The Department of Horticulture has for many years provided services to the Kenyan farmers from around the university, researchers in and outside jkuat, post graduate and undergraduate students, PhD students’ projects in and outside the university in soil and tissue analyses, water quality analysis etc.
SOIL TESTING; WHY TEST?
1. To make farmers understand the soil testing status of his/her farm and hence take corrective measures
2. Enables the farmer to choose the correct fertilizer to apply and what quantity?
3. For example analysis of soil salinity or Ec would help the farmer to use the correct water for irrigation.
4. Farmers may know their soil acidity or alkalinity and the correct measures to take until their soil reaches at the optimal levels to 6.8 pH levels for plant growth.
5. This would define the type of crop or vegetables to plant
Before you bring your samples for analysis please follow the following procedure
SOIL SAMPLING PROCEDURE
1. Sampling place must represent an area of 1 ha or lower( those with smaller areas)
2. A sample should be collected separately from areas which differ in soil color or past management e.g liming or fertilization.
3. During collections, these areas should be a voided. Old manures or lime piles, wet spots, areas near trees and compost pits.
4. Scrap the surface litter and then take about 10 to 15 samples randomly distributed over each area and placed in a clean bucket
5. Samples are mixed thoroughly and by quartering, reduce the bulk and about 500g of the sample is retained for analysis.
6. Take this sample to jkuat horticulture department for analysis for the following parameters in soils
As basic standard test we do:
1. Estimation of soil texture by hydrometer method
2. Estimation of soil moisture by Gravimetric method
3. Estimation of soil Bulky density (Db) from situ undisturbed soil method
4. Estimation of soil porosity
5. Measurement of soil pH and Electrical conductivity using a ratio of 2:5 soil/ Water paste in soils
6. Measurement of cation exchange capacity using 1N Ammonium acetate in soils
7. Estimation of Total Organic carbon (TOC) by Walkley and Black rapid titration method in soils
8. Estimation of available nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus. Sodium, Calcium and Magnesium (macros) in soils
9. Estimation of trace elements such as Iron, Zinc, Manganese and Copper in soils
10. Estimation of heavy metals Lead, Cadmium, Chromium etc in soils
11. Estimation of water soluble nutrients like carbonates, nitrates, sulphates, chlorides and bicarbonates in soils