Soil Testing GardenIt’s Spring, that time of year where people start looking at their lawn or garden and start the planning process.

Across the internet there are a flood of offers and invitations for free soil testing. Lets take a closer look at these promotions. Watch this video.

There is a little more to it than putting some soil in a little baggie. In any case I thought the story  often times leads out a lot of details that people often overlook. If you want the most out of your soil test make sure you understand what you are really getting with these offers.

Soil pH

Several promotions for free soil testing look at one analysis – Soil pH. Soil pH is a very important component, but it is only one part of a complete soil fertility plan. If Midwest Laboratories were to base its recommendations only on pH, we would make a lot of mistakes and have a lot of unhappy people.

Collecting the  soil sample

Depending on your needs, you may want to make sure you know how to collect a soil sample correctly. Often times, people dig a little hole in their yard and use it as a representative sample for their yard. In addition, they may also collect some soil in their garden, but be disappointed because they based their analysis on growing tomatoes and the type of produce was not considered as a part of the analysis report.  The key here is defining your goal.

Overall Soil Analysis – If you want to see how your lawn is doing overall, take some representative soil cores, 4-6 inches under the surface of the lawn. Combine these cores together in a bucket and put them in a soil bag or ziploc bag as a composite sample.

Garden Analysis – Identify the produce you are wanting to grow and take representative samples, (4-6 inches under the surface)  throughout your garden area and combine them as one sample. By identifying your produce, most soil labs can create recommendations based on your crop.

Problem areas – Identify a specific problem area in your yard and garden and take samples, (4-6 inches under the surface) and identify yard or garden conditions. Soil is too hard. Possible grub area, Possible gas spill. This information will help laboratories with respect to your analysis.

Turnaround time  

Make sure you ask about when you can expect to receive results. I have seen offers that list turnaround time as 1-2 weeks up to 4 weeks and possible delays depending on sample volume.  Turnaround time at Midwest Laboratories is 3 days, year round.


Many times people receive a soil report, but have no idea what the reported values mean. Make sure your free offer includes recommendations. Why would you want someone to perform your analysis and give you only data results for you to interpret.  At Midwest Laboratories, you will receive an analysis report and recommendations. In addition, we have a client service staff to answer questions regarding your analysis results.

Check out Soil Testing at Midwest Laboratories

Midwest Laboratories offers  a Lawn and Garden Package that you can order online for $25.00. You will receive a soil bag, brochure and return shipping label. Once your sample is received at the laboratory, you can expect results in 3 days.

Free Soil Bags

If you are looking for free soil bags, consider opening an account with Midwest Laboratories. Complete the Form, Send it in and Place Your Order

Other soil testing resources

List of soil tests 

How to collect a soil sample

Interpreting a soil report.

Once again, if you have questions, the best place to start is with a phone call. Talk to a Midwest Laboratories representative today.

Company Phone Line – (402) 334-7770

Image courtesy of foto76 /