Soil Sampling & Sidney Community Garden

Soil sampling in your garden may be beneficial if standard fertilizer rates have left your plants unhealthy or under producing. A soil test allows you to determine the amount of nutrients currently in your garden and determine the correct amount of nutrients and fertilizer that are needed to support your plants.

Soil samples should be a 6-inch-deep core from the soil surface. A spade or shovel may be used, but a soil probe or auger is the best option, as it allows for the same amount of soil to be collected from each depth. The MSU Richland County Extension Office has a hand probe that is available for you to check out and use. Multiple soil samples should be taken from your garden; up to 10 samples in a larger garden setting. Samples can be composited (mixed) and sent to a commercial laboratory for analysis. Now would be a good time to think about soil sampling, as you want to allow ample time; one to two weeks, for completion of the soil test prior to planting your garden. The results of your soil test will allow you to calculate accurate fertilizer needs. The MSU Richland County Extension Office can assist with all of your soil sampling and fertilizer recommendation needs.

Standard fertilizer rates may be used without soil sampling. For gardens, 20 lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer (10% Nitrogen – 10% Phosphorus – 10% Potassium) is recommended per 1000 sq. ft. per year. It is suggested to apply 10 lbs. per application, once prior to planting and once later between the rows.

If you do not have a garden space of your own, but are interested in gardening, there are raised beds available for rent in the Sidney Community Garden. The beds are 4’ x 8” in size. If you are interested in renting a bed, contact the MSU Richland County Extension Office at 406-433-1206 or email [email protected].


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