Building, planting, weeding and maintaining a vegie garden at home is a time-consuming process, so it would be a tragedy for your efforts to be wasted. To make sure your vegie patch is healthy, safe and nourished, it is important to test your garden's soil. Check out these three great reasons why you should have the soil in your home vegie garden professionally tested.
Determine Metal Concentration
Soil contamination and pollution occurs as a direct result of human action -- if agricultural pesticides, herbicides, chemicals and industrial waste have been present on your land in the past, your soil may be unsafe for growing fruit and vegetables. Determining the presence of heavy metals in your soil is particularly important for maintaining the health of your family, as high concentrations of metals, such as lead and arsenic, can cause serious health problems. When your soil is professionally tested, metal concentrations will be determined and compared against the Australian and international soil guidelines so that you know whether or not your residential soil is suitable for growing fruit and vegetables.
Assist pH Adjustments
Having soil in your vegie patch with a suitable pH for your crops is vital if you want to yield nutrient-dense fruit and vegetables. Most vegetables require a neutral soil pH between six and seven, and balancing the pH can be an ongoing process. A professional soil test will reveal the pH of your soil, and pH testing kits can also be purchased from your local hardware store or garden centre. Once you know the pH of your vegie patch soil, you can remedy acidic soil by adding dolomite or chicken manure, and reduce alkalinity by introducing compost, sulphur or iron chelate. By balancing the soil pH in your vegie patch, you will ensure your fruit and vegetables can access all the nutrients they need to thrive.
Identify Toxic Building Materials
If you have raised garden beds in your vegie garden, it is important that any building materials used are suitable for use around food. While reclaimed timber is a cost-effective way to construct a raised garden bed, the wood may have been treated with hazardous chemicals that can leech into your soil. Salvaged railway sleepers, for example, may have been treated with the carcinogen creosote. A professional soil test will identify levels of chemicals in your soil and help you pinpoint any building materials that are contaminating the soil in your vegie patch. If you are unsure if your vegie patch building materials are suitable, it is highly recommended that you discontinue consumption of any food grown in that area until a full soil analysis has been conducted.
For more information and advice on how soil testing can help you make a happy, healthy vegie garden, contact your local soil testing professionals today.