate
themselves in the market.
The curriculum begins with six web-based or in person
classes, 1.5 hr sessions each, scheduled at your convenience.
Course work includes:
• Introduction to Soil and Practical Soil Microbiology
• Ecological Succession
• Compost Production
• Compost Tea and Alternatives
• Biologically-Based Pest Management
• Understanding your Soil Biology Report

Upon completion of all six sessions, you will pass a ten- Soil Biology Primer
question assessment and receive a Certificate of Completion. by Clive Edwards, Elaine Ingham, and
Andrew Moldenke

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Bacteria – Active (AB) and Total (TB):
EVALUATE Measuring the biomass of bacteria in a sample is the first
step in understanding the health of a soil and the potential
benefit of an inoculum or amendment. Total population
If you can measure it, you can manage it! of bacteria provides us with an indicator of abundance of
Earthfort Labs measure the microbiology in soils, food for predators, nutrient cycling capacity, and general
composts, and compost teas. diversity of the bacterial population. We report this number
as micrograms per gram (μg/g) or micrograms per milliliter
(μg/ml) of biomass. The active population is the component
of the total biomass that is currently metabolizing oxygen;
i.e., the functional fraction of the bacteria. The relative range
of these two numbers varies based on crop type and season.
When looking at inoculants, the balance between active
and total is important for two reasons: in compost, this
balance needs to be below 10%, indicating a mature and
We utilize a variety of testing methodologies to measure the stable material. In liquid inoculums, higher ratios are better
abundance of life in soil and soil amendments. Except where for foliar application. This high activity allows the organisms
noted these tests do not identify specific organisms. Rather, to stick to the plant surface. For application of a liquid, this
we measure the Biomass of Total Populations in general balance may not be as critical as they will become active in
categories of the functional groups. The totals of these the soil environment. active bacteria samples are prepared
groups represent a snapshot of the biological profile at the and stained with fluorescein diacetate (FDA is a substrate
time of testing. While each of these tests can be performed that binds and fluoresces to the metabolically active bacteria
singularly, we have found that together they represent and fungi) and quantified using direct microscopy.
a comprehensive picture of the health and utility of the
material tested. The individual tests are described below and Fungi – Active (AF) and Total (TF):
our most common testing packages are described thereafter. Fungi in the soil play an important role in nutrient retention
and transportation, soil structure and its relationship to pH.
TEST DESCRIPTIONS Plant succession is directly linked to the ratio of fungi to
bacteria; therefore, it is the first area we address when we
Dry Weight: approach remediation steps. Like bacteria, we report biomass
Used for soils and solid amendments (such as compost) of fungi in μg/g or μg/ml. Instead of counting individual
this test determine how much of the material is dry matter. populations, we measure length and width of fungi present.
A higher number indicates low moisture, while a lower Reporting this as biomass, we can do direct comparisons
number indicates higher moisture content. The ideal range of fungi and bacteria. When we observe and measure fungi
for this number is climate and crop specific. For all liquid we are looking at 3 primary things: total population, activity
amendments, this number is blank or reads one (1). level (same basic method as bacteria) and the average hyphal
diameter. Measuring hyphal diameters not only helps us

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determine biomass, but in general terms, identifies whether Nematodes (NEM):
the overall population is beneficial. On average diameters The process for identifying and quantifying nematodes is
greater than 2.5 micrometers (μm) are ideal, and helps in relatively simple in function, but the results are often a very
reporting relative diversity. The more diverse the fungi, the useful indicator of the health of soil. Nematodes are very
better. important for the nutrient cycling they provide, similar to
protozoa. We report total number of nematodes per gram or
ml in the sample, we then breakdown this total population to
genus and functional group.

Nematode functional groups we identify are:

1. Bacterial Feeders: This group of beneficial nematodes
feeds on bacteria, they help to keep the bacterial populations
in balance and, in the process of consumption, cycle soluble
nutrients in the root zone of the plants.
2. Fungal Feeders: As the name would suggest this group of
nematodes feeds on fungi, again, keeping these populations
in balance and cycling nutrients in the root zone. Many
of these types of nematodes also feed on fungi that can
cause disease in plants. Having an abundant and diverse
population of these organisms can be a valuable asset for
Protozoa—Flagellates (F), Amoebae (A), Ciliates(C): soils which grow plants that are more susceptible to some
Measuring protozoa is a bit different from measuring types of fungal diseases.
bacteria and fungi. Our method involves creating several
dilutions of the sample and then correlating presence and
absence of each group to create a Most Probable Number;
#/g or #/ml. Unlike bacteria and fungi, it can take up to 5
days to complete this test. Protozoa are typically single cell
organisms that feed on bacteria. Flagellates and amoebae
are true “aerobes,” meaning they must have adequate
oxygen to survive; while ciliates are “facultative anaerobes,”
meaning they can survive in low oxygen conditions. Numbers
of protozoa are very important as an indicator of potential
nutrient cycling. If there are sufficient levels of flagellates and
amoebae then aerobic nutrient cycling can occur. However,
high levels of ciliates can be an indicator that anaerobic
nutrient cycling is occurring. We use ciliates to help identify
potential anaerobic conditions in your soil.
A beneficial nematode.

