Whether you’re a casual gardener, you’re thinking of starting a small business with your plants or you’re looking for a way to grow organic plants in your home; It all starts with great soil.
Here is our list of some great soil test kits and tools to help you have a solid soil foundation to improve your harvest. Enjoy 🙂
- 1 Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit
- 2 Dr.meter Pocket Size pH Soil Tester
- 3 Varomorus Soil Sampler Probe
- 4 Bluelab PENSOILPH Soil Test Kit
- 5 XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Meter
- 6 Why Test Your Soil
- 7 What Types of Testings can I do for my Soil?
- 8 Soil pH Testing
- 9 How To Test Your Soil’s pH values
- 10 Lowering pH values:
- 11 Raising pH values:
- 12 Professional Soil Testing
Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit
Plants will only grow well when the soil pH is satisfactory, and it contains the essential elements for growth.
The Luster Leaf-1601 Rapitest Soil Test Kit is an inexpensive and easy to use kit for checking the soil pH and the amount of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous(P) and Potash(K) in the soil.
The innovative test kit involves adding the contents of capsules to the soil solution in water and using the color of the mixture to determine the soil content.
Simple and comprehensive instructions for using the test kit are provided so that beginners to soil testing and experienced persons can all use it easily.
Each kit contains all the supplies required for completing 40 tests, including 10 tests for each of the parameters being tested, the soil pH, N, P, K. To help the gardener, the soil composition preferred for more than 450 plants is provided.
An eyedropper is provided with the kit so that the soil solution can be easily transferred to the comparator. The kit is a quick and effective way to determine the reason why the plants are not growing well so that corrective measures to improve the soil can be taken.
Why We Like It
- Quick results
- Easy to use
- Fairly accurate
- Warranty: n/a
This soil test kit is simple and ideal for the amateur gardener who wishes to find out if there is any problem in his garden or farm soil.
Dr.meter Pocket Size pH Soil Tester
This pH meter is a great product for people in need of a reliable pH reader. It has a simple and straightforward calibration as well as accurate readings.
It comes in a secure storage case protecting its glass from any damage during shipment. It also comes with a battery inserted and an extra pack of four in case you run out.
One thing that some customers have observed is that the more often one uses this meter, the more accurate and faster the results are displayed.
Avoid leaving it forgotten in drawers as its capacity and accuracy reduces.
This product has many little parts some of which are breakable. Simply contacting the company will enable you to get replacement parts easily.
The meter needs to be stored in a solution so as to keep the calibrations accurate. In case you forget, you can use an electrode cleaning solution to get it back to good working condition.
Customers have given this product a vote of confidence with a low error margin.
This is a great product for people who need a great soil test kit. It can be used across many domains as well. Including in the lab, to test swimming pool pH, for hydroponics, to check wine and beer pH when making them among several other applications.
It is also a great product if you need something that has a return policy and warranty.
Why We Like It
- Automatic calibration
- Fairly Accurate
- Multiple pH testing uses
- Warranty: 1 year
This is a small product but it works well and it comes fully loaded with the right batteries ready to use.
Varomorus Soil Sampler Probe
The Varomorus Soil Sampler Probe is a 36″ stainless steel piece of equipment that is ideal for soil testing.
Whether you are an avid gardener, environmentalist, or a landscape professional, this rust free sampler probe will make your task of gathering a soil sample easier than before.
This T-handle soil sampler probe is light, at only three pounds, and has a footstep to assist you in getting the sampler probe in the heaviest of soils.
It comes in one piece; no assembly required! You can start collecting the soil samples right away.
The probe is designed to give you a quick look at the soil you are inspecting so that you can make an assessment without any delay. This is perfect for those of us on tight schedules and deadlines.
Why We Like It
- Easy and quick to use
- Warranty: 1 year
We liked this probe because of how easy it is to use. And, how the footstep on the probe assists with getting a soil sample in all different types of soil environments.
Bluelab PENSOILPH Soil Test Kit
Based on reviews, The Bluelab PENSOILPH soil testing pen is a solid choice for those looking for a reliable PH tester that works in both soil and liquid.
According to reviewers, this soil testing kit is perfect for a vast range of uses and is well designed and easy to use.
Customers rate this product highly for its accurate PH testing abilities, and its versatility, as it can be used to test many different mediums.
Although rated high for its accuracy and versatility, the Bluelab PENSOILPH is criticized for its fragile design, which can break easily if mishandled.
The most positive reviews commend this product for being easy to calibrate and takes very little time to set up.
All in all, we would say the reviews for this product have been more positive than anything.
Ultimately there were many reasons we liked this product. The ease of use aspect of the soil testing kit won us over when compared to some of the alternatives available out there, and its versatility makes it the excellent choice for those looking more a more free testing kit.
When taking everything into account, we would rate this as one of the more trusted soil testing kits out there for those looking to get a more precise reading when measuring PH levels.
Why We Like It
- LCD-backlit display
- Easy two-point calibration
- Warranty: 1 year
We liked the PENSOILPH because of the simple calibration and an easy to read display. And the price point is pretty reasonable for a testing kit of this accuracy.
XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Meter
Overall this meter does its job well, and the price is considered one of the better ones in its class.
It supports a great warranty which is good for such a delicate product and is very easy to understand for anyone that is new to gardening or checking the moisture in their soil.
It is also worth noting that even some professional gardeners and extreme plant enthusiasts use this product and are not disappointed.
It is easy for someone who is new to gardening to understand and is very easy to maintain because there are no batteries or extra parts to keep track of.
This wide range of usage is compounded by the fact that it comes with a generous 18-month warranty means that you can rest assured that your purchase will either work as intended or you can get your money back or moisture sensor replaced.
This all boils down to mean that the XLUX T10 Meter is a great addition to your garden tools and would be a great purchase if you are in the market.
