Soil Testing Kit

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by lily, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    Does anyone know what would be the best soil testing kit for me to purchase? I don't have a lot of property, just the lot where my mobile home sits. I have a couple of trees, shrubs but I want to plant a few more shrubs, rhododenrums etc. But before I buy the plants, I would like to test my soil around here. I imagine I can get the kit at any gardening centre? Thanks again for all your help.
    ~ Lily
     
  2. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There are a lot of kits available at garden centres and online or in garden catalogs. Most are fairly good and not too expensive.

    Here is some info to consider on how to sample from the University of Minnesota Extension office.
    http://www.extension.umn.edu/projects/yardandgarden/YGLNews/YGLN-Aug1502.html#test

    Professional soil testing services will give you the most accurate and thorough analysis. I know in the States this is sometimes a free service from the local U. Extension office or departments of local government. I have not found that around Vancouver.

    Here are a few local testers:
    http://www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca/rcbtoa/services/soil-testing-services.html
    http://www.canadiangardening.com/cg_soiltesting.shtml
    http://www.buildingbc.com/page/SoilTstng.html

    I encourage people to add to this thread. Soil testing is often recommended, but the process and where to find the service has not been discussed too frequently.
     
  3. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    When I first moved into my house, about 25 years ago, I found from the local garden store that if you sent a soil sample to one of the local fertilizer companies, they would analyse it for you, Darned if I recall which it was, but if it still exists your garden store might know. I recall that with respect to the soil from one one sad-looking area of my new lot the report began "your soil is dead dead dead".
     
  4. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    Eric, thanks for the links. I noticed there is an Engineering firm in Abbotsford that does soil testing. I'll give them a call. Much appreciated.
    ~ Lily


    Hey soccerdad, thanks for the chuckle. LOL
     
  5. Sunbaked1

    Sunbaked1 Member

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    Lowe's carries a simple soil testing kit in there outside garden area.But most city agricultural dept's will test for a fee.
     
  6. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    sunbaked ~ Thank you, I don't think we have Lowe's here in BC but we do have Home Depot. They also have a garden centre. Anyway, I went to Canadian Tire last night and they have a soil testing kit for $7.98. I didn't buy it. I wanted to do some more checking around. Again, thanks for your help.
     
  7. soilguy

    soilguy Member

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    The information on soil testing labs in the article at [ http://www.canadiangardening.com/cg_soiltesting.shtml ] is very out of date as many labs have either closed, been sold or or have changed names/location due to amalgamation. There is no free soil testing in British Columbia. You may be able to find companies that sell test kits or testers under trade names such as Rapitest, YSI, LaMotte or Hanna. Simple soil testing for pH, salts, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium may run in the $30 to $40 dollar range. Add micronutrients, texture, and organic matter % to that and the costs goes up. Make sure if you get a soil test from a lab you get a recommendation for the type of plants/crop you are growing.
     
  8. turqoisehex

    turqoisehex Member

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    I'm also looking for a lab that will perform an "Available Metals Test". Basically I'm growing in a somewhat industrial area of East Van, and I'd like to make sure the soil isn't polluted with heavy metals, diesel, etc. The soil seems somewhat healthy, there are a fair number of worms and bugs in it, and it's a nice brown colour. Any suggestions are much appreciated.
     

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