I’ve been curious about my garden soil pH, so I impulse bought a soil test at the hardware store for a dollar or two. Most vegetables prefer a slightly acidic soil. (Here’s more about that from an extension publication.) Based on the results of this quick test the pH on my soil is slightly alkaline — not really what you want.
So now I’m really thinking I should get my soil professionally tested. It’s actually pretty easy, our local county extension office offers a standard soil test for $8 that covers phosphorus, potassium and pH. They ask you to mix together soil from multiple areas of your garden for the test, so that by itself can give me a clearer picture than this home test, which was only a sample from one corner of my garden.
If that test also shows a higher than optimal pH, I may need to add soil amendments to lower it. Not a big deal, just something you want to test, rather than guessing about.
So now I just need to get over to the county extension office with my garden soil sample. This is the week, I swear!
Followup: Our soil test results came back from the county, and they were lower than for the home test: 6.5, which is slightly acidic. So that’s good news! (Again, this is from a wider sample of garden soil, the home test just did one small spot.)