Why We Like It
- Simple display
- No batteries needed
- Warranty: 18 months
We like the XLUX meter because it is great value for the money.
Why Test Your Soil
When it comes to the health of your garden, if you want the best, most nutritious and healthiest then the best thing to do is to test your soil.
Testing your soil helps you determine if your soil has too much acid or alkaline. These seemingly small factors can have a massive effect on your health and your family’s.
Understand that plants are just like people, each has its own different needs in order to grow. Some are more sensitive, some need more than others and some need to be examined.
Nutrients, in whatever shape or form, we all need them for our everyday living.
Now, when you look at your soil, it looks fine. Maybe a bit dry but looks fine. But without proper testing, you will never know if your soil is fertile enough or healthy. Also, did you know that over-fertilization actually ruins your plants?
A side effect of this is over-growth or what you might call as plant mutation, have you ever seen a 3 legged carrot? It’s weird looking, do you want to eat that? Maybe use as a prop for Halloween, but not for eating because you never know what’s really inside that thing, it could possibly have a negative effect on you and your family.
In this article, we will cover as many of your gardening needs and wants, ensuring not only your health but your family’s.
We will cover everything from what macronutrient testing and micronutrient testing means. And what pH actually means for your soil, how to rise it, how to lower it and everything else in between.
What Types of Testings can I do for my Soil?
While the majority of plants get their macronutrients from elements found in the soil, water, air, and the sun. There are certain chemical elements that need to be balanced, reduced or added to maximize the growth of your plants.
Think of it this way, growing up we heard that in order to grow big, strong bones. We needed calcium, particularly milk, in the case of a plant, it needs a fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio.
There are unseen elements in your soil such as potassium. Too much potassium can aggravate your plant’s uptake of manganese, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
Those chemical compounds put simply, have an effect on your body’s digestive processes. This excess of potassium comes from over-fertilization.
Most commercial fertilizers have an NPK rating on them, which stands for Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium; each of these chemical elements should be balanced, unfortunately, the vast majority of tests done especially with regard to nitrogen is inaccurate and for phosphorus and potassium, they have varying degrees of accuracy, that’s the good news, that they’re accurate.
Okay, so as to not confuse you. Let’s go back to basics, your soil, your plants cannot fully grow if you don’t use fertilizers, right?
Put simply, a fertilizer helps build the bones of your plant meaning it helps bring up or cultivate the development of multiple minor nutrients which will ultimately build larger nutrients or molecules such as protein, sugars, carbohydrates and so on.
The general accepted numbers/ratio are 10 (N) – 5 (P) – 5 (K) — of course, there are more ways to measure this accurately.
Key Facts about Macronutrients:
- Nitrogen: is the building block of a plant; it forms proteins, that synthesizes or chains together vitamins
- Phosphorus: is essentially a plant’s capacity for storing and using energy for its normal growth and development
- Potassium: is a kind of worker, that fights off disease, monitors a plant’s temperature and increases a plant’s overall health/quality.
Micronutrient testing looks deeper into what is the real state of a plant. Just because a plant looks good, doesn’t mean it is good.
Micronutrients essentially are like the legs of a table, each leg is composed of very specific elements such as antioxidants, minerals, and/or vitamins.
Macronutrients or the table-head itself can easily be tested as you only need a small bags of small amounts of soil to determine the state of your soil but with micronutrients, you need to dig deeper and use specific tools to find out what are the state of the iron, chlorine, copper, boron and so on are.
Key Facts about Micronutrients:
- Micronutrients are essentially what make-up a macronutrient
- Micronutrients are needed to achieve a plant’s fully balanced nutrition
Soil pH Testing
pH is the measurement of acidity or the basicity of a plant/substance, pH values are expressed in positive numbers, ranging from 0-14, with 7 being the neutral number meaning it is neither basic nor acidic.
The ideal pH value is 6.5 – 7.5, the value of your soil’s pH determines whether it does or does not have the strength to fight off the growth of harmful bacteria and roots as well as an indicator whether your plant has too much or too few micronutrients such as iron and/or others.
Key Facts about pH values:
- When it’s above 7.5, it is basic which means the plant will wither and dies
- When it’s below 6.5, it is acidic and the plant never truly grows and it just kills itself
How To Test Your Soil’s pH values
There are essentially two ways, a traditional chemical tester/probe or a digital pH probe/tester, with the latter being the most ideal.
The best kind of digital pH testers is the one that comes with vials. They are more accurate, as you take the soil and water, put them inside the vial and see the pH values for yourself.
Please note that each type of plant has its own preferred levels of pH. For example, blueberries prefer acidic soils and flowers like lilies prefer more basic/alkaline soils. Also, take into consideration the weather/seasons in your area. Now, here’s a list of ways on raising and lower your pH values.
Lowering pH values:
- Sphagnum peat: a fantastic source of fertilizer and organic matter.
- Granular sulfur: an affordable and safe option. The effect is a bit slow.
- Aluminum/Iron sulfate: is similar to sulfur but the nutrient booster is 5x-6x faster
- Fertilizers: certain fertilizers have additional ingredients like ammonium nitrate, ammonia sulfate, urea and more. Please check the label of each
Raising pH values:
- Limes: are a common and relatively affordable choice. Please note that you combine the soil with it, as the lime only affects the upper layer of the soil, doesn’t go through the soil
- Potassium carbonate: a highly soluble solution, perfect for drip irrigation and distribution throughout the roots. Reaches deep down into the soil
Professional Soil Testing
While the methods and products we mentioned above are all fantastic especially the digital pH testers. There is another easier option, and that is hiring a professional.
A professional has the experience and expertise to help eliminate all complications, evaluate more thoroughly and actually give you a plan, a strategy on how to best grow your plants.