Q: My vegetable bed really struggled this year, nothing grew very well. What can I do to make sure the soil is OK?

A: If you are a King County resident, (excluding Issaquah and Federal Way), you can take advantage of a free soil testing program offered by the King Conservation District. Residents can have up to five soil samples tested for “the big three” nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium), pH, and a list of micronutrients.

Q: My vegetable bed really struggled this year, nothing grew very well. What can I do to make sure the soil is OK?

A: If you are a King County resident, (excluding Issaquah and Federal Way), you can take advantage of a free soil testing program offered by the King Conservation District. Residents can have up to five soil samples tested for “the big three” nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium), pH, and a list of micronutrients. The lab will send you recommendations specific to your soil and plant needs. More information about this program, where and how to take samples can be found at: http://www.kingcd.org/pub_soil_soilsam.htm. For questions, contact Jason Mirro at the King Conservation District via email at jason.mirro@kingcd.org or by phone at 425-282-1905.

There are other laboratories available that test for contaminants such as lead, arsenic, pesticides, oil, or gasoline. There is a charge for testing for contaminants and the fees vary by lab. If you currently grow or plan to grow edibles in a plot close to the foundation of a house that was built before 1978, it may have been painted with lead paint that was later scraped or sanded into the nearby soil. If the plot is close to a busy street or if vehicles were worked on the property in the past, contamination by automobiles may be an issue. Contamination may also be present in soils that were previously covered by decks built with pressure-treated wood. Call or email The Garden Hotline for a complete listing of labs that test for contaminants.


Laura Matter, Natural Soil Building Program Manager at The Garden Hotline
The Garden Hotline can be reached at 206-633-0224, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions can also be emailed to help@gardenhotline.org.
More information can be found at http://www.gardenhotline.org/

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here