close-up photo of soil after tilling

Knowing the pH and nutrient content of your soil is important to successful growing.

Soils and Climate


Soil Texture. This factsheet discusses the four soil texture classifications of sands, silts, loams and clays; how they combine to make textural classifications; how soil texture is determined; and the 5 soil management groups in New York State.

Soil Organic Matter. This factsheet describes types of organic matter in soil; their physical, chemical & biological benefits; farm practices that help maintain or increase soil organic matter levels; and the importance of continued monitoring of soil organic matter content.

The Cornell Soil Health website offers a variety of resources on soil testing and improvement.

Soil Testing. CCE Chenango offers three soil testing opportunities:

  • pH: We conduct pH testing and recommendations in the office for free. Please bring in 1/2 cup of dry soil from a few spots in your field, garden or lawn and either our Chenango County Master Gardeners or our Hort/NR Educator will test the pH. (Acidity and Alkalinity measurements only)
  • Full Nutrient Analyses: Soil samples requiring a full nutrient analysis are send to the Agro-One Lab in Ithaca.This lab works in partnership with the Cornell Nutrient Analysis Lab to provide full recommendations for soil testing. Cost $16 per sample, Commercial Growers need to know their soil types, it can be looked up here: or at our office. Please bring in a total of 2 cups of dry soil taken from 8-12 locations in your field, garden or lawn at the root level of the plants you are trying to grow. Full information about the Agro-One Lab can be found at:
  • If you are looking for non-standard soil tests or tests for research we may send you to the Cornell Nutrient Analysis Lab: Please contact our office to determine which lab you need if you are unsure. The Cornell Lab no longer processes regular soil samples.


Growing Degree Days (GDD) are a measure of heat accumulation used by horticulturalists to predict the date that a flower will bloom or a crop reach maturity. Statistics for the Northeast are provided on this Cornell Atmospheric Sciences & Turf Team website.

Cornell Gardening page with information on average dates for last spring frost and first fall frost, US hardiness zone map, and microclimates.

Last updated July 26, 2019