Homegrown | How to Test Your Garden Soil


Hello, I’m Jeana Myers, and this is Homegrown
In the Garden. Today I’m going to talk about soil testing
because a lot of times people will call and ask, “How much fertilizer or lime should I
apply to my garden?” Well, there’s really no way that I can know
that unless they have done a soil test. They will oftentimes do that, but unfortunately,
they add compost before they actually utilize the results of the soil test. Compost is oftentimes very rich in nutrients,
and so that makes the soil test report sort of invalid at that point. What I always emphasize to people is that
if you’re going to add compost or you’re going to add any materials to your garden, add them,
and then soil test. What you’ll get from that soil test is information
about whether you need to add lime to raise the pH, or whether you need fertilizer, nitrogen,
phosphorus or potassium. So, how do you soil test? We have an amazing service here in North Carolina
with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services soil test lab. The soil test is free from April 1st through
November. So, there’s no reason not to get your soil
tested. They provide boxes and you will put your name
on it, a number. They have an information sheet that you will
fill out with your name and address and the number of the boxes. You can put up to six samples on it. The test is very simple. All you want to do is think about getting
an average of any given area. So for this one little garden bed, I would
go down, take a scoop, put it in the bucket. Take another scoop, about zero to six inches
for a garden bed, zero to four inches for a lawn, and you’re going to take them in multiple
areas, and then you mix it all together and fill up the box to the red line. That’s all you have to do for a good quality
soil test sample. And then, you will submit these to the lab
and during the summer months, it’s usually about a seven to 14-day turnaround period. What you’ll get is a great report telling
you what you need to apply to your garden, and we are happy at that point to help you
best understand the soil test information that you’ll get.

2 thoughts on “Homegrown | How to Test Your Garden Soil

  1. So confused! Do I test before or after adding compost? 1st you say compost compromises the validity of the test then you recommend getting sample after adding compost!

  2. wow hi Gina! we’ve missed Almanac Gardener and wonder if Mike is ok. just found this channel and will subscribe if you have anything to do with it. long time fan!

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