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Following a couple easy steps will ensure that you get a representative soil sample of whatever area you are testing. The more uniform the samples you take, the more accurate the results will be. There are tools made specifically for taking soil samples, but if one is not available a bulb planter works just as well. The samples should be taken from the top four to six inches of soil.
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Take several different samples from all around the area in question. Mix the samples together in a bucket. Remove any stones, roots, or other debris from the soil.
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Most local Cooperative Extension Services can provide you with a kit for soil testing as well as process the results. If not, you may be able to find a private laboratory in your area. Most kits will provide a bag or box to place the sample in.
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Another alternative is purchasing a soil test kit from a garden center. Store bought test kits are easy to use and cost effective.