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320. Soilkit.com | Christina Woerner Mcinnis | Foley, Alabama

soilkit.com sample bag

Welcome to the GREEN Organic Garden Podcast it’s Friday, May 22, 2020 and I have the most awesome guest online. I feel bad we were chatting about school. She is from SoilKit.com They sent Mike and I a sample I got the results back already, I made videos of me using it. Here today a rockstar Millennial is Christina, I don’t know your last name!

That was a great intro! Thank you Quick thing just about myself, my name is Christina Woerner Mcinnis. I am a Mom of 4 born in the 80s. My family has been farming for over 100 years. I am a 5th generation farmer. I just got my bicentennial membership for the state of Alabama.

I am very proud to be a farmer! I love raising kids to be farmers.

My passion if I were to tell you my hobby!

#1 would be politics

#2 would be international ag

I am fascinated about traveling around the world and learning about it! 

As a tid bit, the most fascinating country I have been to with organic farming is:

CUBA organic practice I have ever seen!

hands down, most fascinating organic practices!

That’s my hobby those are my passions.

now to tell you about SoilKit.com

my dad is the Woerner family from

Woerner.com he has farms all over from

  • Hawaii
  • Colorado
  • SouthEast

grows everything from

  • avocados
  • cacao
  • turf grass

I kept having homeowners come in and saying somethings wrong with

  • citrus trees
  • my lawn
  • garden

What should I be doing?

It’s just like going to the doctor, you can come in for a well checkup and he wants to take a look at your blood results.

They come in and there’s a diagnostic? I say what is the soil sample what did it look at.

Homeowners here have a soil sample but the process was difficult for a homeowner to understand.

I asked dad, I wanted to do this project. I want to make this a digital process, it’s too difficult for the homeowners to understand. let’s take this the pain point out of the market place, it’s the most important test you can do.

I aligned with a very talented person, Michaal Raines who did tech for the medical industry if you can dot his for them you can do it for dirt so come on let’s get this project off the ground

  • paired the agronomy of
  • farming
  • chemistry
  • and the tech side 
  • with his engineering and digital side

So now we have rolled out SoilKit, turned out to be a more extensive

  • lawn
  • gardens

So you get soil kit what you do, it comes in the mail. 

You can get it with or without a trowel

Your listeners probably everybody has a trowel

https://youtu.be/0GNaMdyThcQ

#1 thing to do is register kit

everything will be populated to you, you will get a google satelite image

  • gardening in the soil land you can go drop the pins
  • calculate with google satellite imagery
  • click confirm and a little tutorial will be there.

go take your four samples from a 10,000 foot area

When you are gardening I need it at least

  • grass will reside
  • 2-4 inches deep
  • 4 inches with the root level
  • take the soil at that level
  • raise the red flag

All you have to do is put in your information is put in your information, then the lab knows the second it gets there they know this is Jackie

  • it’s a garden
  • we’re gonna go the basic test
  • b3 test

Then the lab will cut it open and they bake that soil overnight. The next day it comes out run it through all these impressive equipment that they have there, top of the line.

Nationwide, third party lab, same lab our farms use.

Then they populate, digitize, they throw all the info up to the cloud. The cloud talks to ours and we put it into a beautiful customer dashboard so you can view your results.

We can do organic, Jackie we didn’t have you set up as organic. But we do organic, pretty much it’s just a quick easy way to do a soil sample. We really know the importance of it and we really wanted to make it simple and painless as possible.

It could NOT have been more painless.

People send me things, and they sit on my shelf, and I got that thing and had it sent off within the hour. It was so easy!

And that trowel is not just a trowel, It is a really nice trowel! It’s heavy duty. Didn’t it say it helps to keep it from contaminate it I suppose you could just wash it off.

Galvanized trowels have heavy metals and other things so the stainless steel is a clean trowel so there are no heavy metal contaminates in it.

That’s always been my big hang up, it was IDK why I thought I had to put it in a glass jar and it was the mailing of the glass jar thing that has held me back from doing it all these years, it’s been recommended on my show so many times how important a soil test is! It can make such a big difference! Anyone who is a market farmer has said that’s so important.

The ease of it, the funny thing was the tech for me, IDK why but getting into the dashboard to see my results somehow it just popped in the morning! Let’s go back to you.

What’s the next step? What do the results tell us!

Say for instance you are an organic farmer.

We have the Espoma products.

So, let’s say there’s a garden center, ABC garden center and they purchase solikit and they carry it in the store so what will happen then:

That customer’s dashboard with populate with

  • ABC logo at the top
  • the website
  • the address
  • phone number

When the customer gets back, it’s not just here’s your problem, but it connects the problem to the solutions.

