The Backyard Agronomist is based in Hobart, Tasmania, and can provide the following services:

  • Soil test with report detailing results and recommendations. All reports include a complete organic fertiliser (COF) recipe tailored to your soil and crops. Here is an example of a report, as prepared for Hobart City Farm.

  • Recommendations based on an existing soil test.

  • Testing for contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides.

  • Advice on plant sap testing and help interpreting results in concert with soil test results.

  • Unfortunately I can no longer do site visits due to a chronic illness. I provide detailed instructions on how to take a soil sample and post it to the lab.


  • Soil tests: the first sample is $175, additional ones are $150. For multiple samples, it may end up cheaper if some of the samples and/or crops are similar, which simplifies the analysis. If cost is an issue, it may be possible to use a cheaper lab in the US - contact me to discuss.

  • Existing soil test: recommendations where you provide soil test results are $75.

  • Heavy metals only: I suggest you use the free VegeSafe service from Macquarie University.

  • A more comprehensive test for contaminants, including heavy metals, pesticide and PCBs is $240.

  • Plant sap analysis: the first sample is $160, additional are $135. For multiple samples, it may end up cheaper if done in combination with soil tests and if some of the samples and/or crops are similar.

  • Additional consultation is available - talk to me about what you're after and we can agree on a fee.

I am happy to accept goods or services in lieu of cash - just discuss with me.


What type of analysis do you use?

I prefer to use the Mehlich 3 method for soil nutrient analysis. This gives an estimate of the amount of nutrients available to a crop over a growing season, and is relatively well-calibrated. It does not include soil nitrate or ammonium, as these are transient measurements which aren't very helpful (particularly in organic systems). Other methods can be used on request.

What laboratory do you use?

For soil nutrient and plant sap analysis, I use AgVita Analytical in Devonport.

If costs are an issue, we can use Spectrum Analytic in Ohio, USA for soil nutrient analyses.

For contaminant testing I use EAL at the Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW.

How long does it take to get my recommendations?

Soil nutrient analyses take roughly 2 weeks. Plant sap analysis is a week.

If using the US lab, then it will take about 3-4 weeks, although sometimes longer if there is a hold up in transit or quarantine.

Please bear in mind that due to chronic illness, I can't always be as prompt and responsive as I would like.