Soils Information for Gardeners
Our program developed the soils curriculum and teaches soils classes for the WSU Master Gardener program in western Washington. We prepared the publications below as resources on soils and organic amendments for Northwest gardeners.
- Collecting a Soil Sample. Shows procedure for collecting a soil sample for nutrient analysis from a garden or small farm. For addition information see Soil sampling for home gardens and small acreages (pdf, slow loading).
- Determining Soil Texture by Hand. You can learn how to estimate the texture of your soil by working a soil sample with your hand. For more information see the Soil Texture Chart.
- The Sponge Analogy for Soil Moisture. Explains the role of soil pores in water movement and water holding capacity using a sponge as an analogy.
- Soils and Fertilizers: (pdf, 6meg, 72 slides). Soil physical properties, fertilizers, soil amendments, cover crops.
- Soils of the Puget Sound Area: (pdf, 1meg, 29 slides) Shows the major soil types of the Puget Sound area, how they are related to local geology, and their suitability and limitations for different types of land use.
Closing the Recycling Loop Through Organic Amendments in Agriculture and Gardens. (Archived, original broadcast date 5 Jan 11, please wait past the "check our troubleshooting..." page)
Publications of interest:
Cover crops for home gardens in Western Washington and Oregon. (free online html) Cogger, C.G., D. Havens, S. Fransen, J. Luna, W. Anderson, and S. Kuo. 1997. EB 1824. Washington State University Cooperative Extension.
Soil management for small farms. (online pdf) Cogger, C.G. 2000.; EB 1895. Washington State University Cooperative Extension, Oregon State University Extension Service, University of Idaho Cooperative Extension System, US Department of Agriculture.
Backyard composting. (online pdf) or Como Hacer y Usar El Compost (pdf, spanish version, 2001 EC1544-S). Cogger, C.G. and D.M. Sullivan. 2009. EB 1784e. Washington State University Cooperative Extension.
Acidifying soil for blueberries and ornamental plants in the yard and garden West of the Cascade mountain range in Oregon and Washington. (online pdf) Hart, J., D. Horneck, R. Stevens, N. Bell, and C. Cogger. 2003. EC1560-E. Oregon State University Extension Service.