4 Simple Soil Tests to Help you Understand the Properties of Your Soil

You may make decisions about what has to be done to make your soil suitable for the plants you wish to grow by learning as much as you can about it. You may prevent the disappointing outcomes that can happen when your soil is improper for your ideal garden if you can learn about the texture, composition, drainage, acidity, and mineral density of your soil.

Test One: Squeeze Test

The composition of soil is one of its most fundamental properties. Soils are often categorized as clay, sandy, or loamy soils. Although rich in nutrients, clay drains slowly. Sand drains quickly but has a hard time holding onto moisture and nutrients. Because it holds onto moisture and nutrients without becoming permanently wet, loam is often regarded as the optimum soil type.
Take a handful of damp, but not wet, soil from your garden, and give it a good squeeze to assess the sort of soil you have. Open your hand now. Any one of the following will occur:

1. It will maintain its form, but if you lightly poke it, it will collapse. You are fortunate to have rich loam, so!
2. It will maintain its form and clings obstinately to your hand when prodded. You have clay soil, then.
3. As soon as you open your palm, it will crumble. You have sandy soil, thus this indicates.

You may try to improve your soil now that you are aware of the kind you have.

Test Two: The Percolation Test in Soil

Identifying whether or not you have drainage issues is also crucial. If their roots remain too damp, certain plants, including several culinary herbs, may ultimately perish. Test the drainage of your soil here:

1. Make a hole that is a foot deep and six inches broad.
2. Water should entirely drain after being poured into the hole.
3. Once again, fill it with water.
4. Note the length of time it takes for the water to drain.

You have poor drainage if it takes the water more than four hours to drain.

Test Three: The Worm Test in Soil Testing

Worms are excellent indicators of the biological activity and general health of your soil. The likelihood is that if you have earthworms, you also have all of the helpful bacteria that promote healthy soil and robust plants. Making the worm test:

1. Check to see whether the soil has reached a temperature of at least 55 degrees and is at least moderately damp, but not drenched.
2. Create a hole that is one foot wide and one foot deep. Put the dirt on a piece of cardboard or a sheet.
3. As you re-fill the hole with dirt, sift it with your hands and count the earthworms as you go.

Your soil is in excellent condition if you detect at least 10 worms. Less than that might mean that your soil is either too acidic or alkaline, or that there isn't enough organic matter to maintain a robust worm population.

Test Four: Soil's pH Test

Your soil's pH (acidity level) has a significant impact on how effectively your plants develop. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being very acidic and 14 being extremely alkaline. Most plants thrive in soil that has a pH between six and seven, which is quite neutral. Plants just won't grow as well as they should if the pH is more than eight or less than five.

pH test kits are available at any garden and home store. These kits are quite accurate, but you must carefully adhere to the testing guidelines. You may start trying to fix the issue after you determine if the pH of your soil is a problem or not.

The next step is to get in touch with your local cooperative extension office if you discover that after doing all of these tests and amending the soil as necessary to address the problems, your plants are still having a hard time. They'll explain how to get a soil sample and submit it to their lab for examination. They will provide a report with recommendations on how to address any mineral shortages in your soil.

These tests are easy and affordable methods to make sure your garden has the finest possible foundation.
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