Well,I am starting to get through soil sample processing which has been a good learning experience. I have finished recording data for my bulk density tests for the two different areas: a heavily ‘compacted’, high traffic grass area, and an area covered in blackberries. The blackberry soil was beautiful, very loose, and crumbly. The other area was stone-filled, and difficult to sample. SO I had expected a big difference in bulk density. However, the blackberries came in at .86 g/cm^3 and the other area at .87g/cm^3. Hardly results to write home about; or to write a blog about.
One of the differences in the two areas that I will follow up on is the amount of particles greater than 2mm. The blackberries had an average of about 20% >2mm and the other area 23%. This could influence bulk density results. Also, the soil at UBC farm is a Bose soil, characterized by sand-dominated particles and presence of stones. Sand does not compact as readily as a clay soil, so perhaps bulk density will not be such an important test in contrasting no-till soils with conventional till soils at UBC Farm. What may be a better indicator is aggregate stability, which is virtually non-existent at the moment.
I ran a first batch of pH tests for the blackberries and got values around 5.3-5.8. So will have to do some work to bring that up. I am wondering how quickly I could bring it up to 6.0 without adding lime if at all.