How to Test Your Garden Soil

How to Test Your Garden Soil (10-24-2022)

Soil testing gives you a snapshot of the health and fertility of your garden soil. It takes the guesswork out of how much fertilizer and water to use. It also tells you if you have a deficiency in a micro or macro nutrient, and how alkaline or acidic your soil is. The test results will help you amend your soil for better plant growth.

You can bring soil samples to the Dec 1, 2022 Horticulture Committee meeting at Ellen Goulds home and Nan and Sherry will hand deliver your sample(s) to the CT Agricultural Experimental Station (CAES) in New Haven. There is no cost, and you will receive results by mail.

Here are the steps to get a good soil sample:

  • Dig several thin slices of soil with a shovel or trowel in the area you want to be tested (4-6” deep in the garden and 3-5” deep in lawns). Combine the slices in a bucket and mix thoroughly.
  • Do not combine samples from different areas if soil, fertilizer treatments or lime additions are different. Sample each area separately.
  • Place 2 cups of mixed soil in a ziplock bag. If the soil is wet, let it dry before sealing the bag.
  • Seal the bag and apply a label to the outside with the following information:
    • Your name and mailing address
    • The plants you are growing, or want to grow in the sampled area.
    • Any plant problems that have occurred.
    • State if you would like organic care instructions.

Questions? For more information on how to test your soil, read the CAES Soil Testing Brochure HERE.