Testing Your Soil


. . . to see whether it is acidic or alkaline as well as whether it has at least the main nutrients needed for promoting lush plants and/or vegetables? This testing is not as difficult as you might think.

Since most plants have specific soil preferences — for example, azaleas prefer slightly acidic, while others such as geraniums prefer less acid — a pH test can save you money by helping you know which plants will do best in your garden.

Because some adjustments may require a few months to take effect, early spring is one of the best times to test your soil. Samples should be taken when the soil is fairly dry because wet soil can give a false reading.

How To Test Your Soil:

There are two ways you can get your soil tested. You can use a home testing kit or send the sample to be tested.

Home testing kits can usually be found in most garden centers and hardware stores. You can choose the one that tests one thing, such as the pH, or one which test for nutrients and pH. These are usually not expensive and fairly accurate.

Click to see a pH and fertilizer analyzer.  However, if you go to the next post “Taking A Soil Sample”, you will see another similar home kit available for a lot less.  Either way, you can keep using it to check your progress as you keep working on your soil.

Some kits are easier to use than others. Some require steps while others involves simply pouring water and mixing soil.

Click http://www.plantsandgardeningtips.com/diy-soil-testing-video/ to view the video that explains how to use one of those test kits which can usually be found at any garden store or nursery.

The keys to success are collecting good soil samples and following directions. Make sure you test your soil more than once to double-check your results.

Rather than buying a kit, you can collect soil samples and send them to your local agricultural extension offices who will test your soil’s PH and nutrient levels for a small fee.

Most offices provide a sterile container for your sample and a form to fill out .  This form will ask you to provide a little information about your garden, where you live, and the plants you wish to grow.

You should receive a soil analysis approximately two to three weeks after you have sent your samples. This analysis should include suggested changes to your soil and detailed results re your samples.

If you choose this option, be sure to take your samples early in the spring. Once you have tested your soil, you will be in a better position to know how to remedy soil deficiencies or buy the plants which best fit your soil.

Fore a better understanding on the procedure when getting your soil tested, click


On the next few posts, I will explain how you can determine soil drainage and different soil solutions.  Until then, ….

Happy Gardening!