Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November is a Great Time to...

get a soil test done. If you live in the northern hemisphere, hardly anyone is thinking about having their soil tested right now. If you plan to start a garden or even continue one next year, this is great information to collect now, before the soil freezes over for the winter. If you live in the US, your state Agricultural Extension Office is looking at a light workload in the fall so far as soil tests go. Your soil test will be done in record time. In March and April, it'll be an entirely different story, and you may wait weeks to get your results back. So don't wait for spring. Pick up a test kit from your local Agricultural Extension Office and get it done now. When you get the results, it should give you a good idea of what you might want to add to your soil to amend it. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. Better to have this information now than to wait until the blueberry bushes arrive, only to wonder if the soil will be suitable for them.

Oh, and while you're at the Extension Office, ask if they have a sapling sales program. Our county has one, and they'll mail out a flyer and order form to anyone who asks for it. But you have to ask for it. We've gotten saplings and even small blueberry bushes for very, very little money through this program. Find out if such a thing is offered through your local office, and get yourself on the mailing list so you'll be included for the spring mailing. If not, take a few moments to ask the staff what other services might be available but not widely advertised. You might be surprised what's available.

3 comments:

marriedtothefarm said...

Thanks for the tip! That's a really good idea. I have always meant to test my soil and never have - shame on me! :)

Leigh said...

Hi. I found your blog by following links. Thank you for the info on the sapling sales program. I didn't know it existed. Nor did I know that they had other services not generally known about. Back in NC when my kids were still at home, we were involved in 4-H and so had closer ties with our state cooperative extension. Now that we've moved to another state, I need to get more in touch with their resources besides soil testing.

Kate said...

MTF, I think soil tests are worth doing if you're serious about growing your own food. I probably wouldn't bother if I were only growing ornamentals. It'll be very rewarding if I can track an increase in organic matter year over year.

Leigh, hi and welcome! I don't know how common the sapling sales are from one Extension Office to another. Our county has done this for decades, but there are plenty of people in my area with no clue. I also have an appointment later this month with someone in the Extension Office to have my pressure canners tested to make sure the gauges are working properly. A free service! Let us know what services you find out about.