CFC Farm & Home Centers offer soil sample testing for both the farmer and the homeowner. Our tests are available for new planting/landscape installation as well as for existing landscape. Test results may confirm the need for additional fertilizers, make recommendations for existing plants or troubleshoot for plants not performing satisfactorily. Your local CFC will be able to review these recommendations with you and offer solutions from our wide selection of products. Pricing for the homeowner lawn and garden is $15.00 per sample and farm pasture samples are $20.00 per sample.
The reliability of a soil test is only as good as the sample you submit. The small amount of soil in the sample bag you send to the laboratory must represent the entire area to be fertilized. Avoid unusual areas such as those where fertilizer or lime has spilled. Take samples before lime, fertilizer or manure is added. Use clean equipment for collecting soil samples.
Where to sample: The area to be sampled should be as uniform as possible in terms of soil type and cropping and fertilizing history. For practical purposes, it should be an area you expect to fertilize as a unit. This means
separate samples for annual mixed vegetables and a strawberry patch, for golf green and fairway, and for different major crops in a commercial nursery or vegetable operation. If you have a problem on a particular part of a lawn, garden or commercial production field, you might consider determining if soil fertility is the cause by taking one sample to represent the “good” and the other to represent the “poor” areas.
Take a good sample: Collect a number of cores or slices by walking in a zig-zag pattern over the area. Mix cores thoroughly in a clean pail for a composite lab sample. The greater the number of collected cores mixed together, the better the sample will represent the average condition of the sampled area. Consider 10 cores as the minimum for home gardens and lawns up to 10,000 square feet in size. Larger areas should be represented by at least 15 to 20 samples.
Mix the sample and fill the sample bag: Bags are available from your local CFC. Make sure all cores are thoroughly mixed together.
If a soil probe or auger is not available, collect your sample by pushing the blade of a garden trowel, shovel or spade into the soil to the desired depth. Cut out a triangular wedge of soil and set it aside in order to be replaced after sampling.
CFC Farm & Home also offers farm field mapping for bulk applications of fertilizer. Please contact your local field sales representative or store manager for details.