If you’re not testing, you’re guessing!

Whether you’re growing a garden, lawn, pasture, orchard, or row crops, soil testing is the best way to determine the right rate, timing, placement, and source of amendments for your particular crop and site conditions. Thurston Conservation District assists in analyzing and providing recommendations based on your soil and nutrient test results. To submit a soil sample to the Thurston Conservation District, follow the instructions below.

You can expect:

  • A soil analysis report from A&L Western Laboratories, which tells you the levels of each nutrient in your soil. Example A&L Report.
  • A write-up from Thurston Conservation District interpreting your results which will help you see whether each nutrient is high or low and what the optimal ranges are for each nutrient. Example TCD Soil Report.
  • Recommendations from Thurston Conservation District for how to amend your soil. These recommendations include what to apply, how much, and when based on the crop you are growing and general recommendations for our area (organic or conventional, based on preference). Our recommendations follow land grant university guidelines and research that has been done for specific crop needs.

Soil Sample Submission Instructions

  1. Take a soil sample following our Soil Sampling Procedures handout or watch the video above.
  2. 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
  1. Place your soil sample in the refrigerator and keep chilled until ready for drop-off.
  2. Select the test type that is right for you — See options below.
  3. Fill out the online soil sample submission form (below). Start by entering today’s date. The form will automatically expand with more options.
  4. 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.
  5.  Make sure the ID on your sample matches the ID on your online form. Note: each soil sample should have a unique sample ID.
  6. Samples are mailed out on Tuesdays, it will take up to two weeks from that Tuesday to get results.
  7. Once your sample has been processed, you will receive an invoice from Paypal by email. Please note, this may be up to a week after you have dropped off your sample.

We’ve received unprecedentedly high interest in our soil testing services this year, due to this high volume, soil analysis reports may take three – four weeks to generate at this time.

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
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • pH and buffer index
  • Sulfur

Comprehensive Soil Test: $48.00

A Comprehensive Soil Test is recommended is 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, hoophouses, or other areas shielded from winter rains where problematic buildup of salts can sometimes occur. This test includes:

  • Organic Matter
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • pH and buffer pH
  • Sulfur
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Boron
  • Sodium
  • 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 Leah Kellogg at tcdadmin@thurstoncd.com or 360-754-3588 ext.100

Interested in learning more about Soil & Nutrient Testing?

Leah Kellogg
Administrative Assistant
360-754-3588, ext. 100

You can also use our contact form.