Soil testing is a must if you want to have a prolific homestead.
I plan to sell vegetables and plants at our local farmer’s market and straight here from the homestead. In order to do that I want my plants to be great! But what makes a plant great and nutritious?
In a previous post I explained how great seeds make great plants, but that’s only half the battle. If your soil doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to pass on to the plants, your veggies will be stunted and disease might set in.
My garden has been up and running for three years now. This will be our fourth year. We have had some disease in our plants and tremendous growth in others. The University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture recommends soil testing every 3-4 years. We have never had ours tested, so I decided it was high time.
After much research I have learned a few things about soil sampling.
There are 3 main reasons why soil testing is beneficial.
Nutrients: Testing the soil tells you which nutrients are lacking. Some plants need phosphorous and potassium while others need nitrogen. If you’re soil is lacking in these nutrients your plants will not grown.
PH-Levels: Making sure the nutrients that are in the soil get to the plant is determined by your soil’s ph-level. Some plants thrive in acidic soil (like strawberries and blueberries) while other need an alkaline soil (like okra and squash). Knowing the ph-level of your soil helps you supplement what you need to restore balance to your soil.
Fertilizer Needs: Plant food makes for a healthy garden. Whether you choose to purchase fertilizer or use your own organic matter soil testing helps give you a better indication of how you need to fertilize.
All of my information I’m gaining from my local county extension office, so if you haven’t been to yours you should go. They are there to help and walk you through the processes needed to have a prolific garden!
In the next post, I’ll walk you through actually taking a soil sample. It’s trickier than you might think and not as simple as it sounds. Stay with me as I show you why to test your soil, how to test your soil and then how to understand your test results.
Do you plan to test your soil this season?