Soil and Preparation
Soil management is the most complex learning task of the gardener. A through understanding of soil formulation and chemistry is not necessary for a good garden, and in fact, would require several years of study. But the ability to recognize different soil types, a basic understanding of plant nutrition, and a working knowledge of fertilizers, soil additives and should not be neglected.
Government agencies in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia provide low cost soil tests to home gardeners, and will diagnose insect problems and plant diseases. Always inquire first about what sort of sample to send them before you mail them bugs or dirt. For soil samples, the agencies provide special containers and directions on how to collect samples; for insect and diseases they can advise you by phone what sort of sample they’ll need. For more information please contact your county Court House for a list of Cooperative Extension Services.