Garden Soil Testing

Posted by gardensoul on February - 5 - 2016

soilIt will be March soon and I know you are all itching to get your hands in the soil.  March is a good time to consider having a soil test to determine exactly what amendments your planting site needs and the exact pH.  This is especially important if you have had less than successful vegetable garden experience or your have a site where perennials or annual flowers are disappointing.  What do you need to know?

  • Choose one area with similar use for each soil test
  • Where to take the sample – area that receives the same fertilization or compost amendments (vegetable bed, front lawn, etc.)
  • Garden tool to get the sample – garden trowel, spade, bulb planter, or large knife
  • Depth for vegetable, flower gardens and new lawns – 6 inches
  • Depth for established lawns – 3 inches
  • Pattern of sub-samples – random spread around, but more toward the middle than the edge of the area
  • Number of sub-samples – 5 for a small area and up to 15 for a large area (such as the lawn)
  • Collection container – place the sub-samples together in a clean pail
  • Mixing – mix the 5 to 15 sub-samples thoroughly in the clean pail
  • Remove debris and break up clods
  • Drying – Spread the entire sample onto paper towels to air dry (Do NOT dry in the oven)
  • Final Sample Size – about 2 cups
  • Container for shipping – clean plastic bag or container
  • Label and record in your gardening notes – the area sampled and the date
  • Send to the Colorado State Soil Testing Lab
  • The minimum charge per soil test is $12