A quick post for those of you wanting to improve your soil (okay- everybody). I found a nifty scorecard online that you can use to take visual tests of your soil to assess its health. Most soil tests only ascertain the alkalinity or acidity of a soil and the amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous in it, plus some other minerals like calcium. You could have all this information and still have pretty crappy soil, though.
The test card helps you assess ground cover, penetration, infiltration, diversity of soil life, root development, soil structure, aggregate stability, earthworms, soil pH, and leaf color. There is also a separate test for soil microbes which involves rotting a piece of cotton fabric in the soil. Pretty easy stuff, and it all happens with some home made tools which the soil health card tells you how to make (and even that is pretty easy).
It comes to us from the generosity of the good folks at New South Wales Agriculture and the (Australian) National Heritage Trust.