Sampling & Shipping Instructions
Please read our sampling & shipping protocol carefully before when sending in your sample(s).
Did you know you can now book your soil or compost analyses with Docterre online?
This protocol will walk you through the steps to successful sampling.
General tips for accurate results:
Take the samples when it is possible to ship them immediately, the same day.
Shipping should have a target delivery timeframe of 1-2 business days.
Wash your hands well or put on clean gloves before handling the sample material, and between handling different samples.
Keep the samples out of extreme heat or cold as this risks killing the organisms we seek to measure. Aim to keep samples at room temperature or slightly cooler. If shipping during the height of summer heat, a cooler pack may be added to your box with padding so that it is not in direct contact with samples.
Tools required for sampling: unused large zipper-type plastic bags or a clean container, a shovel and/or soil core, a permanent marker.
Please ensure to place samples in a box or padded bag where they will not be compacted along the way.
1. Identify the sample area(s).
There may be multiple samples to take if there are several different conditions on your land, or various areas of interest. Ex: If part of your crop is healthy, and another part is diseased, those would be two separate sample areas. Ex. If you have several compost piles, each pile would be its own individual sample. If conditions within each pile are not homogenous, then you can separate these different areas of one pile into two different samples.
Complete the following steps 2-5 for each separate soil sample area, or compost pile.
2. Collect your sample.
For each compost sample, reach 6-12 inches into your compost pile, or halfway between top and bottom to take a handful. Repeat 3-5 times, taking each handful from different locations in the sample area.
Before taking a soil core, remove any debris or organic matter sitting on top of the soil. Take soil cores from 5-10 locations within your identified sample area. When making your selection, consider the following:
If your analysis is related to a particular plant/crop of interest, take soil cores from the root zone of the plant. Plants should be selected at random throughout the sample area. Ex: To test the soil ecology of a corn crop, pull soil cores from areas where the roots of the corn are present.
If you are sampling soil around trees, take samples from midway between the edge of the canopy and the tree trunk, at the appropriate root zone depth. If the root zone is located in the first 3-4” of soil, start sample from the top of the soil (insert corer into soil, take soil from the top 1-4”.) If the root zone is deeper, insert corer to the appropriate level and take 4” at that level (so if the root zone starts at 4” deep, take a soil core from 4-8” of depth.)
If testing for the general state of microbial health within a sample area, but with no particular plant of interest in mind, select 5-10 random locations across the area.
3. Compile your sample.
Compile 5-10 soil cores or 3-5 compost handfuls taken from a single sample area into one bag, creating a composite sample. Leave air space in the bag to allow oxygen for soil organisms. The minimum amount of sample material we require is 500g (~2 cups)
Once the sample is taken, please write the following information on the outside of the sample bag. Do not place a note inside the sample bag as this may affect results:
A sample number (simply: #1, #2, #3 etc)
Sample type: compost, soil, or other
The date and time the sample was taken
5. Mail your samples.
Send samples to be delivered in 1-2 business days to the following address. Please send by courier only, not by Canada Post. Choose “signature not required” delivery.
151 chemin Hatley Centre
6. Email the tracking number.
Once samples are sent, please email the package tracking number to firstname.lastname@example.org. This ensures that we will pick up your package upon its arrival.
You’re done! Good job.