The fancy part of the whole backside is we take the chemistry analysis and recommendations from the lab and we align them to the guaranteed analysis that’s on the back of the nutrition product.

I marry those two results together so when the homeowner goes back to ABC garden center they will know exactly let’s say this is for their lawn. They will know what they need:

Espoma lawn food

They will know

  • how many pounds to use
  • how many bags
  • even the store personnel can say, oh you need two bags of the Espoma lawn feed and they can grab it.

We try to make it even broken down by the pounds.

Let’s say there is lime issue with the garden. You’ll know exactly. One point I need to point out, I want to talk about

Sometimes people can’t go till the lime into the soil, we get some low phs, we get as low as 4.3

I’ve seen some come back saying you need 500 lbs of lime for that area.

Sometimes you can’t go till it in, we help the homeowner understand, I want you to put X amount and then do this every 6 months so you start spoon-feeding of the lime to bring the ph.

Sometimes you can’t just go dump things out because it will go wash off into watershed, it’s important that we be mindful of if it is not optimal plant uptake we take in the consideration of the environmental effects, because if it is not utilized by the plant we don’t want it washing into the watershed!

I love all of this, that is so important and it can happen a lot.

Yes, It’s concerning because IDK if you follow but there are 13 states that feed into the Mississippi River that feed into the Gulf of Mexico. I am in Alabama at the very southern tip, of the Gulf of Mexico.

We’ve had largest dead zone we’ve ever had, just drastically affect the seafood industry and others.

It goes back to if

  • homeowners
  • gardeners farmers
  • would just start with a soil sample

Let’s not just do what’s best for your plant but let’s remember there’s an environment out there too we should be protecting!

That’s why we changed our name from to the GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast because we’re not just about growing the biggest vegetables, there are plenty of places you can learn that. We’re about growing a whole organic oasis and teaching our neighbors and growing things to care for our environment creating a sustainable planet for Mother Earth. This is just right up our alley.

SoilKitTest2

I wanted to look at my results. What is a soil ph of 7.8? And it tells you what is VH and H.

SoilKitTest1

SoilKitTest3

It’s got phosphorus it says rating V, VH…

We have high categories, and very high categories there’s things you should be mindful. When you get into very high.

Let’s talk about phosphorus. Too much phosphorus can be a bad thing, and it is one of the most regulated items in a fertilizer.

So yours is very high, do you know how many people just go out and get a 13-13-13? Let’s say that phosphorous is there. We can compound the issue maybe the ph is

  • too low
  • too high
  • locked up

then you go put down 13-13-13, you’re very high,

  • then your compounding the problem
  • spending money on the problem
  • making the problem worse

important that you take into consideration

you’re buying the right product for the right reason at the right rate and even more so at the right time!

So we had a little thing with mine. They said they recommend lawn food? 

I sent you one of my generic sample kits.

Is this gonna be different for a garden then a lawn?

We can actually customize, you Jackie, a GREEN ORGANIC KIT. And everyone who purchases this kit can purchase the Jackie Kit. They will all be written to an organic food.

When they look at the front side of it. I can call it Jackie Gold Fertilizer. But on the backside is nothing more N-P-K and the microbe guaranteed analysis.

So you are married to the analysis on the back.

But the analysis is the same aren’t gonna change for a garden or a lawn, it’s just what we do right? I mean even if we look at it, everything is still so high, what do we do about it, nothing is adequate? What do we do about this? It said we should add nitrogen, is that it still? Or is that only if it’s a lawn?

No, you married to nitrogen. The garden season is gonna want to eat, it’s a growing season, the garden is going to want to eat nitrogen while it’s growing.

And then so let’s use the example, let’s say the soil kit is aligned to…

Plants don’t see the brand on the bag, what they see is N-P-K and all of the microbes. So a lot of the time, people will label:

  • palm food
  • rose food
  • lawn food
  • garden food

but inside, when the plant receives those nutrients they can’t tell if that was a lawn food on the bag, but the plant doesn’t see if that is a garden food, what they see is like a

900

or

0060

so they use that form that chemistry analysis.

What kind of organic fertilizer is organic?

You know do like that Espoma, mostly because that is at our store. If I buy something that is generally what I buy, partly what I buy because it’s at our store. Mostly we use compost or chicken manure, we rarely buy fertilizer.

You derinitly want to make sure your soil kit has the right ph to align with your compost or manure.

