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FREE soil testing: How to make your garden or flowers grow better

The NC Cooperative Extension offers free soil testing until Thanksgiving.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — How does your garden grow? Well, if you’re like me, not as well as I was hoping. Wouldn’t it be great to have an expert to ask questions to?

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension has offices in all 100 counties. You can look for yours here. You can call or email them any lawn or gardening questions you have. (I’ve often emailed them a picture of an insect that I couldn’t identify!)

One of the many services offered is soil testing. Until Thanksgiving, the testing is free. After, it’s about $4.

Offices usually have a pick-up and drop-off outside.

“We have forms, we have little boxes to give out. You put a little soil in there, we have the steps to do that for you. You do your own test, you send it into Raleigh,” said Ben Grandon, NC Cooperative Extension, Guilford County office. 

The test measures soil PH which will help you figure out what you need to add to make sure crops, plants, and flowers will grow well.

You should have your soil tested every two to three years for sandy soils, and three to four years if you have clay soil.

Just recently, there was an Instagram post about how you needed to soak your mums for an hour to keep them alive.  

“I think soaking in that container might help it, but it’s probably not my favorite way. I would prefer to feel the container to know how much I need to add, but I think it's just getting that plant fully hydrated so it can withstand the temperatures,” said Grandon.


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