Everyone does better with a checkup, and so does your soil! Among the many things you have to consider while prepping your garden for the season, soil testing is one of the most important things you can do. But did you know that you can give your soil a checkup without having to send it off to a local lab? Follow along and discover how you can help your harvest thrive with a quick, store-bought DIY testing kit.
How Do DIY Testing Kits Work?
Healthy plant growth is heavily dependent on the quality of your soil, and testing kits give you a breakdown of its composition. Many soil kits come complete with a test for pH levels. All it takes is a small soil sample and a little bit of water to tell if you’re working with soil that’s too acidic or too alkaline (also referred to as “basic” on some tests).
Likewise, testing kits help determine your soil’s fertility and nutrient deficiencies by measuring the levels of the three elements that are essential to the health and growth of every plant—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (sometimes referred to as “potash” on select tests). Many tests work off a scale of “low,” “medium,” or “high,” while others use a scale of “deficient,” “adequate,” or “surplus.”
The Benefits of Soil Testing Kits
While soil tests only provide an overview of four different aspects of your soil, their results go a long way in helping you get the most out of your garden. They help you plan out the rate, timing, and placement of your fertilizer use. Meaning, you’re able to avoid using too much fertilizer— which can contaminate the rest of your yard and leach essential nutrients from your soil—helping your lawn and garden stay happy and healthy.
That’s not all. Soil tests give you the info you need to fight off weeds by helping you determine if you need to apply lime to correct overly acidic soil, or organic material to counteract overly basic soil. And, they save you money by helping you determine just how much lime, fertilizer, or other organic material you’ll need to buy and apply to avoid any major nutrient deficiencies or pH imbalances. Best of all, they help you optimize the production and quality of your plants and crops, so you can enjoy a bountiful harvest and beautiful blooms all summer long! So, head to your nearest hardware store or garden center, grab a kit, get outside, and test it out! Your crops will thank you later.