WHY IS TESTING SOIL IMPORTANT?
You shouldn’t wait for poor vegetative growth before testing your soils, in fact, it should be done seasonally in order to have an idea of how your soils replenish themselves. It also is helpful to realize what natural soil deficiencies may be present in your location, and what nutrients are lost through the growing season.
Healthy lawn and garden beds require some very specific nutrients that work together to allow for plant growth and production. A soil test kit allows you to measure the amounts of these nutrients, as well as pH values to help you decide what fertilizers and soil amendments might be needed for healthier soil. Kits vary in their appearance, but all work in a similar manner using testing tubes, chemical reaction capsules, distilled water, and a small soil sample. The nutrients measured are:
Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen is the main component of chlorophyll, which is what plants use to convert sunlight into energy through the process of photosynthesis. It also supports amino acids, the building block of the plant itself.
Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus is essential for plant growth and plays a vital role in photosynthesis, energy storage, and cell growth. Without it, plants will not mature or produce properly.
Potassium (K): Potassium helps control the movement of water, nutrients, and carbohydrates in plant tissues. It also regulates photosynthesis, exchanges of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and is required for plant growth. This is also called Potash.
pH Levels: Many plants thrive in a soil pH level between 6.5 and 7.0 because this is where most available minerals and nutrients thrive. Certain plants may prefer a more acidic or basic soil, so be sure to know what requirements your plants have for optimal growth.