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How & Why to Test Your Soil

Part of "Soil Basics"

Testing your soil is an important way to measure its health and fertility. The information from a soil analysis will help you make adjustments to its texture, pH and organic deficiencies. The results will help ensure that your plants and trees will go optimally, and investments of time and resources will be as efficient and productive as possible. 


Without the basic information about what your soil contains, you will not be able to improve its ability to give you healthy plants and good yields. 


Soil tests are relatively inexpensive for the value they bring to your efforts. Soil samples can be taken at any time of the year. They can be done annually or simply as needed. You can use an off-the-shelf soil testing kit or obtain a more detailed soil test through ​the Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center of UH Mānoa's Cooperative Extension Service in Honolulu.

This Course segment contains step-by-step instructions on how to collect your soil sample for sending to the Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center.  Useful Links will also show you how to determine very basic qualities of your soil with simple, do-it-yourself soil tests.  

Start with the first link, a brief explanation on What is Heathy Soil?  Understanding the role of healthy soil will help you appreciate why measuring the qualities and composition of soil is vital to your success as a homesteader. 

> Back to Course 3: Soil Basics

Useful Links:
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A brief explanation of what soil is, what determines its quality and why soil is important. From the Rodale Institute, with links.

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While lab testing your soil is important, the Jar Test is an easy DIY soil test that provides general information on soil type.

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An instruction sheet and submission form for sending soil samples for testing by UH Hawaii at Mānoa.

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An enthusiastic 13- minute explanation of the main pillars of good soil and how to achieve them. 

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Instructions on how to determine your soil type by feeling the soil texture;

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