Here at the Salt Lake County Extension office, we get oodles of questions on soil testing – how to, why do, and um what am I supposed to decipher from these results! I like to stress that soil testing does not give you all the answers, but is important baseline information for properly managing soils and fertilizing plants. In fact “regular testing helps develop and maintain more productive soils for farming, gardening, and landscaping. Soil tests indicate whether plant nutrients are deficient and, if so, what amounts are needed for optimum growth. Soil testing is also a useful diagnostic tool to identify problems related to excessive levels of nutrients and salts, high pH, low organic matter, and poor drainage. When properly interpreted, soil tests increase profits in agricultural production systems and promote more favorable conditions for productive and aesthetically pleasing gardens and landscapes”.
So clearly soil testing is an important part of savvy gardening – but understanding the ins and outs of soil testing is equally important to sending your sample in to be tested. Check out these fact sheets linked under ‘Testing’ for the ABC’s and 123’s of soil testing and understanding your results!