Free soil testing on offer this autumn


credit: Royal Horticultural Society

Free pH testing is on offer at Royal Horticultural Society gardens in September and October as part of the charity’s campaign to promote autumn planting.

The RHS is providing free analysis of soil samples to help gardeners pick the best plants for their plot and add them to the garden at the best time of year for many types, when the soil is still warm and they will have maximum time to establish before the growing season.

“Every five or so years or when designing and planting your garden, you need to know whether the soil is acid or alkaline, as different plants thrive in different soils,” says Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticultural Advisor.

“Wet summers can increase soil acidity, so this year checking pH is especially worthwhile. It is also important to check soil pH before making vegetable plots, planting fruit, when growth is disappointing, or where yellowing of foliage occurs.”

Gardeners should take five representative soil samples, six inches deep, from around their garden, mix them and take a two-cupful sample of this mix to any of the four RHS plant centres: at Wisley in Surrey, Hyde Hall in Essex, Rosemoor in Devon and Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire

There will also be free talks and demonstrations to support the campaign at the RHS garden plant centres.

To find out more about autumn planting visit


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