Maximize Your Garden’s Potential

Kassi Roosth | February 7, 2023

Get Your Soil in Shape for a Thriving Spring

a couple short handled garden tools are stuck upright into dark brown organic rich garden soil

Spring is the perfect time to get your garden ready for a rewarding growing season filled with happy plants and vibrant flowers. The key to a successful garden lies within the health of your soil. Conducting a soil test is essential to understanding the nutrient needs of your garden and ensuring that your soil is in the best shape for planting.

Healthy garden soil provides plants with the essential nutrients they need to grow strong and thrive. A balanced supply of nutrients, good water management, and diverse soil biology all play a role in promoting healthy growth. Soil conditions can vary depending on the season and location, so it’s important to test your soil to determine its specific needs. In the Willamette Valley, for example, soils are typically slightly acidic and highly fertile, providing a suitable environment for a diverse range of vegetables and berries.

However, urban soils can be quite different and may have lower nutrient availability and be more susceptible to degradation due to human disturbances. A soil test will give you an accurate representation of the current conditions in your garden and help you determine what amendments are needed to promote healthy growth.

Finding an approved analytical soil testing lab in Oregon is easy. Analytical Laboratories Serving Oregon offer a variety of testing options, including nutrients, contaminants, and plant analysis. Before submitting your sample, it’s a good idea to check the laboratory’s website or call them directly to clarify your testing objectives, the cost, shipping procedures, and turnaround time.

A person in a field is kneeling, wearing blue latex gloves and scooping soil from 4 piles into a ziploc bag

Collecting a soil sample is straightforward, but it’s important to follow some key tips to ensure the most accurate results. Focus on areas where you plan to plant, collect samples at the same depth, and gather a variety of sub-samples. Mix all your subsamples thoroughly in a clean container to create a representative final sample. For more information on collecting soil samples, visit A Guide to Collecting Soil Samples for Farms and Gardens | OSU Extension Service (oregonstate.edu)

By conducting a soil test and following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving garden this spring. With healthy soil, your plants will have the nutrients and environment they need to grow strong and flourish.

About the Author

headshot of Kassi smiling and wearing a yellow cap and a gray sweatshirt with her hair pulled back.

About the Author

Kassi Roosth
Urban Conservation Planner

Feel free to reach out with any questions or if you would like resources related to urban conservation! I can also assist you in creating wildlife habitat in developed areas of the County through the Little Habitat Project.

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