How to test your soil? 7 Simple soil tests you can do yourself

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Soil which provides nutrients and serves as a foundation for plants is made up of minerals, organic matter, air, and water. Testing soil is one of the most significant steps to prepare for planting. To do this gardeners should follow the steps including ribbon test, worm count, and drain test. This article will show you how to test your soil step-by-step.

7 Simple method to test your soil

1. Easy Fertilization When the Soil is Tested

how to test your soil

One of the many things that many gardeners do these days is to get their very own test kit as far as getting their soils tested goes. They understand that they will need to take steps to assess and evaluate the kind of soil that they have at home before they will even decide to start planting on them. Being aware of the kind of soil that they have on their respective yards ensures that when they decide to get the soil ready for planting, they know what it needs and what it lacks so they can make the whole setting ideal for their plants’ needs.

What is good with getting these test kits these days is that they tend to be easy to come by. They are available for people that wish to take advantage of them so getting more ideas on what kind of home soil you have is going to be a lot easier to achieve. It is important to note too that people will not only stop testing after they have done the first try. They will need to get the task carried out through the whole planting season as the soil quality can easily change along the way. Then, adjustments can be done to address whatever problems the soil may have.

2. Ribbon Test

This type of test requires one to get a handful of soil and have it moistened. It needs to reach a putty-like consistency. Once it has achieved the right texture, it needs to be squeezed between the fingers to help create a ribbon made from dirt. If it turns out that the soil seems to be a little too gritty for holding a shape, it is considered to be sandy. If the ribbon will break after it has reached about an inch or two, the soil is classified as loamy- which means that it is going to be evenly proportioned when it comes to silt, clay, and sand. This is the kind of soil that is considered perfect for planting garden plants. For ribbons that reach two and a half inches or more, it is considered to be clayey. To make clayey and sandy soil healthier, compost needs to be added to them.

3. Worm Count

Another test that one can do to evaluate the type of soil at home is the worm count. What should be done is in the area where you wish to get the planting done, you will need to dig a hole that is 1 by 1 by 1 foot in dimension. You will then need to sift through the dirt that you have dug to count the number of earthworms that are present. Getting done is an indication that there is actually a flourishing life under the ground. If the numbers you get are lacking, you may need to add organic materials to boost the current subterranean environment. Shortage of worms may be an indication of the presence of chemical pollutants as well. For comprehensive testing, sending samples to the local university is never a bad idea.

4. Drain Test

In this test, you are going to need to use the hole that you dug for the worm count. You will need to have it filled with water. And you need to observe how long it is going to take for the water to drain. You have to specifically watch out for those instances where the area took more than an hour to get the water drained. This is because such a situation can be an indication that there is a drainage problem in this setting. As such, it would do you a lot of good to actually decide to plant somewhere else.

With all these tests being easy enough for one to perform, people who wish to start planting soon are encouraged to use them whenever they have to decide which part of their yards will be most ideal for their planting needs. People must get these tests carried out so they are at least sure that they will be exposing their plants to an environment that will be ideal for their growth. Thus, they are confident that they will indeed see thriving, healthy, and lush plants growing in these areas.


1. What is needed to test soil for nutrients?

The tools which are needed are a trowel, a flat container, and a quart jar. The materials include a spoon, a soil test kit, and distilled water.

2. What does good garden soil look like? 

You can see that the soil in a good garden should be a nice, dark, black color. Unhealthy soil is brown and dry.

Final thoughts

Above are the ways on how to test your soil step-by-step. Hopefully, gardeners can follow the steps to facilitate plant growth. Gardeners also need to notice that soil tests can be best performed at any time but fall or early spring is preferred because adjustments can be made before planting. 

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