Representative results of soil testing depend on collecting a good sample. The tools used, area sampled, depth and uniformity of the sample, information provided, and packaging will all influence the quality of your results. The instructions below, while fairly elaborate, are meant to ensure that your soil sample will give you the kind of information you are looking for.
Samples must be a fair representation of the area and should represent only one soil type or area, i.e., a vegetable garden or an orchard block. Each sample should consist of multiple smaller samples, or cores, from multiple sites within the sample area, mixed together. If you are able to manage such areas differently then you may want to sample problematic areas within the same field separately in order to determine whether there is a notable difference in available nutrients. Keep a record for yourself of the area represented by each sample.
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