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Get your soil in shape

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: March 28, 2014
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A soil test will tell you exactly what your soil needs.

Is your soil ready for gardening season?

Soil is the most important factor in a successful garden, so it’s important to get yours into the best shape you can.

Start with a soil test. You can use a testing kit from a garden center, but you’ll get more thorough results if you send samples to a lab for analysis. The lab will tell you what your soil needs and how much.

The Ohio State University Extension has a good fact sheet that walks you through the process of collecting and submitting soil samples. It also suggests a number of labs where you can send your soil for testing.

Soil also benefits from having an adequate amount of organic matter, and an easy way to supply it is by adding compost. In fact, compost is an all-purpose soil improver, regardless or whether your soil is too sandy or too heavy with clay.

You can just rake compost over your lawn (a good time is after it’s been aerated) or spread a half-inch or so on top of your garden beds. Over time, earthworms and other organisms will work the compost down into the soil for you.

Easy peasy.

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