When you have the desire to create a beautiful garden, one of the most important ingredients is the soil. When you have a beautiful, rich, and healthy soil, your plants, flowers and vegetables will thrive. However, if there’s something off with your soil, you’ll find there is always something lacking in the way the your plants, flowers, and vegetables grow.
This is why it’s important to have a properly balanced soil. Your soil needs balanced pH levels as well as the correct nutrients and even some contaminants to stay healthy. Only then will everything grow correctly. One of the best ways to ensure your soil is properly balanced is a soil test. A soil test analyzes different samples of your soil to determine the levels of all these important factors, as well as ascertain your soil’s fertility.
Soil testing can be done by several different certified agents throughout the county, including many universities. In order to have your soil tested, you need to send in anywhere from 5-20 random samples of your garden soil. While you should talk to your soil tester to get exact requirements for their particular soil test, in general these samples should be around 12 inches deep into your soil. All samples should be placed within a plastic bucket and mixed well.
When you send you soil in for testing, there are three main categories that will be checked. The first category is major nutrients, which include phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. The second category is you secondary nutrients, such as magnesium, sulphur, and calcium. The third category is minor nutrients, which include iron, copper, zinc, chlorine, manganese, boron, and molybdenum. Your pH or acidity level will also be checked.
With the results of your soil testing, you will be informed on which areas of your soil need to be improved. This information will allow you to make the right choices as far as what types of soil additives or nutrients you could work into your soil. By making these changes, you can bring your soil into its proper balance, ensuring that anything you plant in that soil has the chance to grow healthy and strong.