What are the properties of the soil in your garden?

Free service to assist you in making that determination…

If you’ve been gardening in the same spot for a number of years you probably already know, and have ameliorated your soil to correct its deficiencies. However, if you’re starting a new garden (or are just curious), it is often helpful to know what the properties and limitations you can expect to encounter with your soil.

  • What is its texture (clay, sand or silt)?
  • How much organic matter does it have?
  • What is its pH?
  • Does it drain well or poorly?
  • Will I have to water frequently or less often?

These are some of the soil characteristics you can determine based on a soil survey. You may even want to know the soil types of land you are considering purchasing.

Bonner County has many different soil types. Much of the county has been mapped by the Soil Conservation Service. The most recent soil survey report was published in 1982 (soils don’t change much in 30 years) and is available online at the USDA website.

To use this publication you need to know what soil was mapped at your location. You can find this out by using a mapping program known as web soil survey.

This program is not exactly “user-friendly”. If you need help in using it to find out what type of soil you have in your garden, and then interpreting the results in terms of the soil’s limitations and benefits send requests for assistance to: or call message line at 208.265.2070

Alternately, you can contact our “in-house” expert, Gray Henderson, a soil scientist and member of the Bonner County Gardeners Association. He will be happy to assist you. He can be contacted at or 208.597.7192.

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