Hand holding soil created from home composting kitchen scraps or vegetables and fruit along with fall leaves and grass clippings.
Home - Garden
Simple DIY Methods For Checking The Health Of
Your Soil
Squeeze Test
The squeeze test is a quick way to find out if your soil is predominantly clay, sand, or loam. Just gently squeeze a sample of moist soil from your garden in your palm.
If the soil crumbles immediately, it’s sandy. If it holds its shape and molds easily, it’s clay. If it holds its shape but crumbles easily, it’s likely loamy, ideal for gardening.
pH Test
Soil pH plays a crucial role in plant growth and nutrient availability, and a pH test helps you determine if your soil is within the optimal range for your plants.
Collect soil samples from different areas of your garden and remove any debris. Place each sample in separate containers and add distilled water for a water-to-soil ratio of 2:1.
Stir each mixture, let it sit for 15 minutes, then dip a pH test strip into each. Remove the pH test strip and compare its color with the chart that comes with the test kit.
Water Infiltration Test
A water infiltration test assesses how well water permeates your soil. Select a representative area in your garden with moist but not waterlogged soil.
Dig a hole that is about 12 inches deep and wide, fill it with water, and let it drain overnight. Then, refill it with water and see how quickly the water drains from the hole.
Measure water that has drained away every hour until it completely infiltrates the soil. Refer to the Soil Drainage Rate Reference Table on Grow It Built It to get your results.
Earthworm Test
An earthworm count allows you to assess the presence and abundance of earthworms in your soil, providing insights into its health and quality.
Dig a small section of soil, approximately 1 square foot in size and 6 to 8 inches deep. Gently sift through and count the number of earthworms you find within the sampled area.
Healthy soil typically contains at least 10-15 earthworms per square foot of soil. To encourage more earthworms, add organic matter, minimize tilling, and avoid chemical use.
Nutrient Deficiency
Giving your plants access to nutrients is vital. For this simple DIY nutrient deficiency test, you will need test strips specially designed for it.
For each nutrient, take a test tube and add a small portion of soil-water mixture. Add a few drops of the corresponding liquid fertilizer to each container.
Observe any color changes or reactions that occur. Refer to a color reference guide or chart specific to each nutrient test to interpret the results.