Begin by taking a representative sample from a number of locations in the garden or lawn. Each sample is composed of about 8 sub-samples that go from the surface to 6 to 8 inches deep. Mix the sub-samples together in a clean container and select about 1 pint of soil. For more detail on taking a soil test, click here and choose “Soil Analysis” in the left column.
Take the soil to your local K-State Research and Extension office to have tests done at the K-State soil-testing laboratory for a fee. A soil test determines fertility problems, not other conditions that may exist such as poor drainage, poor soil structure, soil borne diseases or insects, chemical contaminants or damage, or shade with root competition from other plants (see accompanying article). All of these conditions may reduce plant performance but cannot be evaluated by a soil test. (Ward Upham)