You’re aligning to Espoma

You call me up and say hey Christina this are my Jackie soil kits I want you to customize them. I want it to say Jackie’s favorite. 

On the backside of our system, take that guaranteed analysis and put in the microbes all of those 0900s, 0060s comes back to us and populates how much of that Espoma product to put back to them.

This is just gold!

How often do you do a soil sample?

his is what I said, IDK why I thought sending in a glass jar, I love the USPS, I sent my book to Florida for a Thank You, went media mail in like 3 days, I always wondered where exactly do I send it?

I have talked to extension agents, who said they would walk me through it once I got the reults back, and I still have no idea what these numbers mean? I mean our calcium it says is 7000+ but what is it supposed to be? So we have never done it before!

Isn’t it amazing! It’s like getting a blood test back from the doctor!

You should see the anomalies I get throughout the US. I’m surrounded by farming families.

I’m gonna tell you a quick story about my parents family!

One farming family, of course there’s like 4. They did NOT do soil samples, and they had a formula for what they did. I’m gonna do 2 tons of lime per acre, and this is how you do it and this is how it’s always been done and this is how I’m gonna do it!

My dad has been doing soil sampling from the farm since the 70s and he’s done it ever since! We do 100os a year.

He says we get 30% higher production using less product all because we start with one simple test!

Anyone who has been a gardener for a long time or a market farmer who has been on my show says you have to do a soil test.

It drastically changes everything! It really is like going to a doctor and doing a checkup, let’s go look at your blood to see if you are iron deficient. It is the exact same thing.

My listener’s have told me and he is in my head on every episode, especially Alan Denko, Jackie remember, what your listener’s want to know more then anything is how to be more productive! And a 30% higher production is what they want to know.

But it’s not just about being productive, it’s also about

identify a problem and provide the solution.

Don’t just tell me I have a problem.

The hole dashboard is

we can because of the engineering and technical part of it, we can even link it back to the store to make the problem connect to the solution.

fascinating about it

dashboard is customized according to wear it is purchased from.

Let’s say someone buys it from ABC garden center and the other one buys it from XYZ garden center

So ultimately it saves everybody this, I’m having a problem. I can tell you, when it comes to ph especially when it is really low, we don’t want it to be vague. We live in a society with a lot of fake news, we want scientific data

we want things to back our

23 of me of your DNA data, it’s the 23 and me for you lawn.

So not only that, questions I get:

  • how to be more productive?
  • what do I do about pests and disease?
  • what do I do put on my organic lawn?

No matter how many times I say, you don’t need to put anything, just use water and mow it, maybe increase the health of your soil, add manure or clover, and it’s always:

No. What do I go to the store and buy? And Yes, but what do I go to the store and buy? And you’ve got that solution and that. You have nailed it! 

I keep thinking of Jason Batemen in Up in the Air saying it’s only a problem if you have a solution. 

I get a lot of compost customers

they will actually test their compost soil

I can say this, sometimes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I’ve had to call people and say that compost has a 8.9 ph

we are going to need to address this, you have a lot of good thing but they are trapped

execution is a little off, and just a little tweak, a turn of the knob, makes all the difference.

I wonder if we have too much calcium because last summer I worked at a cafe and I took a 5 gallon bucket of egg shells every day till Mike finally said, stop. I’m curious if that would have happen, I’m curious what would it have been the year before.

that’s why the USDA recommends everyone does an annual soil sample

that gives you the intitial 

its not a oe and done and everythings gone away

every six months lets do that

another year form do another montior test

at that point that soil really begins to turn for you

monitor what they

garden recommendation

Let’s say you naturally struggle with the ph level in your area

natural preexisting issue you find in the soil.

your 7.8

you’re starting to get on the edge of uncomfortable

knee jerk reaction

hydrangeas and blueberries like to bring down really low

Espoma has a acidifier product

and we put that now in the spring after stuff has been planted

I’d have to see what stage your crops are in and I would also ask my agronomy team.

That’s what we need is more acid?

I’m technical, I’m very scientific

See this one lowers the ph, it’s an organic soil acidifier

turn the hydrangeas could turn them a different color! It makes all the difference on a blueberry

our CEO was struggling and went out and did a test

he struggled for 2 crops

not getting the deep flavor taste and he went and made a little tweek and he made a very specific one our agronomists like with blueberries, he treated it with an acidic.

My listeners are like that’s what Jackie wants blueberries! We didn’t do the beds by the house where the blueberries are we tested the mini-farm.

if the blueberries were sitting where you took the soil sample, they would not be happy at all. Your ph is a 7.8 they would not be happy. 

