A Little More About Bob, Valerie, and Timberleaf Soil Testing
Bob’s love for gardening started as a child with his grandfather, Nunzio, who immigrated to the US from Italy through Ellis Island in 1908. Gardening and growing fresh produce was part and parcel of his life, as it was for many immigrants from Italy back then.
Bob became interested in soil science while a Forestry student at the University of Montana. He studied under Dr. Tom Nimlos and was fortunate enough to work with him on a spring field project in 1974 at the University’s Lubrecht Experimental Forest in Western Montana, comparing soil type with vegetation. This was based on the work of Dr. R. Daubenmire.
Valerie grew up in England where gardening with the family was a way of life, raising a variety of fruits and vegetables. She immigrated to the US in 1968 and continued gardening in Seattle. Her interest has not waned, and one can often find her in the garden doing an assortment of gardening tasks, from irrigation repair to soil preparation.
Years later, both Bob and Valerie’s interest in soils was transformed into an interest in health by growing and eating nutritionally-rich foods. They came to realize, through much experimentation, that the random application of organic fertilizers, manures, etc. was not only costly financially but also produced a significant toll on soil mineral nutrient balance.
This eventually led them to Ohio University in 1995, where they did a summer-long intensive on soils and crop production with instructor Steve Rioch, then-owner and founder of Timberleaf Soil Testing. They became firm believers that an initial soil test is a great place to begin a gardening plan, whether in one’s back yard or out on the farm. They have since made it a priority to help others create balanced and productive soils for over 20 years. Balanced soils translate into nutritionally-rich food, great for the environment and great for one’s health.