Dig In: Connecting Atlanta Through Soil
See how building healthy soil can impact the greater Metro Atlanta community!
Don’t miss the “Healthy Soil, Healthy Community Festival”, Atlanta’s first event celebrating soil as a primary source for building gardens and communities. From compost goodies to locally-sourced food there will be plenty to dig into at the beautiful Wheat Street Garden in Historic Old 4th Ward.
Get ready to meet fellow community gardeners and local food advocates who are building healthy soil in the Metro Atlanta community.
- Enjoy delicious locally grown food and drinks
Fall plants for purchase
Connect to composting resources, organizations, and businesses
Get technical assistance and answers to your questions from composting, soil, and gardening experts
See Eventbrite for schedule and details.
Get your soil tested at the Festival
During the Healthy Soil, Healthy Community Festival, you are able to get your garden soil tested in two different ways.
Get information on your soil at the SoilSHOP! Public health and soil experts can do a free, anonymous XRF screening of your soil to provide you with immediate information regarding lead content.
The UGA Extension office will be present and able to take your soil sample for lab analysis. (The lab analysis is free for selected community gardens; costs start at $6 for a routine test for nutrients and pH) . Results can be mailed or emailed to you within 7-10 days.
What to bring for the soil test?
For the SoilSHOP (testing for lead content), bring a dry, rock-free, soil sample in a plastic, ziplock bag (about 2 cups soil) and get your soil screened while you enjoy other activities.
Collect a sample from 5-10 spots (6” deep) within your area of interest. Mix the soil, remove rocks,
and air dry it; do not use a flame to dry the soil. See pdf for details.
Only about 2 cups of soil is needed per sample. 1-3 sample bags per person please.
For the UGA lab test (nutritional content), sampling is very similar as described above.
Detailed information you can also find in this document.
Why should I test my soil?
When you want to increase plant vigor and yield in your garden, the nutritional content of your soil is extremely important. Healthy soil— full of microorganisms and organic matter— can decrease common gardening issues with pests, plant diseases, low yield, and soil drying between watering.
The UGA soil test report will provide you with the necessary information to amend your soil. You can receive a lab test that will give you information on the basic nutrients that plants need to grow well: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, as well as trace nutrients and pH. You can also have a test for organic matter, which can show you how much living matter and water-retaining capacity your soil has. UGA experts will be at the event to take your soil samples, answer your questions, and explain to you how to interpret your lab tests.
Depending on the past use of your growing site, and how close it is to the highway, you may want to have your soil tested or at least screened for lead. Historically, lead was used in paint and in gasoline. It does not wash away, but it remains in the soil. It can be concentrated near old buildings, the dripline of roofs, near highways, and sometimes in fill dirt brought in from offsite. Children under the age of 6 years are most at risk. Young children spend a lot of time on the ground and tend to put their hands or other objects (which may be contaminated with lead dust) into their mouths.
The SoilSHOP partners will help to explain what the soil screening result means, how it compares to other soils tested in the area, and the best ways you can garden safely in your soil
Healthy Soil Tool Kit bins and thermometer provided by:
The most economical composting bin on the market, the GEOBIN® Compost System is ideal for all levels, from beginner to master gardener.
Instruments has been manufacturing high quality compost thermometers and related instruments for over 20 years. Our goal is to provide you, our valued customer, with high quality products designed to withstand the harsh compost environment along with excellent service and support. Products include temperature, moisture, and oxygen probes.
*The mark "ATSDR" is owned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is used with permission. Use of this logo is not an endorsement by HHS or ATSDR of any particular product, service.