soil testing

Hello, I have a large pile of ash from burning leaves, wood, limbs, pine straw etc, and I've read that ash can be helpful to plants if my soil ph is not over 7.5.
My questions is, how do you test your soil and what tools are used.
Im looking to test my soil soon and see some cheap and expensive testing kits on amazon.
thanks
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, January 6, 2013 12:34:59 PM UTC-5, Nathan Heafner wrote:

Nathan, I am by no means an expert. That said, wood ashes are usually used for the potassium content, but there is no way of knowing what the potassium content of your wood ashes is as woods are not all the same. I have used wood ashes by running them through one of the compost piles for a season before spreading, however that doesn't address how much potassium there is. Soil testing is a great way to find out what is really in your soil and what you might need. I have used a home kit (Rapidtest - I think). It was inexpensive, and gave me at least a rough idea of N-P-K, however, depending on how large your garden is and how much time, energy (and money) you wish to devote to it you might consider having your garden soil tested by a professional laboratory. This also is not very expensive and can give you a much more accurate picture of your soil's needs. I have used a lab in Ohio (Logan Labs) for the last 3 years. Their report fairly easy to understand and there turnaround time is excellent. The veggies grown have never tasted better. There are many other labs. If you are in the states, your local extension service can probably suggest one, or even do basic testing for you themselves. I test once a year, in the fall - although this year I might test again in the spring as I am gardening in a new location and want to get an idea of what my garden will need. There are also many books and internet resources available to you. This is a shameless plug, but I lurk in a yahoo group: Soil and Health, where I have learned a lot and gotten advice from some exceptionally knowledgeable (and nice) folks. I hope this answers some of your question. Good luck in all your gardening endeavors. -Charlie in zone 5
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, January 6, 2013 12:34:59 PM UTC-5, Nathan Heafner wrote:

Nathan, I am by no means an expert. That said, wood ashes are usually used for the potassium content, _____________________________________ I've always heard and read that the primary use for ashes was because it's similar to liming. That's what I've always used them for anyway.
This cite from the RHS might be of interest to the OP: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pidb1
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/6/2013 12:34 PM, Nathan Heafner wrote:

I have some old pH papers I use from my lab days. Just touch moist soil. No special equipment needed. They should not have trouble finding. I see it at Amazon.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.