Brian Jervis asks a master gardener
I was told I should do a soil test. Do I have to wait to do this until the spring growing season? – MM
Testing the soil to determine soil nutrient levels is one of the best and most profitable things you can do for your lawn or garden, and now is the perfect time. Here’s what you need to know and why.
To get your soil sample, you will need two things: something to dig and a bucket. We have special tools available at the OSU extension office here in Tulsa to collect soil samples, but a hand trowel or bulb planter will work.
First, determine the soil you want to test as there are different nutrient requirements for different areas, depending on what you are growing. For example, if you test the soil in your garden bed where your azaleas are located, that area will have unique nutrient needs compared to your lawn or vegetable patch.
Then you will need to collect 15-20 samples from the area. If this is for your lawn, take samples from the entire yard. Make sure you dig about 6 inches as the soil test is calibrated on samples 6 inches deep.
As you collect your samples, drop them in your bucket. When you are done, mix up the soil and pick up any debris such as sticks, grass, or twigs. When finished, fill something the size of a sandwich bag with your sample and take it to the OSU Extension Office (4116 E. 15th St.). They will prepare your sample for analysis and collect $ 10 for the test fee (cash or check).