soil sample - Knowledgebase Question

Rock Hill, So
Question by institches
February 7, 2010
is there an easier laymans method to soil sampling besides county ext's and the 24 dollar home sampler? thanks


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Answer from NGA
February 7, 2010

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Soil sample testing is usually done by a lab and the results will give you a profile of your particular soil, what it contains, what it needs and the current level of acidity or akalinity. You can garden without a soil test. And, if you take a little time to observe what native plants grow in your immediate area, you'll have a good idea of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. For instance, common hackberry and Carolina coralbead grow in your region both have a preference for acidic soil so it's safe to assume your soil is on the acidic side. Choosing garden plants with a preference for acidic soils will ensure their success. If you're interested in growing vegetables which prefer a more neutral soil pH, you can spread lime over the bed in the fall and by springtime the lime will have mellowed the soil and made it more neutral. Another way to manage your soil is to amend it with organic matter. Compost will loosen the soil, and add nutrients as it decomposes. I usually spread 4-5 inches over the bed and dig it in to a depth of 8-10 inches, then level and plant. After planting spread another 2-3 inches of compost over the bare soil to help suppress weeds and to slow water evaporation. Several years of this routine will result in rich garden loam where most plants will thrive. Best wishes with your garden!

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