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Vegetable Gardening: Home Soil Testing

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Forum: Vegetable GardeningReplies: 8, Views: 64
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Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 23, 2014
11:46 AM

Post #9796145

Just curious what you all think. I moved my veggie garden and have new beds/soil for this year. The beds are filled with native soil and compost from the community compost. I want to check my soil before planting (still a long way off) and would like to hear comments and suggestions from you guys about what tests are necessary (is pH and NPK enough or should I check calcium, iron and magnesium, too? Magnesium is so important for things like tomatoes, but I don't think most soils are too deficient in it) and, the best way to get the test done. The UofM extension service will do a basic pH NPK test for $17, Ca, Mg are another $7. I can buy a soil test kit, which I am leaning towards for $17-$35 depending on what the kit tests and how many tests are included. The one that seems to everywhere is the Rapitest ( by Lusterleaf)-any yeas, nays or comments about this test or suggestions for another?
Thanks for your input!
Sierra Vista, AZ
(Zone 8b)

March 23, 2014
2:08 PM

Post #9796228

Most of what I hear about home soil kits is bad--not repeatable, different results from different brands, etc. I'd recommend going with professional tests from your Extension service.


Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 24, 2014
1:30 AM

Post #9796584

I bought the Rapidtest kit once. It was WAY off.

I agree: get the one from Extension.
Starkville, MS
(Zone 8a)

March 24, 2014
9:10 AM

Post #9796913

Your extension service is the way to go. They can not only give you accurate results but also give you advice on how to improve the numbers and thus the soil.

Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 24, 2014
11:28 AM

Post #9797020

Thanks! As soon as the snow is off and the ground is thawed, I'll send them in-thinking one for each bed since they were filled at different times.
Sunnyvale, CA
(Zone 10a)

March 24, 2014
12:05 PM

Post #9797055

I've used the Lamotte Gardener's soil test kit. From what I've heard, it's a lot better than the usual consumer-grade test kits. But all the fussing around with test tubes and cleanup seemed like a hassle. I'm more inclined to send out a sample to be professionally analyzed in the future.
Sierra Vista, AZ
(Zone 8b)

March 24, 2014
1:03 PM

Post #9797085

Another tool that I think is OK at home is a real pH tester, but they run over $100 AND require frequent calibration with a test solution, which also costs extra (after maybe a small amount included with the original purchase). I keep thinking I'll buy one, just for the geek in me.
Talihina, OK

March 28, 2014
5:08 PM

Post #9800010

What our EXT service say to do is take a sample from several spots around and mix it thoroughly and just send it the one sample Here in Oklahoma they send you back a printed sheet telling just how much of whatever is needed per acre whith a conversion table to get it to the apropo Square footing
Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 28, 2014
7:21 PM

Post #9800102

As soon as the snow melts (hopefully this weekend it will be gone!) I will send in my samples-thanks for the info!!!!

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