Most states have ag agents who can either test your soil or sell you a
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.
more words/background needed, questions too
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
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.
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.
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
Both Texas and Louisiana, the two states I've mainly lived in for years,
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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