Updated on 19 October, 2021
Home Soil Testing can be a daunting task for those not trained in this field. Especially if you grow food from one section of your lawn and your children play on another, it's important to comprehend what's in your soil first. Home Soil Testing, whether online or mailed in, is usually the way to discover what's missing. Optimal soil consists of micro-nutrient rich soil, regular humus and certain minerals which all interact together to offer plants the correct ingredients for optimal growth.
There are two primary methods used for home soil testing; dry bulk testing and water testing. Typically, dry bulk testing is less expensive than water testing. If you're just testing the pH, salt and carbon content then you'll need a small test kit and use it several times throughout the growing season to ensure proper Ph levels.
Most companies will dig your healthy soil as well as your plantings for you at no charge. A soil testing kit includes a small tester and plastic container with holes in it. When the tester hits the soil, it will give a fairly accurate reading. For larger plants, most companies will dig three or four inches deeper to reach deeper layers of healthy soil and clay.
In order to determine what is in your soil, do some research. The most common problem plants have when they're sprayed with pesticides is that they develop a root tip too high, their roots don't reach the earth or they become too acidic. Home Soil Testing kits can be used for both soil pH and acidity testing. Usually, the ph balance isn't terribly accurate for smaller plants, but it can still be used as a guideline. When you're replanting your plants, make sure to dig the hole a bit deeper than you would for planting new plants.
Many garden centers carry testing kits for both potassium and calcium, as well as many other elements. Potassium and Calcium are good to keep an eye on during gardening as they affect a number of plants and animals. Home Soil Testing kits can also be used to test for nitrates.
Nitrites and Fertilizers - both are often necessary for successful garden crops. If your plants don't get enough nutrients, they won't grow well and may even die. Home Soil Testing kits can be used to check both soil pH and nitrates. Potassium and Calcium can be checked during the spring when you water plants, while nitrates are usually found during the fall or winter months when most gardeners are watering their plants.
Home Soil Testing kits are also useful for determining what type of fertilization is needed to improve your lawn. Usually, your local garden center will have these available, and it's a good idea to have a few soil samples on hand so that you can compare them. For example, one sample of a flowerbed may be completely different from another because of the chemical makeup of the fertilizer being used. A home soil testing kit can help you figure out exactly what you need to use to improve your lawn. It can also save you money by allowing you to do your own testing instead of having to purchase a kit from a gardening supply store.
Once you have a handful of samples from various locations in your lawn, you can start planting. You'll need to have a large container for the soil testing so that you can collect samples and test the soil at the same time. Using a small, plastic container provides minimal protection for the test, and a larger container provides better coverage so that you can observe the growth and see the results of your efforts.