Want a healthier garden? Test your soil.

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A typical take a look at will take a look at natural matter, nutrient ranges and the soil’s pH. Checks don’t normally measure nitrogen. A soil pH that’s too excessive (fundamental) or too low (acidic) means vitamins aren’t out there to the crops, even when they’re within the soil, says Shannon Alford, the director of the Agricultural Service and Fertilizer laboratories at Clemson College. The specified pH relies on what you are rising and the kind of soil. “Most crops develop properly in a impartial pH of 6.0-7.0,” Alford says. Some crops, equivalent to blueberries, azaleas and camellias, choose extra acidic soil.

Most soil assessments don’t search for contaminants, equivalent to lead, however some locations, such because the lab at Rutgers, provide it as a further service. This take a look at isn’t essential in case you’re rising timber or shrubs, however in case you’re planting vegetables and fruit, you wish to know if there may be lead within the soil, says Bennett. For detailed contaminant testing, together with heavy metals equivalent to arsenic, cadmium or mercury, Murphy recommends going to an authorized environmental testing laboratory.

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