Soil Testing Kit

When and Why to TestEdit


An example of a soil testing kit

Testing soil pH periodically will help ensure that you are getting the healthiest and largest yield of crops from your garden. Testing soil pH after each growing season is optimal in providing your plants an environment in which they are healthy and continue to produce high yields. It is always prudent to wait a year after soil amendments are added to make sure the proper changes have taken place.

What to Test ForEdit

pH - Soil pH is the factor which determines whether or not plants are able to consume nutrients. If the pH is too high or too low, nutrients in the soil "lock up", become unabsorbable by the plants, thus fertilizer not only goes to waste, but your plants literally starve to death.

Nitrogen - Adequate nitrogen produces luxuriant growth of stalks, stems, leaves, and grasses. Excessive nitrogen causes too rapid growth that results in softness of tissue and general plant weakness. Plants suffering from nitrogen deficiency are more susceptible to disease, infection, and injury. Plants given too much nitrogen resume active vegetable ("green") growth which retards flower and seed formation.

Phosphorous - Phosphorus gives plants a rapid start, stimulates root formation, hastens maturation, aids blooming and seed formation.

Potassium - Proper amounts of potassium stimulate early root or tuber formation which is essential for all underground vegetables and tuberous flowers. Excessive potash reduces a plant's resistance to droughts and frost injury and delays plant maturity.

What You Will NeedEdit


Another example of a home soil testing kit

General pH TestEdit

  • A soil sample
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Two sample containers

Accurate pH TestEdit

  • A soil sample
  • Soil test kit
  • Sample containers

General pH TestEdit

1.Scoop some soil into a container. Then, add a half-cup of vinegar. If the soil bubbles or fizzes, it is alkaline.

2. If there's no reaction, scoop a fresh soil sample into a second container. Add a half-cup of water and mix. Then, add a half-cup of baking soda. If the soil bubbles or fizzes the soil is highly acidic.

Accurate pH TestEdit

1. Purchase a soil testing kit. These can be found in most plant stores or in the gardening section of any home improvement store.

2. Follow the instructions included with the soil testing kit.

If Your Soil is AcidicEdit

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A bag of garden lime

If your soil is too acidic (A pH of less than 7) then effective amendments are:

  • Wood ash
  • Agricultural lime (WARNING: Slacked lime will react with fertilizer)
  • Limestone
  • Dolomite

If Your Soil is AlkalineEdit


Peat moss

If your soil is too basic or alkaline (A pH higher than 7) then effective amendments are:

  • Sulfur or Flowers of Sulfur
  • Iron sulfate
  • Aluminum sulfate
  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Peat moss
  • Leaf mold
  • Gypsum