Soil Tests


Soil test kits are one of the most under-used tools for backyard homesteaders in their gardens.  Most gardeners seem to prefer to treat all soil as equal, equally bad, or equally good.  Adding compost and fertilizer to every square inch of growing space, and treating soil for every crop that goes in.  But money and hours of hard work can be saved though testing your soil for pH and mineral content.



Without knowing what the pH of their soil is, most people will add acidic soil amendments like elemental sulfur to their soil if they are planting crops like blueberries that thrive in acidic soils.  But what if your soil is already acidic?  Then you will waste your money on the soil amendments, and likely damage or even kill your blueberries that you spent time and energy planting.

Mineral Content

If you have a large garden, then more than likely you are composting more than just kitchen waste.  You probably go out of your way to gather material like leaves that require raking, or even going and getting bags of coffee grounds from your local coffee shop.  Then, if you don’t test your soil, you probably apply that compost to every area of your garden.  But time, energy, and resources can be saved if you test your soil.  Areas that are rich in minerals can be maintained simply by mulching with comfrey and wood chips.

Guess Work

Knowing the soil in each area of your garden will give you a better idea of where to plant what, and will help in determining why some crops might not be doing as well as you would like them to be doing.


Soil tests don’t need to be performed regularly, they don’t take long, and don’t cost much.  But they can give you valuable knowledge about the soil in your garden.

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