speedster7926
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soil testing

ok im looking for a good soil tester but not expensive and easy to use cause im trying to see what my soil has or lacks but not sure how any ideas
Thanks for all the help and advice Daniel G.

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gixxerific
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The store bought kits are not favored as being very accurate. Even if they are close they won't give you much real information.

You might want to look into sending a sample to you local county extension office. They can give a more detailed, accurate rundown of your soil. It's usually around 10 dollars which you might spend close to that or more in the store.

[url=https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=southport+florida+county+extension&fb=1&gl=us&hq=county+extension&hnear=Southport,+FL&ei=uqw5TI2VFsX_nQec9LXYAw&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=image&resnum=4&ved=0CC0QtgMwAw]THis[/url] is what I came up with a Google search.

garden5
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gixxerific wrote:The store bought kits are not favored as being very accurate. Even if they are close they won't give you much real information.

You might want to look into sending a sample to you local county extension office. They can give a more detailed, accurate rundown of your soil. It's usually around 10 dollars which you might spend close to that or more in the store.

[url=https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=southport+florida+county+extension&fb=1&gl=us&hq=county+extension&hnear=Southport,+FL&ei=uqw5TI2VFsX_nQec9LXYAw&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=image&resnum=4&ved=0CC0QtgMwAw]THis[/url] is what I came up with a Google search.
I second this. If you are going to be amending your soil based on the results, you'll want to be good and sure that those results are right on. The best way to do that is to send in a sample to your local extension office. They may even give you a recommendation on how to amend you soil if something is off :).
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stella1751
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I sent mine to the state university. I believe the regular test (PH, macronutrients, tilthe, etc.) cost $40 or $50. I asked for a micronutrient analysis, too, so that made it more expensive. Oh. I also requested the test be done on top soil and subsoil because of the odd nature of my yard.

They were very nice. The graduate student who did the testing actually called me to discuss the results. I was advised to avoid salts, like potassium. When I mentioned a desire to use wood ash, she was horrified. Manure is actually a no-no here, too, because of the alkalinity of our soil.

It was a good experience and worth the money!
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gixxerific
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Stella's experience is the absolute reason you should go with a professional test and not the cheapo store bought ones. You won't get a detailed analysis from a live person with the Lowe's kit.

P.S. Glad you found out everything you needed to know Stella. I'm still one of those that hasn't had it done. But later this fall I will be sending in a sample. I need to know the makeup of my soil for next year. And the county Agg Ext is the way to go.
Last edited by gixxerific on Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sage Hermit
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I need to get on this. Thanks everyone.
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farmerlon
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stella1751 wrote:I sent mine to the state university. I believe the regular test (PH, macronutrients, tilthe, etc.) cost $40 or $50.
That pricing seems to be more of an exception... I think most states offer the soil tests for around $10 (or less).

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Sage Hermit
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its only 15 here.
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

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stella1751
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Wyoming might be pricier than the rest, probably because we want to discourage people from moving here as part of our evil plan to maintain the lowest population in the nation. Following is a break down on the basic tests:

Routine test (includes pH
Salts, organic matter,
phosphorus, nitrate-nitrogen
lime and texture) .................................................................. [ ] $20.00 [ ] $_________
SubSoil
Nitrate-nitrogen on SEPARATE
SubSoil accompanying routine
test on surface .................................................................. [ ] $ 4.00 [ ] $_________
Available potassium ............................................................. [ ] $ 4.00 [ ] $_________
Available iron ....................................................................... [ ] $ 4.00 [ ] $_________
Available zinc ....................................................................... [ ] $ 4.00 [ ] $_________

You can get more. Each additional micronutrient costs $4. I had the full battery of tests on my top soil and on my subsoil. Like I said, it was well worth the expense!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

planter
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I don't think I ever realized what detail soil testing could offer!!

I live under a cloak of Oaks and Pines so I always just figured my soil could use some lime periodically except my acid loving plants of course. I always tossed wood ash aimlessly around the yard and gardens and I buy bone meal or just toss bones in the compost bin and I'm always looking for Doo.

My plantings look "ok" but maybe a detailed analysis would inprove things. I know UMass does them and I beleive they are on the cheap side. I guess it's time to mix up a few samples and see what they say.

STELLA!!! It sounds like some sort of garden blasphemy to suggest avoiding potassium, wood ash and MANURE!!! Those things form the backbone of my soil here. What is your source of sufficient Nitrogen and don't you need it? :?

STELLA!!! Do you know how they test fot tilthe?? I thought you had to kneel down with another gardener crumbling up soil in you hand for that to be determined. :D The only places where I would call my soil tilthy is places I have worked hard.
Got anything good that's Z6 hardy?

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stella1751
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planter wrote:I don't think I ever realized what detail soil testing could offer!!

I live under a cloak of Oaks and Pines so I always just figured my soil could use some lime periodically except my acid loving plants of course. I always tossed wood ash aimlessly around the yard and gardens and I buy bone meal or just toss bones in the compost bin and I'm always looking for Doo.

My plantings look "ok" but maybe a detailed analysis would inprove things. I know UMass does them and I beleive they are on the cheap side. I guess it's time to mix up a few samples and see what they say.

STELLA!!! It sounds like some sort of garden blasphemy to suggest avoiding potassium, wood ash and MANURE!!! Those things form the backbone of my soil here. What is your source of sufficient Nitrogen and don't you need it? :?

STELLA!!! Do you know how they test fot tilthe?? I thought you had to kneel down with another gardener crumbling up soil in you hand for that to be determined. :D The only places where I would call my soil tilthy is places I have worked hard.
Planter, you have clearly watched "A Streetcar Named Desire." Your Brando imitation was dead on :lol:

Before I had my soil tested, I always used bagged manure as an amendment. I like it! Unfortunately, it adds to the alkalinity of the PH here, which can run pretty darned high. (Mine was 7.2) I compost. Lots. Now I just use compost. For nitrogen, I use fish emulsion in my compost tea. I really don't need any more. Oh. I like to use composted manure in my compost tea, too, but I don't think it's in large enough quantities to harm anything.

I tried to find my analysis, but I don't know what I did with it. What they do in the analysis is tell you how much you need to add of each macronutrient to make your soil perfect. My phosphorous and nitrogen were, like, .3 or .03; I can't remember which. My potassium, though, was something like -3 or -.3. So, no wood ash for me.

As for the tilth, they tell you whether you have loam, clay, or sand. I think mine was loam and clay. Maybe it was loamy clay or sandy loam. I will go crazy if I don't find that analysis!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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farmerlon
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stella1751 wrote:... I had the full battery of tests on my top soil and on my subsoil. Like I said, it was well worth the expense!
I agree... I was not doubting you on that at all. :D
I just didn't want others to be discouraged from having a good soil test done by their County Extension; I figured some folks would shy away from that if they thought it cost $40-$50 everywhere.

The Helpful Gardener
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$5 here in CT. State Extension service is the oldest in the nation, and a dang good deal. Good folks too; I have worked with many and am proud to call some friends. You should make friends too...

HG
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stella1751
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:$5 here in CT. State Extension service is the oldest in the nation, and a dang good deal. Good folks too; I have worked with many and am proud to call some friends. You should make friends too...

HG
HG, that's an excellent price. What do you get for $5?
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

The Helpful Gardener
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Same thing you get for $20...

FINALLY!

SOMETHING that's actually cheaper in Connecticut... :lol:

Same price for as long as I can remember...

HG
Scott Reil

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stella1751
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Wow. I thought I was just joking when I said we were trying to keep the population down by over-charging for soil analysis. My conspiracy-theory antenna is on the alert :lol:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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