Managing soil and nutrients in yards and gardens
The nutrients in your soil are what feed your plants and can determine whether you have a healthy lawn, flourishing trees or a bumper crop of zucchini.
Before starting any yard or garden project, we recommend having your soil tested by the University of Minnesota Soil Testing Lab. They will let you know if your soil needs added nutrients depending on what you want to plant.
This short video (00:01:11) gives you an idea of why you should test your soil:
This step-by-step video (00:05:29) shows how to take a soil sample for testing.
- Quick guide to fertilizing plants
- Fertilizing and watering container plants
- What is the right fertilizer for your lawn and garden?
- Interpreting your compost report
- Coffee grounds, eggshells and Epsom salts in the home garden
- Water wisely — Start in your own backyard with smart watering tips for healthy lawns, gardens, trees and shrubs.
Stay up to date
- Read Yard and Garden News
- Listen to the Smart Gardens and What's Killing My Kale? podcasts.
Caring for your soil
Healthy soil is the foundation of thriving gardens, lawns, and landscapes.
- Read more about what makes soil healthy: Living soil, healthy garden.
- Reducing tillage in your garden — By reducing the intensity or frequency of tillage, we can foster soil environments that are more diverse and resilient.
These videos show various practices you can use to improve the health of your soil.
A lead test can tell you whether it is safe to garden directly in the soil. This is especially important in urban areas or near heavy industry. This video walks you through how to test your soil for lead, how to interpret results, and how to garden safely if lead is present.