If you’re not testing, you’re guessing!
Do you grow a garden, lawn, pasture, orchard, or row crops? Soil testing is the best way to find the right rate, timing, placement, and source of amendments for your growing goals! Thurston Conservation District offers analysis and recommendations based on your soil and nutrient test results. To submit a soil sample, follow the instructions below.
During the holiday season, you can expect 4+ weeks turnaround time to receive your soil test recommendations. You’ll have them well in advance of spring amending!
From your test, you can expect:
- A soil analysis report from Midwest Labs which tells you the levels of each nutrient in your soil.
- A write-up from Thurston Conservation District based on your results. This will help you see which nutrients are high or low and what the best ranges are for each nutrient. Check out this example TCD Soil Report.
- Suggestions from Thurston Conservation District for how to amend your soil. These include what to apply, how much, and when based on what you are growing. It will also have general suggestions for our area, using organic or conventional amendments based on your preference. Our recommendations follow land grant university guidelines and research on specific crop needs.
Want to learn more about testing your soil? Check out this podcast episode we recorded with our soil scientist, Adam Peterson.
Soil Sample Submission Instructions
- Take a soil sample following our Soil Sampling Procedures handout or watch the video above.
- Place at least 2 cups of soil in a Ziploc bag and label with:
- Full name
- A unique five-character long sample ID. Create one with any combination of letters and numbers that you like (please avoid sequential numbers like 00001, 00002, etc.)
- Phone number
- Place your soil sample in the refrigerator and keep chilled until ready for drop-off.
- Select the test type that is right for you — See the options below.
- Fill out the online soil sample submission form (below). Start by entering today’s date. The form will automatically expand with more options.
- Drop your soil sample off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) in the blue cooler outside the Thurston Conservation District office (2918 Ferguson St. SW, Ste A Tumwater, WA 98512). Please note: Samples submitted during the weekend could reach high temperatures in the cooler, which may skew results. Do not drop off samples on the weekends.
- Make sure the ID on your sample matches the ID on your online form. Note: each soil sample should have a unique sample ID.
- Samples are mailed out on Thursdays, it will take 4+ weeks from that Thursday to get results. This longer time is due to the holiday season.
- Once your sample has been processed, you will receive an invoice from PayPal by email. Please note, this may be a day or two after you’ve dropped off your sample.
Available Test Types
Basic Soil Test: $25.00
A Basic Soil Test is recommended if you have a garden, pasture, hay field, lawn, or are establishing a new annual crop. This test includes:
- Organic Matter
- pH and buffer index
Comprehensive Soil Test: $48.00
A Comprehensive Soil Test is recommended if you are establishing a new perennial crop, like an orchard, or if you want to correct soil deficiencies for better crop yield and performance. These nutrients are important for many specialty crops. This test also measures levels of soluble salts, which are particularly important for greenhouses, hoop houses, or other areas shielded from winter rains where problematic buildup of salts can sometimes occur. This test includes:
- Organic Matter
- pH and buffer pH
- Soluble Salts
Post-construction Permit Soil Test: $25.00
A Post-construction Permit Test is recommended if you need to know your organic matter content and cation exchange capacity (C.E.C) for a final permit approval with Thurston County. This test is similar to the basic soil test but does not include nitrogen.
Additional Available Tests:
- Plant Nutrient Analysis
- Manure Analysis
- Compost Analysis
- Hay and Feed Analysis
- Selenium Content
- Manure Lagoon Water Analysis
If you are unsure of what test to choose, contact Adam Peterson at email@example.com or 360-754-3588 to leave a message for a callback.
Interested in learning more about Soil & Nutrient Testing?
You can also use our contact form.