Even though this is the Winter that just won't go away, it's time to start getting ready for Spring planting! Before we start planting, we apply different types of commercial fertilizers, chicken litter, lime, etc. to our fields. How do we know how much of what to put where? That's where soil samples come into play!
Every three years, we drive around every field we farm and take samples. We take a few samples from each field. It depends on how big the field is as to how many we take.
Each sample is dumped into a bucked and stirred around with a spoon. We do this for each field. You do not mix fields together.
It's a lot easier if you have awesome help.
After the dirt is mixed up in the bucket, it is scooped into one of these handy dandy bags. Sometimes it's a box. Label it with your info, farm #, and name of field. We have awesome field names like "home place," "2 acres in the woods," "Shorty's," and "cannon ball field." Repeat this process a bazillion more times, stick them all in boxes, and mail them to your local soil lab. They send you back all the information you ever wanted about the soil. What it needs, what is has too much of, and what type of soil it is. These services aren't just for large farmers either. If you can't grow anything in your garden or your roses keep dying, consider taking a soil sample!