DSC01072 I’m a convert. Doing a soil sample is a basic, cheap way ($10 via UMass) to intelligently guide your soil management practices. As we enter the growing season here in the North, I encourage all gardeners to go do a little digging and mail off a baggie of soil. The results of a basic analysis will let you know if you have high levels of lead in your soil– something anyone around pregnant women or small children should be especially concerned about– as well as useful information like pH and mineral content. Often, you’ll receive recommendations for soil ammendments and application rate.

I’ve historically used University of Massachusetts, but many land grant universities offer testing as well as some private labs. Call your local extension agent if you want to know who serves your area.

Go for it. Healthy soil = healthy food.