If you have any questions about soil nutrients contact Dr. Clain Jones. If you think plant growth issues may be related to pesticide (e.g., herbicide residual in compost), please contact Noelle Orloff (994-6297) or Dr. Tim Seipel (994-4783) for assistance.
- Feeding the Garden Soil SoilScoop
- Home Garden Soil Testing & Fertilizer Guidelines MSU MontGuide
- Home Composting MSU MontGuide
Oregon State University Plant available N calculator - estimates N from cover crops and other soil amendments w/in a growing season
- Minimizing Pesticide Contaminated Soil Around the Home and Garden MSU MontGuide.
- Soil Basics and Management for Small Acreage presentation (2017) (2018)
- Soil Fertility for Home Gardens presentations
- Interpreting Compost Analyses 2018 Oregon State University Extension
- Comparing soil test kits with standard lab-based soil tests Crops & Soils Magazine, March 2019
- Soil Test Kits vs Laboratory Tests (pdf) MSU Press release
- List of regional soil testing labs
- MSU Extension Yard and Garden
- Gardening video series (6) by MSU Extension Agent Patrick Mangan
- Washington State University Organic Farming Systems and Nutrient Management - includes information for east of the Cascades
- Midwest Vegetable Production Guide provides information that might be useful for high tunnel or greenhouse production in our climate
- Best done in early spring.
- Remove mulch or thatch before taking the sample (0-6 inches deep). Use soil sampling auger (borrow from local Extension office) or bulb planter. Be sure tools used to sample aren't contaminated by storage near fertilizers.
- Collect and mix 10 samples for each 1000 sq. feet of area of interest (e.g., lawn separate from vegetable garden).
- Take a pint sized subsample of the mixed samples.
- Keep below 40°F and overnight ship, or immediately dry at 110-120°F, or freeze for drying at 110-120°F later.
- Send to a lab and request pH, organic matter, electrical conductivity (EC = salts), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (specify Olsen P method), and potassium (K). You can add texture (or do that on your own), and micronutrients if you suspect iron, or other deficiency or excess. Sulfur (S) soil tests are not a good indication of sulfur availability for plants, i.e. don't do soil test for sulfur.
Visit our Soil Sampling website for more information.
|Dead pine needles||18||4.8||1.2|
|Annual vegetable harvest lb/1000 sq. ft5||2.3||0.5||2.7|
1. MSU, 2. Maryland Urban compost LeafGro and SmartLeaf, 3. Waste Resources Action Programme of Wales 4. Heckman and Kluchinski 1996, 5. Univ. Mass., Michigan State, Oregon State, Morris et al. 2007
|Dead pine needles||0.0045||0.0012||0.0003|
|Brewery grain (wet)||0.9||0.5||0.05|
|Wood ash (unleached)||0||1.25||2|
|Coffee grounds (dry)||2||0.36||0.67|
|Urea (chemical fertilizer)||46||0||0|
|Worm castings||highly variable and its not about NPK|