I am told that extension services offer inexpensive soil testing. I'm a home gardener looking to get some soil testing done of several raised beds with different soil sources. Do you have any local recommendations that are fairly inexpensive? Thanks
Jackson County Oregon
We're sorry to tell you that our local extension office does not provide soil testing. However, the Master Gardener Plant Clinic has a packet they will e-mail to you about soil testing. Contact the Plant Clinic at 541-776-7371 on Tuesday or Thursday, 10 to 2. Unfortunately, they cannot provide names of laboratories in the area that might do soil testing. Another source for information is on-line at catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/EC628. This small farms brochure offers a guide to collecting samples and publication EM8677 (same site) gives a list of laboratories serving Oregon. None, however, is located in the Rogue Valley.
As you are a home gardener, you might consider testing your own soil with an inexpensive kit from a reputable nursery supply.That kit will give you a general overview of your sample which would alert you to any major problem. If you have a major deficit in the soil, then it is sometimes worthwhile to have a professional test. However, most lab test reports do not provide remedies for deficits in the soil in terms of amounts of nitrogen to add, etc. In growing vegetables, it is often the pH of the soil which is most important. That can be detected with most kits, as well as with inexpensive electronic soil meters. You'll find many vegetables prefer a neutral 7 pH or a range from slightly acid (6.5 )to slightly alkaline ( 7.5). A good reference is the locally produced Master Gardener "Garden Guide to Growing Vegetables in the Rogue Valley". It is available at many garden supply stores as well as at the Extension Office, 569 Hanley Rd. (Rte,238) Central Point. Good luck with your efforts.