I would be surprised if it wasn’t similar.

so here’s a great example Jackie:

  • you had great intentions
  • probably a very good genetic blueberry
  • you simply had the wrong chemistry to give it the optimal plant flavor and survival skills

Here’s my other questions? We planted strawberries with them?

They want to be totally different

6.5

I have a chart for all of this

my blueberries

so this year because of covid, so nothing, so there as a huge surge and people wanted to do gardening. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher lives next to a park and she planted 3 raised garden beds!

whole terry glove

she is now a retired agronomy teacher lesson from her

helping others do my

 

How old are your kids?

we’re in the odd year so the baby’s 7, 9,13,15. So they are just old enough to kind of somewhat independent but young enough I still don’t have a driver in the house. 

I’ll bet that’s a big learning curve. I depend on my parents. I have one parent who has 6 kids and 4 of them are kindergarten and under. Things I love about it. People have to give each other more grace.

I am so excited my kids can chat with me on google chat and I don’t have to go through parents if they need help with a question on page 272!

It’s all learning experience. One question parents asked me for was an answer key. I think it’s a lot on parents. I think maybe we shouldn’t do a brand new lesson everyday. 

in some ways the covid I watched, social emotionally suffered

they love social!

they need it!

when I saw the picture of Miss can and her 3 little garden beds the kids flock to it! They want to see life!

smell the fresher

  • milkweed
  • caterpillars

different environment

 never have this opportunity again and when they go back, and say remember when we did virtual learning

gardening has flourished for kids! To watch that out there on Facebook!

I’m confused she’s actually doing this with them in person?

her backyard of her house doesn’t have a fence and it backs up to their subdivision’s playground. The subdivision is called terry cove orange beach. There’s a neighborhood park where the kids can go play

houses are across the street

She has put her garden right there by the property line at the playground and the kids instead of playing on the swing are gravitating over to watch her organic gardens grow.

Kids love to learn! Maybe not aglebra right now, they love science! One kid will like oceans, and one will like gardening, one will like magnets. I even had a kid yesterday say can we sitll dot this.?

Careful when you are doing this out of raised beds planting your blueberries

hydrangeas just don’t taste good after all that work

put them off in their own little area

I’ll work with you off on the side to make sure you are hitting the right ph on that. 

Now I am worried about the blueberries maybe I should move them instead of the strawberries.

Yes.

 

so I’ll tell you a couple of things

SoilKit.com

Within the month, you know how your camera will pick up. And there’s a qr code on the bag. We would do a drop kit for you, Jackie Kit So it get’s to the lab.

Push the button, you put it over the bag and it registers all that for you.

Then we are going to locate your garden, it will say are you here? At that point you can,drop the pins, we’re trying to make this as simple quick fast and easy

techy fun

where we can gather as much and as simple

5500 square feet

that may affect whether are you buying one bag of fertilizer or are you two

are you readlly 550 square feet or are you more like 3000 so are youputting out too much product

I totally guessed on our place I have no idea I just guessed if it was 10,000 square feet I do have to admit I entered the number on the yellow paper and then I looked at the paper bag and it was a different number. I just loved the paper bag thing, and mike went out there and was telling me where to go. I’m sure I took a video of my doing it. 

What’s so fascinating, I was at my GG’s ouse. I went out to her house. I was doing a radio show for a garden

your big puppies soil samples 

looks like 

technology behind the sample is amazing it is just light years

api and the cloud everything talks in this technology engineering language but at the end of the day the brown paper bag is still the same because the soil is the same

is not changing

this is what the farmer does and this is what the homeowners should be doing. To hear her talk about something we were doing almost 40 years

now were in 20s

I didn’t have to address anythinng it was paid for I oculd just drive though the post office and throw it in the slot, mike is all about the raingage! 

EASY EASY EASY! it doesn’t get easier and the shovel, it’s got a sharp angle, it’s heavy duty, we hav eliek 3 shovels down there with shovels that the handle falls off. I saw mike digging the other day wit just the shovel without the handle puttin gin these two marigodls for me. 

how we did the test on it

what I did I lined up about 20 trowels to my sister and was like I want you to do a bunch of soil samples

took her to a very dry adjusting lawn

broke trowels

even tried one of the plastic ones

tried everything

great manufactures

Mitch’s company

make them for me

quickly

if you are going to sell a trowel you btter sell the best trowel!

In essences you’re getting an amazing value

it all comes in this easy box it came really fast, I got my results back in like 3 days. I don’t think you are going to bget a better deal I’ve seen what it cost for testing!

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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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