Richard and Joanne went along to the one day course run by SoilBioLab at Rushall Farm late last year. Simon, Andrea and Jen from the SoilBioLab team taught us how to take soil samples and qualitatively grade soils and compost & compost tea.
Their approach to qualifying the results is quicker and (in our humble opinion) more applicable to fieldwork than the full Soil Food Web Elaine Ingham method. You can use a cheaper biological microscope, closer to the student microscope end of the scale, rather than the more sophisticated microscope recommended by Elaine Ingham in her video training courses.
We found it a really useful day. In theory we “knew” a lot of this stuff, but there is nothing more useful than spending the day with people who really know their stuff, which the SoilBioLab team most certainly do, and being able to ask dumb questions, which they were unfailingly able to answer.
Soil Biolab also offer more detailed quantitative tests if you send them soil samples by post – they suggest a combination of doing your own analysis along with getting them to do more in depth tests from time to time.