Home Soil Testing

It is possible to do some soil testing at home. It has four steps:

1)  Preparation

   Take a quart jar with straight sides and fill half-way up with soil and the rest with water.

    Add 1 teaspoon of powdered laundry detergent. Shake for 3-5 minutes.

   Let sit for 24 hours or until the water on top is clear.

2)  Measuring

Using a straight ruler:

     Measure the top layer (clay).

     Measure the middle layer (silt).

     Measure the bottom layer (sand).

     Then measure the total depth of soil (ignore the clear water on the top).

3)  Calculating

     This uses math! For each layer of soil, calculate as follows:

      Depth of layer of soil   X   100  /

total depth of all soil =  %  of the depth of a soil layer.

       Repeat this for each layer.                            

4)  Interpretation

     Ideal soil is 20% clay    —-         If too high, may have to do raised beds.

                          40% silt

                          40% sand    —-      If too high, add compost.