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3. Predatory Nematodes: These nematodes are specialized in application levels of nitrogen fertilizer. This is NOT a
eating other nematodes; typically they prey on root feeding measurement of the available level of nitrogen in the soil.
nematodes and can help minimize crop damage caused
by them. This group will also consume protozoa and some Mycorrhizal Colonization (VAM), ENDO and ECTO:
types of micro-arthropods. Again, these predators provide an Mycorrhizal fungi are an important type of fungi that crates
excellent source of nutrients for plants. a symbiotic relationship with the root system of most plants,
4. Fungal/Root Feeders: This is an interesting group of allowing for more nutrient and water uptake into the plant.
nematodes. They typically act as fungal feeders, but if the We test for percentage (%) of colonization of two general
population of fungi is low, or if the right combination of types of these fungi, ENDO (inside the root) and ECTO
plant roots and nematodes are present they will eat the (outside the root). Most plants require just one type, but a
roots of the plants. We use this group as an indicator for few plants require both. It is important for us to know the
both healthy fungal populations and, at the same time, for type of plant roots we are testing to be sure we look for
potential disease issues in the plants. the correct type of colonization. There are other types of
5. Root Feeders: This group of nematodes is truly parasitic to these fungi, most notably Ericoid, found on blueberries and
plants. There is a wide variety of these types, and depending rhododendrons.
on the genus and the crop, they can be a real problem for
plant production and health. One root feeder per gram of Escherichia Coli Bacteria (E. coli):
soil can hinder productivity. As an indicator of soil health, this This is currently the only test we perform for finding and
is a group to watch. enumerating a specific organism. We use a plate count
method and report in colony forming units (CFU) per gram
By looking at the total nematode population, examining or ml of the sample. This test is typically performed on soil
levels of functional groups, and cross-referencing to the amendments to identify potential health risks. Each State has
plant being grown we can get a fairly good picture of
productivity. We also test for nematodes in soil amendment
products that are sent to us. In liquid amendments,
we typically find very few; they do not like pure liquid
environments. In solid amendments, such as compost, we
can find very high numbers of nematodes, but usually very
low diversity. Despite the low diversity, compost is still one of
the best sources for nematode inoculants.

Nitrogen Cycling Potential - #/acre

This is a value directly correlated to the protozoa and
nematode levels in the sample. Assuming these organisms
survive and there is an adequate level of nitrogen, oxygen Earthfort Project Highlight:
and prey, this test result is the potential nitrogen, in pounds Since 2005, we have been helping Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo mitigate
per acre that is cycled by these organisms in a 3-6 month toxic levels of E. coli and odoriferous dung produced by zoo animals in their
period. This value can be very useful in determining efficient exhibits. See more at

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regulations regarding safe levels of this organism for use on
food crops and for material handler safety. We utilize an EPA
approved method for testing E. coli.


