Whether you're having your soil analyzed for chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides or testing for pH level, mineral or nutrient content, the process is similar. Delivering a proper sample to a testing facility will ensure that you receive an accurate assessment of your soil's chemical content. Some soil-testing facilities will recommend changes in the way you collect the soil, but most laboratories have the same procedure.
Select a garden trowel that is not made of galvanized metal, brass or bronze. These materials can contaminate your sample.
Clean your tools, including your garden trowel and plastic bucket, with water before using. Dry tools thoroughly.
Dig 1 tbsp. of soil from the surface of your sampling location. Place this into a bucket. Then dig down approximately 6 inches and remove another tbsp. of soil and place in the bucket. Repeat for all sampling sites throughout your property.
Mix all samples completely. Place the samples in a brown paper bag and close with a twist tie.
Label the bag with the locations you have sampled, as well as any information your laboratory requires.
Place all sample bags in a sturdy, cardboard box and ship to the laboratory for testing.