Learn how to do a soil test with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
With Spring in the air, it’s time to start digging in the dirt and planting your favorite flowers and plants. There are a few tasks you’ll need to complete before you start planting – one of them being a soil test. Learn how to do a soil test with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Why should you do a soil test?
Your soil can affect how grass, plants and flowers all grow in your yard. Before you even start planting or spreading seed, you should test the soil pH. The pH of soil measures the amount of lime in your soil, and the type of soil you have. Soil pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 0 being acidic and 14 being alkaline. The optimal point on the scale is 7, which is considered neutral or balanced. Although, some plants do better with a slightly more acidic soil of 5 or 6. Once you know where your soil lands on the pH scale, you can add amendments to neutralize it.
How to Test Your Soil
Doing a Soil Test with a Soil Test Kit
You can use a simple soil test kit to test soil pH. A test kit can help you determine which nutrients you need to add to the soil in order to make it more acidic or alkaline. You can acidify your soil using garden sulphur or a soil acidifier. To lower the acidity, add garden lime to the soil.
Doing a Soil Test with Vinegar and Baking Soda
There are also ways to test your soil using common household items, like vinegar and baking soda. Take a few spoonfuls of your garden soil and put them into two separate containers. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to one of the containers. If the vinegar causes a fizzing reaction, you have alkaline soil. If there was no reaction, test with baking soda. In the other container, add two teaspoons of distilled water and 1/2 cup of baking soda. If the baking soda causes a fizzing reaction, you have acidic soil. If there is no reaction to either test, you have neutral soil.
Once you’ve tested your soil, you can figure out what you need to add to it (if anything) to make it neutral and healthy for plant growth. Learn more about changing the pH levels of your soil with our Gardener’s Guide to Soil pH. For more tips on gardening, soil health and making your lawn and garden grow, visit our Gardening and Lawn Care blogs.