The best time to take samples for soil analysis is 2-3 months before you seed your fields or plant your garden. This ensures that you’ll have enough time to get your results and make changes by adding fertilizers, lime or compost. The soil takes time to react with the chemicals, so retesting after applying treatments is often a good idea.
An analysis from soil testing lab, Midwest Labs, includes levels of key nutrients that are essential for your plants’ proper development. For instance, the typical test will determine the current levels of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese in your samples.
Once the testing is complete, a recommendation will be made about the best type of fertilizer to use for the specific types of plants you intend to sow.
For traditional growing methods, a customized analysis of your garden or farm fields ensures that you won’t waste money on over-fertilization, or worse yet: do your plants physical harm by adding too many chemicals.
For organic growers, the test will suggest what nutrient minerals are lacking. This will help you determine what organic mulch may be necessary. You can use compost as an alternative to fertilizers. If you opt to use this option or the chemical option, a soil testing lab is the best resource you have to optimize the success of your crops and gardens.