Updated: Jul 6, 2020
Summer is here and we are ready to start planting! Grading is being completed, water is being sourced, and pieces are falling into place. One of the first things that we completed was a soil test.
The process is fairly simple if you are looking to start a small garden in your backyard (whether it be raised beds or pots). We ordered a soil testing kit from the UGA extension, which cost only $15. This soil test gave us great insight to what nutrients are needed to allow our plants to thrive. This soil test takes out guessing games and potentially losing any crops.
If you are not in Georgia, there are local county extensions in your state.
How to Collect
Dig 6 inches deep
Combine soil from multiple areas where you are planning on planting
Let the soil dry out completely before you send it off
Within two weeks - you will have your results! Simple enough, right?
What We Learned
We took two samples from two different areas we plan to grow in. We were able to find that the pH balance was a bit low. What’s even cooler about the extension is that they also told us how to remedy this.
Apply 1 tablespoon of borax per 100 feet of row to broccoli and root crops such as turnips and beets. This can be applied by mixing the borax thoroughly with approximately 1 quart of soil in a container and then applying the mixture along the row; or it can be mixed with a quart of water and applied to the soil in solution.
For better fertilizer availability on sandy soils, apply half of the recommended fertilizer just before planting and the remainder when the crop is half grown. In years with unusually heavy rainfall on sandy soils, 3 pounds of 34-0-0 or 2 pounds of 46-0-0 may be added to replace nutrients lost from the soil due to heavy rains.
This soil test was a huge help and time saver. If you're looking to start growing in your own backyard, get started by reaching out to your local extension!