Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although you probably get tired of hearing us say it, taking a soil sample is the first step to having a successful garden this spring. No matter if you are going to use conventional fertilizer or go organic, getting the pH, or acidity of the soil correct is critical.
Why does it matter? Because pH controls the availability of nutrients -- nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and the micro nutrients -- all of which a plant must have to be healthy. There’s a sweet spot between 5.8 and 6.3 or so when all the nutrients are found in compounds that can be absorbed through the plants’ roots. If your pH is too low or high, you can apply expensive organic kelp meal ‘til the cows come home but your plants won’t be able to use it. Search Clemson hgic soil test to learn how to properly take a sample.