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Soil test kit

Hello, can anyone recommend a soil test kit.  Don't really want to spend a lot if i can help it.  Ive seen one that is like  prong with a dial thing at the top that you simply push into the soil about £7...are these quite reliable?  Would the other sort be better with the couple of different test tubes in.  Would the front garden soil be more of less same as back garden or would I test each bed east and west as such?  sorry if I'm asking an idiots question!  I have some skimmia Kew in pots by the back door which I think I will now plant into the ground but am concerned that they may wither in time.  Many thanks


  • KT53KT53 South WestPosts: 7,297

    I've used the one with the little test tubes and it was simple to use.  If you don't know what's been done in the garden in the past it would be worth checking back and front.

  • CopperdogCopperdog Posts: 503

    Thanks KT53 appreciate your advice.  Any particular make to recommend or are they much the same?  We have been here for almost 20 years but Ive only got into 'gardening' in last couple of years.

  • KT53KT53 South WestPosts: 7,297

    I couldn't tell you what brand I used!  They should all come up with the same answer so go with whatever is best value.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,209

    Unless you're planning on setting up a nursery or growing championship winning veg, the cheapy ones you get in garden centres (with the test tubes) are fine - accurate enough for amateur gardening. There's enough stuff in them to allow you to do a few samples from around the garden to check if there's much variation. 

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,234

    You could always have some fun and make your own pH test kit from red cabbageimage

     You just chop some red cabbage finely, pour on boiling water and leave for 10 minutes ( or just simmer lightly for a few minutes. Then strain off, keeping the liquid. ( you can add the cabbage to dinner!) You can use the liquid and add it to a soil solution, as in bought test kits, or make tester strips from coffee filters dipped in the liquid then dried.

    Add a drop of acid like vinegar or lemon juice to your tester sample and it will go bright red. Add salt (alkaline) and it turns vivid blue. Neutral is purplish and slightllight alkaline is greenish.

    I've done this with a class of special ed kids testing household products and it was good fun and gave a wide spectrum of colours

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