All of our testing methods are scientifically validated and

considered very important indicators of soil health and
function. We have consolidated these methods into a
cohesive package of testing to make the selection process
easier to interpret. The Essential Biology Package includes Why should I test my soil biology?
AB, TB, AF, TF and Protozoa. The Advanced Package includes By knowing your soil’s current biology, you are able to make
all of these tests plus NEM. Any additional testing, such as adjustments that are more suitable for the desired crop,
VAM or E. Coli can be added as needed. (See Testing order maximizing crop production. Ongoing biological monitoring
form for specifics at: ensures optimal conditions throughout the growing season
and leads to reduced dependency on fertilizers, pesticides,
After testing we will provide a report that indicates the levels herbicides and fungicides. When using less traditional
of each test found and a “Expected Range” based on the fertilizers you lessen the amount of salt in the soil which
plant indicated by you. These desired levels are considered in turn requires less water consumption. In addition, good
optimal and are affected by seasonality, agronomic practices biology creates less compaction creating room for a deeper
as well as environmental factors. After receiving your report root systems.
analysis, we offer consulting to help determine the best
approach to remediate potential problems. Soil is the habitat for your plants. You need a habitat that
encouages the plants you want and discourages unwanted
Laboratory method references are available upon request. plants. The question to answer is what type of habitat do you
want your soil to provide?
With over 10 years of working directly with clients, both
in the field and through the lab, we have developed an The ideal balance of microbes in the soil is important to
expertise in the practical application of the science behind know as it varies for different crops. For example, row crops
soil biology. No matter your circumstance, we can help you will be successful in soil conditions which would not be
achieve your goals of a healthier more productive soil. beneficial for orchards. Before applying compost, tea, or
other amendments, send a soil sample to the lab to test the
Earthfort Project Highlight (photo on opposite page): balance of organisms in your soil. You can only benefit from
A gem of the Corvallis city parks system, Avery Park Rose Garden came to soil biology if it is present in your soil, compost, or other
Earthfort for a local fertilizer source. Landscaper America McMillan is very
happy with how the park’s roses have responded to soil biology inoculation. amendments. Testing the soil and compost microbial content
“All they’ve gotten is water,” she says of the roses after last years’ treatment prior to using it on your commercial crop is a smart move.
with Earthfort’s ProVide™ and ReVive™. Refer to our instructions for sampling soils and shipping
Read more at them to us below.
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INSTRUCTIONS FOR SOIL SAMPLING AND SHIPPING 4. Empty those 5-10 cores into a clean bucket or bowl. Mix
1. Download a testing order form from our website at www. up the core samples. (then click the Lab Services tab). Indicate what 5. Put 2 cups of mixture in a plastic sandwich size zipper lock
tests you would like us to do; our Essential or Advanced bag. Leave some air space in the bag.
Biology package, or from the individual test menu. On the
form, please include the email address where you would like 6. Send your sample using any carrier that can get your
the report sent. (Clients in Hawai’i, US Territories, or foreign sample to our lab within 2-3 days.
lands please see for your specific instructions.)
2. Identify the area of interest from which to sample in your All tests take approximately 15 working days to complete
field or landscape. and we do give recommendations as to what your soil needs
to be at optimum health. Once you receive your report
General Tips for Soil Sampling: via email you can call and schedule a phone appointment
• Wash hands thoroughly or put on latex gloves before to discuss the results and interpret the report, (consulting
handling material to be sampled. fees may apply). It’s a good time to get your site specific
• Take sample only when it’s possible to package and ship questions answered.
• Keep samples cool but do not freeze them. Freezing and For testing a solid soil amendment or compost, follow the
thawing kills many beneficial microbes. General Tips for Soil Sampling. Sample 6-12 inches into your
• Do NOT sample soil for biological testing when the compost pile, halfway between top and the ground, and take
ground is frozen or water logged. Other than that, anytime a handful. Repeat this step 3-5 times, taking each handful
of year will provide a good profile of the soil relative to the from a different location in the pile. Follow steps 3-6 from
target crop. Soil Sampling Instructions.
• A helpful tool in taking soil samples is an apple corer
which you can purchase at any grocery store. For testing a liquid soil amendment or compost tea,
• It is ideal to have some root material in every sample. follow the General Tips for Soil Sampling, previous page and:
3. Take sample cores from 5-10* different randomly selected 1.Take several small samples from the center of your brewer
spots within the area of interest. Brush aside any loose debris and mix them together. If possible, take samples while the
sitting on top of the soil. The best sample cores are from the brewer is aerating.
root zone of the desired plant. If the root zone cannot be
2. Pour about 300 ml (10 ounces) of the mixture into a clean
located cores from 3-4 inches down into the soil is sufficient.
1 liter plastic bottle.
For testing crop specific nutrients, sample and send in an
extra 2 cups of sampled soil (see page 27 for details). 3. When using a 1-liter bottle, the liquid should fill it 1/3 full
of tea. If you use a 20 oz bottle, it should be half full of tea.
*Note: Taking 5-10 cores will give you a better representation Important: beneficial organisms need oxygen, so do not fill
of the area than just 1-2 cores would. For testing mycorrhizal any bottle completely full; always leave oxygen available to
colonization, make sure you include a minimum of 25 them.
centimeters (10 inches) of roots.
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Soil Type: Based on content of sand, silt, and clay. The soil
triangle classifies sandy loam, loam, and clay loam soil types.

Macronutrients (Essential for plant growth): Nitrates

(NO3), Ammonium (NH4) Phosphates (HPO4), Potassium (K)

Secondary nutrients (Involved in plant growth): Sulfates

(SO4), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Chlorides (Cl), Soluble
salts (Na).

