Soil testing: The process at the North Carolina state soil lab

The inch and a half of snow we got from the Blizzard of 2014 is melting today (by Sunday, it should be 60 degrees). It was fun and pretty while it lasted, but now that large patches of  mud are visible between the–drifts?–of snow, I’m thinking about spring.

Spring means soil testing for me this year, as I didn’t get my samples in before the fall cutoff. Due to high volume of sample processing, the state has begun charging a fee for samples submitted between December and March. It’s otherwise a free service, and while the fee is a mere $4, it’s the principle of the thing.

soil test for quince bed

A soil test report for one of my garden beds, taken last winter.

I’ve often wondered what happens at the soil lab. We send off a box of dirt, and we get back a detailed report showing levels of nutrients, organic matter, and pH, and recommendations for improvements based on what we plan to grow in each plot or bed sampled. And then the other day, I happened across this video, and my questions are resolved.

Growing a Greener World is an excellent series broadcast on many local PBS affiliates, or you can watch them online.


1 thought on “Soil testing: The process at the North Carolina state soil lab

  1. Pingback: Muddy boot realities: February means being patient. | MissingHenryMitchell

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