I am a high school student performing a two-year science research project. I'm investigating the impact that invasive earthworms are having on the forests where I live.
Why am I on The Helpful Gardener? The main portion of my project relies on testing the soil nutrient content (NPK, and pH) in the forests, and I'm having a little trouble. Hopefully someone on the Helpful Gardener can help...
My school purchased a Hach "NPK-1 Soil Test Kit." It seems to be very advanced, and I'm sure it will work very well once I get the hang of it. The problem isn't that it's too complicated. The kit comes with an extremely detailed, step-by-step guide describing how to use the kit. I'm just worried about how accurate the tests are.
-Has anyone ever used this kit, or one like it before? Do you have any tips?
-Today, I began testing a soil sample. It was pouring rain when I collected the sample. I dried it overnight and came back to test today... The results indicated that there were 0ppm Nitrate-Nitrogen in the soil. I know that can't be true. My question-- Is this due to leaching (did the rain wash away the nitrogen)? Or is there something wrong with how I'm doing the tests? Once again, if anyone has used soil tests kits like this and knows what I'm talking about, please help.
I appreciate any response and any other tips you have.