Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Soil Test

I am finally going to get a soil test.  I know I should have done this as soon as we moved in 4 years ago, but better late than never. I know our soil is pretty tough to work with from a gardening standpoint, but this way I know exactly how challenging it is.  It's pretty obvious that our soil is heavy clay (even Kate knows when I am digging up a new bed to throw the "yellow dirt" into the wheelbarrow so I can dump it in the back), and I am fairly certain it's on the alkaline side. I bought a cheap one today at Varnau's ($2.99) just because I was curious about how it worked.

I'm kind of excited to get the test done, and of course it is raining today so I can't dig the samples.  I'm going to have the two raised beds tested (I'm debating if I want to pay to have them tested separately or just test them together), and the lawn area (which honestly I don't really care about, but I know Mark would like it to look nicer and I really don't want him to have ChemLawn or something like that come).

I'll let you know the results when it comes back in.  One thing that I think is kind of ridiculous is that the Butler County OSU Extension office doesn't offer soil testing - the website has info about how to get a soil test from Michigan State University.  It just seems odd that as rural as parts of Butler County are, they don't have a local connection to soil tests, or even a soil testing lab at Ohio State!  So I guess I will be putting some dirt in a bag and mailing it to MSU with a check to have it analyzed.  If you're interested in a soil test, the info from the county extension can be found here.  A standard pH, P, Ca, K, Mg test is $12, and an organic matter test is another $5 (these are 2009 rates - if  you are reading this and it's no longer 2009, these prices may not be accurate - Google MSU soil testing lab for info on current prices).  So I'm getting both tests for the garden soil and just the standard test for the lawn.  It will cost $29 for everything, but it will be well worth it I think.  If  you are elsewhere in the country, contact your local extension office for soil testing, I have heard some offer it free or at a very reduced rate!

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