Soil tests

eddiepwnsMarch 26, 2014

Hi as I am new to gardening I do know that testing your soil is important in order to find the right balance of nutrients depending on what you are growing. What tests do I have to do? I've heard of ph tests but how do you find what types of nutrients you need to add? I would like to keep this in a budget and not send my soil to labs etc. Any specific products mentioned would be helpful to get a better understanding in what to look for when buying.

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klem1

For acuracy's sake you should have the analissis done by a lab . Ph,N-P-K and organic % are the primary targets. You can specify others like micro-nutrents for additional cost.
It is money well spent,espicialy for new to you soil. Instructions for collecting a sample are included by the lab.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 1:49AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

A typical soil test will show your soils pH, levels of Phosphorus, Potash, Calcium, Magnesium, the Cation Exchange Capacity, CEC, the ability of the soil to hold and release various nutrients, and the amount of organic matter. The garden soil test kits sold in the garden centers do not show most of that.
Organic matter in soil influences the CEC, provides the environment the Soil Food Web needs to function and those are the wee buggers that make nutrients available to the plants. So an important part of any soil test is how much organic matter is in the soil and those garden center test kits do not show that either.
Many state universities, through the Cooperative Extension Service, offer fairly inexpensive soil test that do include that information so contact yours. The link below can help you find yours. Just click on your state, or go to the list, to find that.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Cooperative Extension

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:41AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Trying to save money by using a test you can buy in a store is false economy. Those tests are terrible and a waste of money. Save money by sending a sample to a lab instead of having to test twice.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:20AM
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