soil tests and ph meter


Active Member
Two questions here

1. Anyone recommend a good cheap soil test kit of any kind?

2. Anyone ever tried a digital ph meter? do they work? I really would like to test the ph throughout my small property.
You should just send the soil to Harris labs in Lincoln, Neb. If you have to have an account let me know and you can use mine. I don't trust ph meters or even the county extension because I've compared the 2 and they come back with a different result than a place like Harris Labs which is all they do. I've also used CLC labs and liked their test too. Harris takes about a week for a basic test and they email it to you.
I sent mine to biologic. Print the form off their website and send them a baggie of dirt. I think it was about $10. They email the reports within about 4-5 days.

It's a descent report, but no micros....
whitetail institute is like 14 bucks a sample. I am trying them this year cause they will give you ph, and OM levels.
Two questions here
1. Anyone recommend a good cheap soil test kit of any kind?
I wouldn't go cheap. The difference between the right test and a cheap test is going to be $15-$20. Pay for the right test and get the data you need to grow a great plot. If you want to save money, don't test as often down the road. But I'd pay for a full picture to begin with, and then you can go for a number of years before you'd really need to test again.

I get mine from Midwest Labs in Omaha. It's a bit tricky to navigate their process, but once you get it figured, it's darn nice to have. Here's what mine looks like. $27 and you have to mail it to them.

So is that 27 for one soil sample? or are you testing several spots and putting them all in a bag together as one sample? ect?
Yep. That is a 1/5th acre plot. I walked a circle and grabbed 8 cores from different parts of the plot to make my bag. If you really want to be precise, there's a $100 stainless soil probe out there for pulling these cores. Makes the process faster and more accurate, but it's also $100. Unless you're going to be doing a few samples each year, I'd just use a shovel and do it the hard way. I'm working on 5 plots now, should be 6 by this summer.

I don't sample them all each year, but I do when I start, and I do a year after I lime them to see how I did. For me, it's easier to get best possible production out of what plot acreage I have vs cutting more spots open. It's very labor intensive to open up new spots where I'm at.
Ya we get soil tests done on the farm, company comes out with those probes, does dozens of cores per field, sends us the results. Its pricey as heck though, thus why I was lookin for a simpler do it yourself/send it in type of testing for places like my lawn and tree plots ect. Thanks for the info everyone.
I send everything to Clemson University through the local Clemson extension office. I'm sure you have a similar option in your state. It's $7 per sample.