Soil pH Testing
Healthy, productive, beautiful gardens start with great soil
Here are five ways the MMGA can help
with FREE Soil pH Testing and more!
1. LEARN MORE ABOUT SOIL
Why is soil important? Read Soil-The Good Gardeners Secret.
One component of healthy soil is pH; a simple test (offered free by the MMGA at selected events!) is a good place to start. Testing for pH uses a 14-point scale: a pH of 7 is neutral; a pH less that 7 is acidic; a pH greater than 7, alkaline. Different plants have different pH requirements. If you pH is "off," beneficial soil microorganisms can be affected, and plants may not be able to access important nutrients which may already be present in the soil.
To view a schedule of upcoming events where Master Gardeners can test your soil, scroll down to Section #3 below.
Photo courtesy of Earth Observing System
2. ORGANIZATIONS: SCHEDULE A FREE SOIL pH TESTING TABLE FOR YOUR EVENT
STEP ONE: At least one month in advance of your event, download our application form, fill it out, and email to SoilTesting@MassMasterGardeners.org .
STEP TWO: We'll determine the availability of trained Soil Testing Teams and get back to you within five business days.
STEP THREE: One of our assigned Master Gardener Soil Testers will be in touch to work through logistics with you: chairs, tables, trash receptacles, etc.
STEP FOUR: We'll also send you our one-pager of "Tips for Promoting Your MMGA Soil Testing Event." It's critical that participants prepare their soil samples properly, several days prior to testing...so we encourage you to distribute instructions well in advance.
STEP FIVE: Event day! The MMGA Testing Team shows up, sets up, and gets to work testing attendees' soil samples. In addition to providing written test results, we'll also share handouts on the optimal soil pH for many ornamentals and vegetables and can advise folks on how to adjust their soil pH accordingly.
3. GARDENERS: HAVE YOUR SOIL pH TESTED FOR FREE
Check out the Soil Testing Calendar below for dates and locations. Once you've decided on an event, here's the information you'll need to gather your soil sample. Please plan to do so at least 3-4 days in advance
4. CONSIDER AN EVEN MORE COMPREHENSIVE SOIL TEST
Depending on the results of your Soil pH Test or if you have other concerns about soil health or safety, a more comprehensive test may be indicated. Links to regional university soil testing labs can be found on our one-page factsheet, Soil Testing Benefits and Resources. These labs offer a variety of testing options at nominal cost.
5. GET HELP WITH OTHER GARDENING ISSUES
Soil pH testing - and even comprehensive soil testing - will NOT identify problems related to sunlight, drainage, weeds, insects, pesticides, herbicides, and other sources of damage. For help understanding these other issues, contact one of our Helplines.