Rapitest Soil Test Kit Instructions

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Cooperative Extension offices usually recommend a soil test before you start planting anything, from flowers and vegetables to sod. The practice is the best method of finding out how much nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium your soil has. Soil tests also measure acidity level in your topsoil. This is important to know because plants placed in soil with incompatible pH can't access nutrients. Rapitest is a soil test kit that lets you perform your test conveniently at home.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Container
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Large bowl

pH Test

  • Collect a soil sample from a depth of 3 inches and set it in a clean container to dry. Discard any debris such as rocks and roots. Break up any clumps of soil.

  • Remove the capsules out of the green comparator. The Rapitest comes with four comparators with color charts and 40 test capsules.

  • Find the fill line in the green comparator and add dried soil to that level.

  • Open one green test capsule and add the powder to the comparator with the soil sample.

  • Find the water fill line and add water to that level. The kit comes with a dropper to make this step easy. The test kit manufacturer recommends using distilled water.

  • Cap the comparator and shake it to mix everything inside. Wait one minute while the soil settles. The color of the soil will change.

  • Find the soil sample color on the pH chart to learn how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Amend your topsoil according to the recommendations that accompany the Rapitest Soil Test Kit.

Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium Tests

  • Collect 1 cup of soil and put it in a large bowl.

  • Fill the bowl containing the soil with 5 cups of water.

  • Mix the water with the soil sample for one minute, using a spoon. Set the bowl aside. Proceed when there's water above the soil and it looks like all the sediment has sunken to the bottom. This can take up to a day.

  • Pick the comparator labeled for the nutrient you wish to test. The phosphorous test kit, for instance, is blue. Open it up and remove the capsules from it.

  • Fill the comparator only with water from the blend you prepared in step 3. Use the dropper provided to make it easy to suck up the liquid without disturbing the soil on the bottom. Add the water to the fill line.

  • Open one of the capsules that match the color of the kit you're using (e.g., blue capsule for phosphorous test). Pour the contents in the comparator with the liquid.

  • Cap the comparator and shake it. Put it down and wait 10 minutes. The liquid will change color.

  • Find the liquid's color, or a close approximation, on the chart for that test. The number next to it indicates one of four levels: depleted, deficient, adequate or sufficient.

  • Amend the soil based on your nutrient test result, following the recommendations included in the Rapitest Soil Test Kit.

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References

  • Photo Credit Test Kit image by Cinneman from Fotolia.com
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