Soil test

first_imgHow much fertilizer should I put out in my garden? Do I need to add anything else? You don’t have to wonder about these things when there is a simple solution: a soil test. And University of Georgia Cooperative Extension can help.You can pick up small soil-test-sample bags from your county UGA Extension office or call to have them mailed to you. If you need any help, ask your local UGA Extension agent. They have publications and advice on the best way to take a soil sample.A small hand trowel and a bucket are ideal to collect the sample. Randomly select several sites in your garden to take the sample. Make sure you select enough sites to represent the soil in your garden.Use a trowel to dig a hole 8 to 12 inches deep. From the side of this hole, slice off a 1-inch section of soil from the ground surface to the bottom of the hole. Put this in your bucket.Take other samples like this at several places in your garden, and then thoroughly mix the sampled soil. Place the mixed sample in the soil-test-sample bag.Fill out the information on the bag, including your name, address and the county you live in. Select “routine soil test” as the test you want to run. For the crop, write in “vegetable garden.”Then take the sample to your county UGA Extension office. It will go from there to the soil test lab in Athens, Ga. The cost for a single sample starts at $8.The results of the soil test will show you how much fertilizer to use and whether your pH is low.The pH is a measure of soil acidity, which is important in how well plants can take up nutrients. Problems with low pH can be corrected with applications of lime. Old-timers used to call this “sweetening the soil.”So don’t guess, even if you’re good at it. Test your soil. Take the mystery out of feeding your plants.To find the UGA Extension office closest to you, check online at or call 1-800-ASK-UGA1. George BoyhanUniversity of Georgialast_img read more