soil testers

sonnysideApril 10, 2011

What would a good do it yourself soil tester be. I know there are several on the market. Any good ones? TIA

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Generally speaking do-it-yourself soil testers are considered a waste of money. Worse, they can lead you far down the wrong path. For little more than the cost of one of those kits you can get a professional test done and get reliable, detailed information plus recommendations for how to fix them.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 9:47AM
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quality ph testers are not a waste of money and they are a good tool to have. dont buy the cheap ones like rapitest. i have a milwaukee model sm100 and it is very accurate. there are alot of different kinds out there.hanna, bluelab etc

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 3:03PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I think the OP asked about soil testers, not pH meters. Since pH is only one factor of a soil test my comments weren't directed at pH meters.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 3:24PM
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sorry dave, brain fart.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 4:03PM
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vegomatic(z5 BHSD)

Funny this topic just came up. We got some compost from the Rapid City, SD landfill. A pickup load was $17, and was still cooking enough to steam when we unloaded it.

I got to wondering if the nitrogen was still being tied up, so I got out my Farnam "No Wait" soil test.

Last time I tried it, it seemed I had to wait much longer than the instructions stated in order to see a color change. Which made me doubt the results.

Anyway, I'll try it again with the compost and see if it behaves differently.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 4:23PM
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I can't offer good advice but have to tell you about an attempt on my part to save a whole $10 or so for a state
done professional soil test.

There is a small College in our town. It offers free garden soil tests each spring; these to be analyzed by the students in the Chem Lab. Wow! Whooie! I had 6 tests done, 3 for the garden here in Beaver Falls and 3 more for the garden out at the lake in Ohio.

Apparently 3 students worked on my samples and none of their test results were anyway close enough for either garden to give me confidence enough to select a logical direction for remediation.

Great training for the students, but worth about the price I payed, I think.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 5:37PM
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I got a soil analysis report from Texas A&M. It was well worth the money. Call you agricultural extention agent and he should be able to tell you what University in your area could help you out. I sent in 3 samples from 3 areas of my yard. It cost $10.00 per sample. They tested 7 elements plus conductivity and PH and sent literature on how to correct the problem areas. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:41PM
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Has anybody had any luck with any of the cheaper PH meters? Thanks.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 3:10PM
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I have a Rapitest PH meter that read below 7 most of the time. Then after not using it for a year, I took off the back panel to see if it had a battery that needed to be replaced. Well, no battery, but one of the two wire leads was not even soldered, just wrapped around the terminal. No wonder these meters always read 7!!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 3:44PM
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tdscpa(z5 NWKS)


I get an annual soil test for my garden. My garden is amended and fertilized uniformly. I sample my garden soil from several different locations, mix them in a bucket, and scoop several cups of the mixture into the sample bag the extension agent provides.

I believe the measures I use to till my garden every year negate any benefit of paying to test soil from different areas.

He sends it to KS. State Univ. Lab and they test it for the attributes I request. I tell the extension agent I would like amendment and fertilizer recommendations, and I get a report on the condition of my soil, (NPK levels and pH), organic material level, amount of fertilizer I should add initially and how I should side-dress crops through the season, and if I need to add sulfur to reduce the pH.

Cost me $16.60 this year, including postage for the sample sent to be tested. I realize my state income taxes probably also included a charge for this service, but that would have been paid if I had not used the service.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 11:38PM
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