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Master Gardeners of Steele County: Have a Question?

What planting zone are we in?

Steele County is in zone 4. You may learn more about local planting zones and take a look at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map by visiting the website:

Where can I get my soil tested?

The University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory provides routine soil testing and fertilizer recommendation services to: florists, farmers, cemeteries,composters,sod producers,agricultural lime producers,commercial vegetable/fruit growers, industrial lawn/landscape specialists homeowners, golf courses, athletic fields, nursery workers

Why should you have your soil tested? Soil testing: takes the guesswork out of fertilizer recommendations;
makes good economic sense; and ensures fertile soil without excess fertilizer application or pollution of the environment. Our fertilizer recommendations are: based on laboratory results, soil characteristics, past crop history, and crop nutrient requirements; and specific to Minnesota locations and conditions.

Soil Testing Lab, Rm. 135 Crops Research Bldg., 1902 Dudley Ave, St Paul, MN 55108-6089
Email: soiltest@umn.edu, Phone: 612 625-3101, FAX: 612 624-3420

The Soil Testing Laboratory is part of
the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

What is compost?

Compost (pronounced /ˈkɒmpɒst/ or US /ˈkɒmpoʊst/) also known as brown manure, is the aerobically decomposed remnants of organic matter. It is used in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture as a soil conditioner and fertiliser. It is also useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses).

Compost serves as a growing medium,or a porous, absorbent material that holds moisture and soluble minerals, providing the support and nutrients in which most plants will flourish. To maximize plant growth, it is sometimes necessary to dilute compost with soil or peat to reduce salinity or to add neutralisers to bring the pH closer to 7, or additional nutrients like fertilisers or manure, wetting agents, and materials to improve drainage and aeration, such as sand, grit, bark chips, vermiculite, perlite, or clay granules.

I am giving you a live link to our publication on making compost. It is important to remember that you NEVER add meat, milk products, grease, whole eggs or feces to a compost pile. Vegetable scraps and egg shells are perfectly acceptable.


Have a Gardening Question?

If you've got questions, we've got answers! Here are several ways you can easily access yard and garden information.

Master Gardener Helpline

Leave message 24/7. A Steele County Master Gardener will return your call.

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