Taking A Soil Sample

Taking a soil sample . . .
does not take long and is easy to do.

To take your soil sample , you will need a clean bucket, a clean garden trowel, a clean container, and newspaper.

Before we begin taking a soil sample , remember soil tests are only as good as the tools used to collect them. Make sure your spade and bucket are thoroughly clean or your results may be worthless.

Forgetting to wash out a bucket that once held lime or pool chlorine or other strong chemical can skew test results. This mistake can cost you money and time spent choosing the wrong plant.

How To Take A Soil Sample:

– The first step is to dig at least five 6-to-8-inch-deep holes in the planting area.

– Then shave off a slice of dirt from the side of the first hole and discard.

– Once that’s done, scrape another 1/2 inch slice along the sides of the same hole and place this soil in a clean bucket.

Repeat the same procedure for each of the five holes.

– Once you have collected your soil samples from each hole and put those five samples of soil in the clean bucket, mix these soil samples together thoroughly, spread this mixture on a newpaper, and allow to dry.

– Once this mixture is dry, collect a pint of this mixture for your soil sample which you can then test according to your test kit directions, or you can send the sample to your local agricultural extension office to get your soil tested for pH and nutrient levels.

It might be wise to put your soil sample in one of those thick plastic zip bags to protect it from loss or from dirt getting into it before you put it in a small box to send in the mail.

There are many varieties of home soil testing kits. However,¬† here’s a very thorough soil testing kit which you might want to consider if you wanted to do your own testing:
Soil Test Kit -40 Tests Nitrogen/Phosphorus/Potasium/pH

On the other hand you might prefer this electronic soil testing kit. (My how they’ve changed! These new ones are so much better and they’ve gone up in price by only a few dollars¬† since I last bought one in the early 2000′s).
Ferry-Morse 310199 Electronic Soil Test Kit

You could always check for a soil testing kit at your local nursery as well.

Now that you have taken your soil sample and had it tested, you might find the tips at Soil Problem Solutions on how to correct certain pH related and drainage soil problems useful. Meanwhile….

Happy Gardening!

Marcie

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