DIY Soil Test

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Most of my yard looks like this right now… Which is NOT helping my spring fever one little bit. Luckily, over the last few weeks, I got a little bit smart and started shovelling the snow off of my main flower bed. During a warm snap, I covered the dirt with some black garbage bags and held them down with some bricks, in the hope that it will warm the soil up, just a little faster.

So I thought I could help my green thumbs out a little today, and do a little soil test that I saw on Pinterest:

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Ava “helped” me grab the soil…

Most of my dirt is still frozen, so I will probably try this again when everything has thawed out. I got two samples, in separate containers – one for the vinegar test and one for the baking soda test. As you can see, I sacrificed one of our older spoons for the task of soil sample extraction.

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left: vinegar testright: baking soda test
left: vinegar test
right: baking soda test

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Verdict… My soil is a little alkaline… That last photo above is the dirt foaming with the vinegar…  Being the novice gardener that I am, I will try and educate myself a little better on how to cope with this.  Without much knowledge of the situation, my plan will probably include:

  • adding compost (number one thing I am already planning to do as soon as I can work the dirt)
  • test the soil again when it has thawed out… maybe just the top layer was the issue?
  • lots of google-ing and pinterest-ing to learn more about soil amendments and what grows in slightly alkaline soil the best.

This is the bed that I have my lillies in. Last year, I grew some carrots also, and unsuccessfully attempted beets (I know better now).

I also want to test the soil in my front yard (the one with all the shade). My guess is that it is more acidic because of the spruce tree out there. Any hints or tips on soil tests? Or how I can better deal with my alkaline soil?

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