Fall is typically the best time of year for a Soil Test—that way you can give your newly added amendments time to incorporate over the winter—But you can take a soil test most anytime during the year and still get value from it.
What’s the dirt on doing a Soil Test?
Getting your soil tested is the first step in identifying the baseline for your landscape. Many gardeners go for years and years without getting a soil test, only to find out a quick and simple reading would have saved them from an uphill battle of mysterious plant health in the meanwhile.
Soil tests are used to identify deficiencies in soil nutrients. However, most often we find the returned results show excess in a home garden! The actual problem often lies in the pH of the soil. A pH that is too acidic or too basic can lead to ionicexchange conditions that render your plentiful nutrients unavailable to your plants on an atomic level! So even if you have all the right elements in place your plants might not be benefitting from your hard work.
There is also information about local soil test labs that can be used to submit your samples. It will be the best $10-$20 you have spent on your garden yet!
Do you have several areas you want to test? Drop by the Carroll County Extension Office to checkout a Soil Sample Probe to speed up the process!