Micronutrients (Involved in green color enzymes and

protein synthesis): Iron (Fe), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn),
Copper (Cu), Boron (B).
Matt Slaughter sampling soil in Avery Park Rose Garden.
4. When you are ready to send your liquid amendment or
tea sample, it is important to use overnight shipping. Tea is a MAIL ALL SAMPLES TO:
fragile material which needs to be tested as soon as possible
due to the lack of aeration. We email a preliminary report of Earthfort Labs
compost teas within two days of receiving it. 635 SW Western Blvd
Corvallis OR, 97333
Crop Specific Nutrient Package
Earthfort can analyze your soil samples for a complete
nutrient analysis package. All we need is an extra 2 cups of
soil in addition to your soil biology samples. Please include
plant species, average core depth, watering method and
plant growth stage as indicated on page 2 of our testing
order form (see

Our partner laboratory tests your soil for 17 different data

points, including:

Organic Matter: Indicates reduced soil compaction,

enhanced soil fertility, reduced nutrient leaching, soil’s water
absorbing capacity

pH: Scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, and “Earthfort offers the latest soil food web information for your soil
below is acidic (“sour”). Above 7 is basic, or alkaline (“sweet”). and garden. Great stuff and thank you!”
- Norma Novy, via Facebook
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Soil ProVide™
Soil ProVide™ contains soil micro-
organisms in a stable liquid amendment.
PRODUCTS : We test each batch of product we Soil organisms support plant health
make for quality and consistency. as they decompose organic matter,
Soil ReVive™ cycle nutrients, enhance soil structure
and control the populations of soil
Soil ReVive™ is a very fine organisms. Soil ProVide™ is produced
powdered blend of organic from an organic base material and
matter, humic acid and enzymes converted into a liquid for easier
which feeds and reactivates the application.
existing soil biology; which in turn,
restores proper nutrient cycling Water can be used as a carrier for application. Use as much
function. Many soils especially water as you need to completely cover area.
agricultural soils contain a very
low concentration of humic acid due to the depleted organic Available in a variety of sizes, as well as in bulk.
matter content. Soil ReVive™ adds that missing component • Balances beneficial microbes
back into the soil, allowing for absorption of retained • Repairs & replaces soil biology
nutrients making them available for plant uptake.
• Safe for people and animals
Water can be used as a carrier for application. Use as much • Easy alternative to compost tea
water as you need to completely cover area. • Maximizes efficiency of fertilizers
• Applies with standard equipment
Available in a variety of sizes, and in bulk.

• Excellent food source for organisms in soil/compost/tea

• Reconditions soil with low organic matter content
• Reduces soil salinity and salt buildup
• Encourages beneficial microbial growth
• Works great as a pre-treatment in compost tea
• Safe for people and animals

For product application rates see next page.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 5. Can these products be used in a compost tea regime?
Compost tea is another tool to add biology to your
1. Are your products approved for organic production? soil; both of our products can complement and enhance a
Absolutely! Our products are certified organic through tea program. Soil ReVive™ is an excellent food source for
the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) as tea production. Contact us for more details, recipes and
part of the National Organics Program (NOP) of the United consulting on integration.
States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is advised to
consult with your certifier prior to use as each State and 6. Can these products be used in a compost regime?
Country has slightly different rules and requirements. We These products can enhance and feed the biology in
can work directly with certifying agencies to meet the compost, whether as a part of the composting process or as
required standards. a post composting enhancement they can assist in adjusting
the biological balance. We offer consulting services to
2. Are these products compatible with a more composters, contact us for more information.
conventional agriculture program?
We work with conventional growers around the world, 7. Are your products available outside of the United
these products can enhance the system to allow for a more States?
sustainable and efficient system. It is advised to contact us Yes, in many cases we are able to send these products
for best practices of integration; also, if you already have to international users, please contact us for details as each
crop advisors and agronomists, we work directly with them country has different regulations regarding the importation
to create a customized solution based on your needs. and use of these products.

3. What is the best method for application of these

These products were designed to be applied through
any method that water can be applied; spray rigs, irrigation,
overhead, drip-line, fertigation and aerial. Any type of pump
can be utilized. It is not recommended to utilize equipment
that has been used for fungicide or pesticide applications,
also, compatibility testing is advised when tank mixing with
other soil amendments and fertilizers.

4. Can these products be used in hydroponics systems,

or other soilless media?
Yes, these products will often enhance the biological
processes in all operations that grow plants. For more
specific use details, please contact us to determine best
approaches to your situation. Attendees at an Earthfort workshop listending to Matt Slaughter, Director
of Earthfort speak.
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Thank you for all of your efforts in
sustainable plant culture and soil remediation!
- the Earthfort Team

Workers spraying Earthfort’s biological products on a field,

no hazard suits needed!

© 2015 Earth Fortification Supplies Company, all rights reserved.