Soil Testing?

Is this worth doing, and if so then how?
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On 1/5/2015 12:06 AM, Davej wrote:

kit to send back for testing. Check with them first. If you just want to test pH you can buy a kit at most garden centers. I've used both over the years and it was worth the effort and bucks. What I had thought was a medium pH soil turned out to be fairly acidic. That then tells you how to amend your soil.
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George Shirley wrote:

more words/background needed, questions too vague...
sometimes, but i often think they are just yet another wasted expense. a small plot gardener who is just starting out may be better served by doing some basic readings first before getting to soil tests. why test an area when later you'll decide to put in raised beds? or perhaps a pond or a perennial garden and a greenhouse?
there's a lot of basic information that is much more helpful than a soil test. like, if the area has enough light or moisture, what the site is like generally, drainage, accessibility, etc. perhaps it really won't support the original intent very well and it is best to rethink and replan?

agricultural agents are not always the best resource for gardening information. if you do get a soil test from them their answers may reflect their extractive agricultural perspective.
better to look for your local gardening clubs or to ask around the neighborhood for a master gardener.
a bit of reading (about 10-20 pages) should be available on line or at the library which can describe how to analyze an area and take a soil sample.
more generally useful materials are also available for free at the library. well worth the time spent.
songbird
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Davej wrote:

I am still unsure of what you are trying to acheive in your garden or hope to get out of soil testing.
Perhaps if you bought a dye indicator kit for a few dollars you could find out how acidic your soil is. Combine this with the preference of the plants you are trying to grow and you will have some information about whether you need to add lime, how much and where.
If you want more specific advice you need to give some information and ask more specific questions.
--
David

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On Monday, January 5, 2015 at 1:06:51 AM UTC-5, Davej wrote:

Our local feed store does soil tests for $15.
Paul
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On Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 10:06:51 PM UTC-8, Davej wrote:

There is a lot more to a soil test than ph. If your soil is deficient in a element, you need to know which one it is to avoid the shotgun approach of using "tons" or everything hoping you will c atch the missing deficiency. This is particularly important when you buy soil or planter mix to use in r aised beds. You really have no idea what you are buying in many cases. Also seasonally, the outfits that mix "garden soil" have different sources of m aterials and one load may be great and the next load pretty crappy. A lot will depend on whether you mix in compost to your garden also. No com post, soil chemistry more problematic. Soil chemistry also more difficult t o control, keep balanced, in pots. Last time I checked in So. Calif and outfit 30 miles away charged $65.00 fo r a full test. They were in Temecula and accepted samples for testing throu gh the mail. Hopes this helps. Jim in So Calif
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On 1/25/2015 1:56 AM, James McNulty wrote:

have extension services that will test your soil for a much smaller fee. I think the last time I had a test in Louisiana it cost $18.00. Worth a look online or a phone call.
George, in SE Texas, heat zone 8b
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