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Soil Testing Can Save You Money Later


Soil Sampling  Probe Image Credit: Eddie Powell

Soil Sampling Probe
Image Credit: Eddie Powell

Often, vegetable gardeners that I work with through the Walton County Extension office pose the question: Why should I take a soil sample?

I always answer that soil testing will determine whether lime and fertilizer need to be applied to the soil to support good plant growth.

Soil sampling must be done prior to the planting of crops so that it can be determined whether or not adequate levels of nutrients are present in the soil and if the pH is at the proper level for the type of crop grown.  The test results of these soil samples will also indicate the amount of fertilizer that should be applied to the garden.

Keep in mind that this test only tells you the amount of fertilizer (if any) to add to the soil, and does not specify when and how often it should be applied. Such information can be gathered at your local Extension Office.

It is best to consult with your local extension agent once you have received your soil results so that he or she can advise you on the proper steps to take as to when and how to apply fertilizer and/or lime to the soil. Also, refer to this publication for tips on soil testing for the home vegetable garden.

Soil testing will save money in the long run and is the most important step that is taken in preparing garden soils for good plant growth. Remember, the fall growing season is the time to do your soil testing for the spring. Contact your Local UF/IFAS Extension Office for a soil test kit.


Author: Eddie Powell – pep5@ufl.edu

Residential Horticulture
Educate the residents of Walton County who are unfamiliar with growing certain landscape and vegetable plants that grow in north Florida. Provide homeowners with information about why a good looking healthy lawn is important. Teaching proper fertilization and irrigation practices for successful backyard gardening and container gardening.
Master Gardener Coordinator
Develop in-school programs with use of Master Gardeners to reach school kids and youth. Also provide educational programs for developing community gardens and provide educational material at local festivals.


Eddie Powell

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/08/12/soil-testing-can-save-you-money-later/