For many people, soil is just dirt and it’s all the same. However, to gardeners and lawn lovers, soil is the lifeblood of the all-important plants and grasses that are growing on their property. Since soil is so important to healthy green plants, its chemical makeup and nutrient balance needs to be monitored regularly to ensure that the soil is healthy and can properly support all of this greenery. A soil test should be done every 3-5 years, and there are a few different methods to get the results you need to ensure your soil stays balanced and healthy.
If you’re looking for extremely precise results, the best option for soil testing is to send a sample to your local county extension office. This is most often free of charge or has a very low cost associated with it, but it can take a few weeks to get the results back. However, the time will be worth it as a professional analysis will have very precise readings on the nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium levels within the soil along with detailed instructions on how to correct any issues that are found within these levels. It’s an excellent resource for anyone hoping to pinpoint specific issues and deal with them directly instead of utilizing blanket solutions that won’t achieve the perfect balance of soil nutrients.
Soil Test Kit
If you’re looking for faster results with a little less precision, home soil test kits can be bought at many garden centers and hardware stores. These give you the opportunity to do the test at home and receive almost instant results, though they won’t be as specific and you’ll have to research how to correct any issues that are detected by the test. Sometimes convenience is important, and the test will still give you a solid overview of where your soil is lacking so that you can take steps to improve its nutrient balance.
For a very generalized idea of how well your soil is doing, an earthworm test is quick and works well. To do this, simply take your garden trowel and dig up around 1 cubic foot of soil from your lawn or garden. Spread the soil out on a flat surface of some kind and check for earthworms. If you count at least 10 earthworms, your soil is considered fairly healthy. If there are less than 10 earthworms, your soil is lacking in some way and requires adjustments to reach a healthier state.
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