Do you know where your local extension office is? Yeah, oddly enough, neither did I. I mean, I only tell people probably a dozen times a week (in my wisest garden sage voice — which I personally think sounds something like the old guy in the funny hat that is in ALL the best anime movies — which I can think as I pretty much only give gardening advice through email — but back to the point) that they should take their soil to their local extension office and have that soil tested.
Of course, have I taken this advice? Nope. I am really bad in the “do as I say and not as I doâ€ department. Just ask my kids, who can tell you with great accuracy how often I have had ice cream after they went to bed without any and skipped breakfast after making them eat something marginally healthy in the morning.
But this year, I decided it was high time I went and got my soil tested. So I packed up my soil and headed off to see my local friendly extension office (which was in a slightly not so friendly neighborhood). In I walked with soil sample proudly in hand, ready to make wonderful changes to the soil of my vegetable and flower beds and… the lady behind the counter quickly dashed those dreams.
“We don’t do soil tests,â€ she stated plainly.
What! The extension office doesn’t do soil tests! What is happening to my gardening world? I have always been told that extension offices do soil tests.
Then from behind a door appeared just about the sexiest horticulturist I have ever seen, and this includes that guy that Victory Garden brought in from down under to try to save their ratings. Being a knight in shining Dockers, he informed me that while OSU extension service does not do soil tests, he could help me fill out a form to have my soil samples tested at UMass Extension Offices. I went all giggly and weak kneed and tried to pretend that the 2 children running around the lobby were escaped urban livestock that had nothing to do with me.
I put on my best doe eyed newbie while he patiently explained how I needed to have samples for my vegetable beds tested differently than my flower beds. Feigned ignorance is always a nice way to extend a nice male watching moment. But there is only so much that one can say about soil testing and after he had said it and had handed me my form and soil samples, I reclaimed my wayward children and left the little extension office in the ‘hood.
So, my local extension office does not do soil sample tests, but there are a lot of other things a local extension office is good for. Like identifying those troublesome critters that are plaguing your garden, diagnosing and recommending solutions for whatever diseases are attacking your plants and suggesting all sorts of wonderful plants to grow in your neck of the woods (or city as the case may be).
What I can’t guarantee is that you will have a sexy hot plant guy to help you out. That is something that I have all special in my extension office and I think I will be making a lot more trips there in the future… with my, ahem, gardening questions of course.
Thanks much to Jim Thompson of the Cuyahoga County Extension Office for his help this week!