Soil testing is essential for gardening success, especially if you intend to grow plants such as blueberries, rhodendrons or azaleas, that prefer growing in acidic soil.
Garden soil testing will tell you the exact pH of the soil in your garden. Levels below seven indicate acidity, while levels above seven indicate alkalinity.
A simple garden soil test kit that you can buy at your local garden center will tell you the exact pH of your soil if that is your only concern.
An alternative to a chemical test kit is a simple pH meter. When the probe on the pH meter makes contact with the soil, the meter will give you an acurate reading of the current pH of your garden soil.
A pH meter is great if you grow a lot of plants in raised beds or containers. Be sure to keep the probe clean and dry when not in use.
Soil tests done by a lab can tell you a lot more about your soil than a simple soil test done at home.
A lab test can show any possible deficiencies in your soil. This information helps you decide which additives your soil needs and which ones you should avoid.
If you decide to have a lab test, you will need to send them a soil sample. Once they analyze the sample, they will send you a list of what is missing in your garden soil. The lab will also send a list of recommended additives to correct the deficiences and the pH of your garden soil.
Take the time to find out which additives are approved for organic gardening, if this is important to you. If a recommendation is on the list that is not approved, find an alternative organic additive.
The list of approved organic additives is not set in concrete, so even if you used an additive before, take the time to make sure it is still on the list of approved additives for organic gardens.
Want to know more?
101 Organic Gardensing Tips is choke full of information on soil testing, what certain weeds tell you about your soil and many other cool organic gardening tips!