Now is a good time to test your soil for nutrients needed to have a successful garden this spring and summer. Soil testing before the planting season begins gives you time to add needed nutrients for spring planting and get your soil in shape. It also allows you to get your test back quickly as soil labs often get overwhelmed later in the spring.
The most important information you need to know is soil Ph, and the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and potash or potassium in the soil. When the level of certain nutrients gets out of balance, your garden will suffer. For example, high phosphorous levels can occur because phosphorous added in prior years from fertilizers binds to the soil while nitrogen and phosphorous leach out fairly quickly. It's important to keep in mind that if you add a fertilizer or manure that contains lots of phosphorous every 3 or 4 months, you will slowly poison your soil and nothing will grow. I've seen gardens and lawns laid bare from phosphorous poisoning. Also, adding unnecessary amendments costs you time and money. A soil test is a simple an inexpensive way to avoid these gardening problems.
Contact the Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension Office for information on how to take a soil sample and any fees associated with testing. Click here for more information.