Pro Gro uses Logan Labs for their soil testing. Logan Labs' tests utilize Dr. William Albrecht's research to show how close or far your soil is from where it should be. If you have never seen a soil test before, some of the key things to look for is pH, base saturation %, phosphorus levels, and consistency. Each vertical column to the right of the double vertical lines is a soil sample. Each sample comes from a different bag of soil. Example: for The Bomb tests we tested four different bags and Roots Organic we tested three different bags. Each horizontal line shows the data for each aspect of the soil. (scroll down to view the tests)
Overview of the information on the tests below
To do a quick overview lets start off looking at the PH. The PH of The Bomb is very consistent from bag to bag. The "ideal" soil PH according to William Albrecht is 6.4-6.5. The Bomb starts out a little higher than that in the rage of 6.7-6.9. This is because the soil is loaded with nutrients. As more of the Cation Exchange Sites(CES) are filled with nutritional ions, the less there are available for exchangeable hydrogen; thus slightly raising the PH. This isn't bad though, because once your plant starts growing its roots in The Bomb it will start to release hydrogen ions into the CES to uptake the nutrients. As this process continues as the plant grows, the PH will drop slightly. Over the course of a couple of weeks the PH will drop to the ideal 6.4-6.5 range. Because the Cal:Mag ratio is properly balanced, the PH will level off in the 6.4-6.5 range and hold steady throughout the entire rest of the grow. This whole "PH system" is ideal because 1. Nutrient availability is maximized over a slight range of Ph vs just having one set PH constantly. and 2. By the time the PH levels off at 6.5 your plants will be in the flowering stage and Phosphorous availability is maximized at a PH of 6.5. As far as for Ocean Forest(OF), the consistency of PH from bag to bag is not really there. It ranges from 5.3 - 6.1. Also they are all way too low. As you can see on the soil test, because of a lack of nutrients(mainly calcium) the exchangeable hydrogen base saturation % is too high; thus taking the PH too low. As for Roots Organics, the PH is fairly consistent but way too low. This, like OF, is mainly due to a significant lack of calcium.
Next lets look at the cations(in a nutshell). Cations(pronounced "cat-eye-on") are Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium. The "Exchangeable Cations" section of the test shows the cation nutrients in the units of lbs/acre, 6 in deep. Most people will not be using The Bomb by the acre (lol), but it is still a unit of measurement that we can mathematically work with. In this section it shows the value you should have("desired value"), the value that is actually in the soil("value found") and how far off you are if you have a deficiency("deficit"). The Desired Value changes from bag to bag because the Total Exchange Capacity slightly varies from bag to bag(its actually quite consistent with The Bomb compared to its other competitors). The "Base Saturation %" section tells you the saturation % of each cation relative to the Total Exchange Capacity. The ideal percentages of the cations are as follows: Calcium-68%, Magnesium-12%, Potassium-4%, and Sodium-1.5%(these numbers are the result of Dr. William Albrecht's research). The reason these numbers are what they are is because, in short, due to the laws of chemistry, at these percentages everything works perfectly. The PH is stabilized at the 6.4-6.5 range, the living soil organisms thrive, all the nutrients work together to maximize all their availabilities to the plant, and, of course your plant thrives. To see how close your soil is to being perfect you look at the "Base Saturation %" section first. If your Base Saturation % numbers are at, or very close to the numbers I just listed, then your golden. If they are not, then you look up at the "Exchangeable Cations" section to be able to mathematically calculate how much fertilizer/nutrients you need to add to get to ideal.
Ok, lets look at the soil tests we have and compare. The most important cations are Calcium and magnesium. They have the most "authority" in controlling the properties of soils. The other cations can vary slightly depending on your crop without negative effects. As you can see for The Bomb, the Base Saturation % numbers are all very consistent from bag to bag. The numbers are all in range for the ideal numbers as calculated by William Albrecht except potassium. According to Logan Labs and William Albrecht, as I stated earlier, the ideal % for potassium is 4. The Bomb is closer to 10. We have found in our grow tests that a higher potassium level is appreciated by our "heavy-feeding herbs". Looking at calcium and magnesium, they are dialed in exactly to where they should be. Because our soil is properly balanced, you can open our soil and plant in it with tremendous results without having to add any supplements.
For comparison, a fresh bag of OF right out of the bag is calcium deficient. This starts potential problems with PH and nutrient availability before you even get started. Not only are all of the new bags of OF calcium deficient , but each bag has a different level of deficiency! Also, the magnesium is on the high side of the spectrum which isn't the end of the world but it could be better. The rest of the Base Saturation % numbers for OF are fairly balanced and consistent.
As for Roots Organic, both the calcium and magnesium are very deficient right out of the bag. They are inconsistently deficient from bag to bag as well. Like OF, this opens up room for potential problems and makes it almost impossible to dial in correctly without a lot of time, headache, and money.
The two anion nutrients are P and Sulfur. Lets look at Phosphorus. Phosphorus is, as we all know, very important during the blooming stage of a plant's life as well as in the formation of roots and during the production/transfer of energy in photosynthesis. To quickly reference the soil test, The Bomb has 3-4 times the amount of P as OF or Roots Organic(Side note: the levels of sulfur in Roots Organic is ridiculously low as well). So again, right out of the bag, these products are already deficient.
The consistency is a huge issue with all of the competitors of The Bomb. If you are trying to grow a perpetual garden and maximize both quality and yield then you need to use consistent products. The reason that The Bomb is so consistent is because for starters all of the biomass that is used to make the base ingredient "Dynamic Dressing" is sourced from the same places. This creates a consistent foundation for the entire rest of the product. Also, when The Bomb is mixed, it is done in small individual batches. In addition to that, Paonia Soil Co. has designed a custom soil mixing machine to fully mix the batches of soil. Ingredients are also added in a specific order to enhance and ensure a homogenous product every time.
If you have any questions or topics for discussion please give us a call at (970)443-6052.
The Bomb Soil Test
Ocean Forest Soil Test
Roots Organic Soil Test
Batch 64 Moonshine Soil Test