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Snow is melting, the weather is warmer, and there are probably only a few more snow storms left this winter. That can only mean it’s time to start thinking about getting your lawn and garden ready for spring. To get the best results, you need to know your soil — its pH and what nutrients it’s missing. Usually the best way to do this is send away soil samples, but Luster Leaf kits allow you to test the soil at home with no waiting.

Luster Leaf provides kits for testing the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in the soil and the soil pH. To test pH, add soil and water to the fill lines of the test chamber, break open a capsule, and shake the container. Then you just compare the color to the chart printed on the side of the container.

Testing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are a little more involved. They required you to mix 1 part soil to 5 parts water, shake it, and allow it to settle. Then you take a dropper and fill the test container, break up a capsule, and shake again. Finally you compare the color to the chart on the side of the testing container. Complete instructions are available with the kits, so please follow those rather than our abbreviated description.

The best pricing seems to be a kit with 10 tests each of pH, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which runs $10 plus free shipping at Amazon.

Soil Test Kit [Luster Leaf]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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5 Responses to Test Your Soil At Home

  1. Chris says:

    I’m pretty sure most mail-in tests screen for a lot more than just pH and NPK levels. If you’re going to spend $10 on this kit, might as well spend another couple bucks and get a full workup from a lab that employs trained professionals.

    Unless you live really far from the nearest post office, I guess :-p (But then, how are you going to get this delivered to you?)


  2. Ethan@OPC says:

    I’ve never used one of these kits but I’ve heard they can be rather inaccurate, especially because where and when you sample can have dramatic differences. Lots of higher ed institutes offer soil testing out of their agricultural department. For $15 you can usually get phosphorus, potassium, pH – lime requirement, total organic matter, etc. included.

  3. Kris says:

    You may also be able to get a good soil test done by your local full service nursery or county ag office.

  4. sam says:

    That’s just great. I ate all my capsules before I got to the add to water part.

  5. Melissa says:

    While the tests are not very expensive, you can make your own for free. Free is always better, right?

    This article explains it: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7890614/how_can_i_make_my_own_soil_ph_test.html?cat=32

    Thanks for the tips!

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