It ’ s Best to Soil Test in February!
By Kaci Daniel, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Unit Coordinator
When the first signs of spring arrive, many Orange residents will be raring to go with yard work and gardening. This often includes applications of lime and fertilizer, but before you go that route, it ’ s best to take a soil test so you know the nutrient contents of your soil. Taking a soil test is easy and inexpensive, and soil test kits
are available from any Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) location. We are l in the Sedwick Building, located at 146 North Madison Road, Suite 102, Orange, Virginia. Using a small trowel, dig four inches into the soil and place that scoop of soil in a bucket or other mixing container. Repeat three to five times around your lawn or garden, adding to the bucket each time. Mix the soil well to ensure a random sample, and then fill a VCE soil sample box with your soil. Label the sample with your name and an identifier like front, back, yard, garden, or whatever makes sense to you. Complete the accompanying VCE soil test form, and mail the box of soil and completed form with a check for $10 per sample to the soils lab at Virginia Tech.
You only need separate soil tests where your fertilizer application might change. One sample is sufficient for most home lawns in this area; you may wish to send a second sample for a vegetable garden or specific flowers and shrubs. The routine soil test measures soil pH, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Iron,
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