Knowing the state of your garden soil is handy, but if your garden is for personal family use only, you probably don’t feel justified in ordering a professional lab analysis. Fortunately, inexpensive test kits are available online.
This kit by Luster Leaf seems to do a fair job. It tests:
As you can see, only the bare basics are included. The tests focus on NPK, not trace minerals. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to keep trace mineral levels in balance by regular applications of compost and organic matter.
Using the kit is easy. Complete instructions are included, but the basic procedure is:
- Prepare the soil sample.
- Dilute the soil sample according to the directions.
- Put the solution into the test container.
- Add the appropriate powder to the solution.
- Compare the color of the solution to the color chart on the container.
Did you detect a problem with your garden soil? The instructions offer advice on how to remedy the situation.
One word of advice: The powder may lose some of its efficiency over time. Keep the powder capsules stored in the included airtight bags in a cool, dry, dark place. Try to use the tests within about 18 months for the most reliable results.
Simple and inexpensive—perfect for the budget-conscious gardener.