Step one in maximizing your food plot potential is a soil test. A soil test gives the plot manager the ease of mind in making an accurate fertilizer and lime application plan. Soil test can also save you money, as your plot may not need a lot of fertilizer or any at all. Also, it is important to keep the environment in mind as over fertilizing contributes to environmental pollution.
Soil can be tested anytime the ground is not frozen. You should test your soil before applying fertilizer. If you test your soil after a recent fertilizer application, the test results will be skewed. Test your soil at minimal, once every three years. In areas where the soil needed fertilizer, it is a good to retest the soil.
To get the best results on the overall area of your food plot, you should take a composite sample. Typically, you should use one sample per plot. Larger plots you may want to split them into sections and take separate composite samples from each section. A soil probe is the most ideal tool to utilize in taking a sample, however a spade or trowel works. Gather at least five (5) samples from areas in your plot/section and combine them in a bucket. Mix them together and place 1-2 cups of soil in the Soil Sample Bag.