Late fall gardening tips from our expert include soil testing, more

Peony leaf blotch lesions are unsightly but do not harm the overall health of the plant.

Editor’s note: Throughout the growing season, Mike Hogan, OSU Extension Educator for Agriculture & Natural Resources in Franklin County, will answer gardening questions submitted by Dispatch readers. Send your questions to

Q: Is it too late to test my soil this year? Some of the crops in my vegetable garden did not do well this season and I’m wondering if soil fertility might be an issue.

A: Although soil can be tested for fertility and pH at any time of the year, fall is really the best season to do so. At this time of the year, soil-testing labs are not inundated with samples like they are in early spring, so test results are usually received from the lab very quickly.

Also, no matter what crop was grown in the soil you wish to test, the period has ended when most plants are actively growing and removing nutrients from the soil, so a soil test conducted at this time of the year will provide a good understanding of where the nutrient levels are in the soil, which will be helpful at the start of the growing season next spring.

Also, if your soil test indicates a need for a large amount of phosphorous or potassium, fall is an excellent time to incorporate these fertilizers into the soil.

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