Mark McCauley, Resource Conservationist
It may not quite seem like it, but Spring has arrived and things are definitely turning green! In fact, flower bulbs, like daffodils, have already pushed through the soil and have bloomed in many locations! For gardeners everywhere, we are beginning to think about what we may want to plant where, and what preparations may be needed to prepare this year’s beds. One good idea is to have your soil tested. This is especially important if you have never done it, or if it has been a few years since the last one. Depending on the “crop” you intend to grow (i.e. vegetables, flowers, trees, lawn), you may need to apply certain amendments to create the ideal growing conditions. A healthy plant is more productive and resilient to adverse conditions (i.e bad weather, disease, harmful insects, and competition from weeds).
Taking a soil sample for testing is really pretty simple. We have all the instructions on our webpage. Basically, you will want to obtain a representative sample for the specific area you want to treat, whether that be a vegetable garden, a lawn, a shrub bed, etc. Once a soil sample is obtained, it should be mixed and brought into our office, and 2 cups will be taken from that to send in to the lab (which we can do that). The lab requires 2 cups of soil to complete their analysis. Results are usually available within about 4 days, and those can be emailed directly to you.
When you get your results, you will receive is a list of the current nutrient levels, the pH (how acidic or alkaline your soil is), the organic matter content, and a few other things (which an explanation sheet will be provided for). You will also receive recommendations on what nutrient types to apply (dependent on your intended “crop”), how much of each nutrient, how to adjust the pH if needed, and when to do all of this.
Our Basic Test - $35 includes organic matter, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, CEC, pH, and buffer pH.
Our Complete Test- $45 includes the Basic Test plus conductivity, boron, copper, iron, manganese, sulfur and zinc. I
f you are interested in completing a test this spring, or any other time of the year, just follow the directions on our web site and submit a sample to our office. We will be happy to help.