Travis Adkins again from Red Bird Mission. With gardening season just around the corner, don’t forget to warm up your tillers and tractors. Sharpen those tiller tines or replace wore out tines with new ones. Make sure your hoes, shovels and rakes are sharpened and ready to go. With all this weather we’ve been having, it would be best if you have a warm and dry location to perform these checks on your equipment.

Also remember to get your soil samples in to provide information on what mineral your garden may need. Here is information on how to collect a soil sample. The first thing you must know to collect a proper soil sample is the depth the sub-samples should be taken. 4 to 6 inches for a home garden. Accurate soil sample must be taken from uniform soil areas. Within that area a soil sample must be made up of multiple sub-samples. These sub-samples are mixed together to make up the composite soil sample for that area. Please let dry before bagging and bringing in to your local cooperative extension office.

  • STEP 1: Open a hole with a shovel, spade or trowel from the surface to the proper depth for your landscape area. Set that soil aside. (If you are using a soil probe, insert it into the soil to the proper depth and remove the plug from the ground).
  • STEP 2: With your shovel or trowel remove a 1 inch thick slice from the smooth side of the open hole.
  • STEP 3: With the slice of soil on the blade of the shovel, remove the sides of the slice with a trowel, knife or your hands to create a ribbon of soil 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick of the proper depth. Place the ribbon (or plug if using a soil probe) into a container.
  • STEP 4: Remove any surface mat of grass or litter and any rocks. Place the soil in a clean bucket or container. Remember that a clean, plastic container is best.
  • STEP 5: Continue to take additional 2 or 3 soil sub-samples from the uniform landscape area. By mixing these sub-samples together, you create the composite sample that will be sent to the Soil Testing Laboratory.