Why you need a soil test

Get To Know Your Soil!

Soil tests help identify the fertility of your garden or lawn, eliminating guesswork when it comes to choosing the best plant for a project. A test can determine pH levels, nutrient imbalances or deficiencies, and any potential contamination issues. In Connecticut gardeners can send samples to their local UConn Extension Master Gardener Office.

In small-space urban food gardens, often located on previous commercial or industrial sites, testing is vital to be aware about potential soil contamination. Knowing your soil is the first step to identifying and mitigating problems to ensure your garden is healthy and productive.

When potential contamination issues are present, urban food gardeners have options for reducing their exposure while still growing safe, fresh produce.

  • Raised Beds are the easiest way to reduce exposure to contaminants, creating a physical barrier between existing soil and the new soil used to grow food.
  • Container Gardens are perfect for smaller urban spaces, and serve to create a physical barrier like raised beds. Containers can also be used for flower gardens in areas of contamination, especially when planting species that attract vital pollinators like bees and Monarch butterflies.
  • If cost allows, the contaminated soil can be fully removed and replaced with new topsoil.

Learn more about soil testing and order a kit at
UConn Home and Garden Education Center

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