Rosa in Utica, Illinois, wants to know the best way to test her soil to get great results in her butterfly garden.
- It's a great idea to analyze your soil to best understand what's right under your feet.
- Soil analysis helps with nutrient management so whatever you plant will flourish. You can avoid overapplication or underapplication of fertilizers and more.
- A simple way to figure out what your soil is made of is to do a shake test. Fill a mason jar half full of soil and then fill the rest of the way with water. Shake vigorously. Twenty-four hours later, you can check it out. The profile of your soil will settle at the bottom.
- At the bottom will be sand, because it's the heaviest. Next up is silt. Then you'll see how much clay is in your soil. Clay is electronically charged, so it floats in the water longer and will settle last.
- That's just a basic soil test to give you an idea of how much sand, silt and clay you have in your soil.
- You can also try a store bought soil test, which primarily determine pH levels and the moisture holding capacity of the soil.
- There's the Soil Testing Association in your state, as well as. They will send you a packet, plus ask you what you want to do with your soil—what plants you want to put in and so forth—so they can give specific instructions on how to amend your particular soil.
- Rosa also asked for advice on eliminating trumpet vine organically. Try a gallon of water with baking soda. Apply and reapply until the plant withers. Rosa could also try transplanting the vine to another garden.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.