Why should I take a soil sample in the first place?

   Having your soil tested can be looked at much like visiting the doctor. No one necessarily likes to do it, but there are several reasons why it can be a good idea!

1. To establish a baseline:

It is a good idea to visit a doctor for a physical even when we are perfectly healthy. Even if your soil does not appear to be causing any problems, it is a good idea to have a soil test done just to establish baseline values. If something does go wrong in the future, you may be able to compare new soil test results to your previously established baseline values to determine how to correct the problem.

2. To diagnose a problem:

If you are ill, you may visit a doctor to find out what the problem is and how to fix it. The same applies to your soil. If a garden that has been healthy in the past suddenly stops producing, a soil test may help determine a nutrient that is lacking or other problem that can be fixed with a "prescription" of fertilizer.

3. To monitor "recovery":

When you have been under a doctor's care, he or she may ask you to return for a follow-up visit. When you are attempting to improve your soil's 'health', it is a good idea to monitor the progress to be sure the 'cure' is taking effect.

4. To find a hidden problem:

Often, even if we feel healthy, a doctor may point out things that could become a problem if left unchecked. This can also be true with a soil test, since fertility levels change over time. You may be over or under fertilizing each year, but this may not be apparent in your plants until some critical point is reached. A soil test may help you to correct bad habits before they have an effect on your lawn, garden, or landscaping beds.

Why should I send my sample to CALMAR?

What about "do it yourself" home test kits?

Many home test kits are not full spectrum tests, providing only soil pH. While some may be fairly accurate, they require you to perform the test and interpret the results. For the same cost, you can receive a complete soil analysis from CALMAR along with the interpretation of the results and recommendations.

What makes CALMAR different from any other lab?

CALMAR soil testing labs have a 20-year history of providing the most accurate and precise tests as possible.

  • CALMAR tests for each nutrient individually. We use methods approved and researched over the years to be reliable and reproducible. Many laboratories today use less expensive methods that require less labor and equipment to produce more results in less time. At CALMAR, we are committed to providing the most accurate test results possible for both our agricultural customers as well as the home gardener.
  • CALMAR does not subject soil samples to high temperatures to speed the drying process. This practice may seriously alter some test results, and effect the quality of the results and therefore the value of the recommendations that you receive.
  • CALMAR does not use hammer mills to break down the soil for testing. Although it is necessary to grind your samples to achieve a uniform sample for analysis, we use an automated "mortar and pestle" style grinder to do this. Hammer mills, though commonly used in the industry, can be destructive to the soil lattice and seriously alter the test results. Again, our methods may be a bit more costly, but we feel it results in superior products - which are your test results!
  • CALMAR has a very strong quality control program that employs chemical known samples, known soil samples, and blind split sample comparisons. A minimum of 10% of all samples are tested twice, just to confirm the quality is consistent throughout a day's testing. In addition, CALMAR participates in several regional and national soil "exchanges" several times each year, so that we know our results meet the standards set by the industry.


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