Bay Branch Farm

a vegetable farm in lakewood and cleveland, oh | we grow food

Soil test 2012


Today we took two samples of soil from our SPIN beds and from our raised beds. We will send this in to a lab to learn more about what is in the soil and where we may need amendments. We used a soil probe to collect the sample. Since we waited so long, we had to take the sample in a few inches of snow, but the ground is still moist and not yet frozen. It has only recently dipped down below 20 degrees for consecutive nights and blanketed in snow for the same period of time. I guess it would have been slightly easier had we performed the test earlier in the year or even late last year.

The soil probe filled with about 6" of soil

Action shot of Spink taking a sample from the SPIN beds

Those bits that look like turds are compacted clay....yeah, that's our's pretty sad.

And, this is from the raised beds. Notice the difference in color and texture.

This year we are sending our samples to Midwest Labs in NE. In the past we have used UMASS Extension. The tests from Midwest Labs seem to offer more comprehensive data, so we will see what the results look like and make decisions about any amendments needed.


2 thoughts on “Soil test 2012

  1. Is this an expensive test?

    I definitely would love to determine where my soil stands but I wouldn’t know what to do with the information whats I receive the results back.

    Do you have any suggestions for books I should be reading?

    Thanks and good luck.

    • Hi Brandon,
      The cost of the test we are getting through Midwest Labs is $26.50 and the test through UMASS was $13.00. Each analysis offers recommendations to help you interpret results and provides a normal range for nutrients, pH, organic matter, etc. We did our original tests to find out about heavy metals in the soil and needed to know if the soil was safe for growing food.

      I am currently reading a book called Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis, a good resource on living, healthy soil. I hope this is helpful!

      Good luck!


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