A recent article about starting your own garden, stressed the importance of knowing your soil and the nutrients it may or may not need. Whether your growing fruits and vegetables or just beautifying your landscape with lawn, flowers and shrubs soil health is a key factor. Here's how to get a free test.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County is offering free pH testing for up to 3 soil samples per household. It's all done without person to person contact, just place your soil samples in a plastic baggie and drop them off at their offices, 121 2nd Street in Oriskany. A bin marked pH Soil Samples is located at the front door. Inside is a form to fill out with your name, email address, and phone number. Include whether the samples are from a lawn, garden or fruit trees. Testing is done on Monday and Friday mornings.

Getting a good soil sample of course, is important in getting the best results. Unless you are concerned about a specific area in your garden or lawn, take samples from several areas in the lawn or garden area. Dig six-inches deep to get the sample, mix all the samples together and take 1/4 of a cup of the mixing and place in the baggie for testing. Here's more info on how to take a sample.

More extensive testing is available if needed, and farmers and commercial growers can also get testing done on a larger scale through the labs in Ithaca. CCE can assist by providing collection boxes and more information. Morning Ag Clips has more on the soil testing program.

CCE staff are working remotely but, phones are monitored and calls returned weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30 at 315-736-3394 ext.100. If you live outside of Oneida County, contact your local Extension Office.