Lab Services: Biological Assessments

Certified Soil Biology Lab

For those who want to know if their soil, compost, compost extract or compost teas have the correct sets of beneficial micro-organisms, then we can do a biological assessment using a compound microscope that shadows the organisms. This is the method which Dr. Elaine Ingham developed.

We can calculate the number of protozoa and nematodes and the biomass of bacteria and fungi in your soil, compost, tea or extract to determine if your soil life is adequate to grow the plants you desire. Please email if you are interested in an assessment and we will send a submission form with directions.


A Biological Assessment includes:

  • Total Bacterial Biomass per gram
  • Total Fungal Biomass per gram
  • Average diameter of fungal hyphae
  • Total Actinobacteria Biomass per gram
  • Total Oomycetes (disease causing fungi) Biomass per gram
  • Total Numbers of Protozoa: flagellates, amoebae, ciliates per gram
  • Total Numbers of nematodes per gram:
    • bacterial feeders
    • fungal feeders
    • predatory
    • root feeder

Please email for instructions on how and when to send samples.

We can only do samples for the US mainland at this time.

*Please note we will tell you about any anaerobic indicators, we are not assessing specifically for human pathogens and if you have concerns, please find a lab that focuses on that.


Workshops and presentations on composting, vermicomposting, healthy soil and the soil food web are available. We present 1 – 2 hour presentations/workshops at your venue. The participants will leave more knowledgeable and prepared to manage compost systems when they attend the compost workshops. After our soil food web or basic soil presentations, they will have a deeper appreciation for life in the soil, how microbes affect plant growth, and how to care for the soil to promote healthier plant growth. We customize our talks based on your needs.

Compost Consulting: Backyard and Vermicomposting


Some people start composting as a way to keep food waste and plant trimmings out of the landfill. This is a noble pursuit, but did you know that when you are making compost you are also growing a host of beneficial microbes for your soil? When using compost, you are also adding organic matter as well as nutrients to the soil.


Would you like help knowing where to place your bin? How to collect materials? How to water it? How to know when it’s finished?

Have you been to a compost workshop, but now you wish you could have someone come to your house and help with your special situation?

We will come to your home or small business and discuss ways to get you started or answer any questions about issues you may be having with your pile. We can even help you decide if backyard composting or worm composting seems better for your situation.

Advanced Composting: We can teach you how to make aerobic, thermal compost, that will contain the whole soil food web.

Vermicomposting or Worm Composting: We can help you set up or manage your at home vermicomposting systems. There are many ways to do this.

Worm composting is a cold process where the worms do most of the work!


Lab Service-Biological Assessment of soil, compost, compost tea, compost extract: $75 per sample. Email for submission form and directions.

Workshops/Presentations: Please Contact us to discuss your needs. We give talks or workshops on composting, vermicomposting, basic soil health and the soil food web.

Compost Consultation: $60 for a 45 minute visit on site or $100 for visit and follow up calls/email for one pile.