What kind of soil do I have?
Why does that make a difference? Well, your soil can make all the difference in the world to what you’re planting, especially if you’re a farmer, or a would-be farmer, but even if you’re just looking to put in a simple home landscape.
A tree that does perfectly fine in east Austin, may croak almost overnight in west Austin. So knowing your soil is indeed very important. You can learn a little bit just by digging a hole. You may not be able to get the shovel into the ground at all, meaning you may have heavy clay or rock. Or you may be able to dig a three-foot hole with ease.
I know you’ve heard of having your soil tested through the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, which will give you great information about the nutrients in your soil, but soil texture is also important. You used to have to go to the library or your county Extension office and look at soil survey maps in order to find out your soil type.
But recently, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service uploaded all of their soil mapping data to their website. So now, you can go to the site and get an entire soil survey, built just for the area that you define. Although the website is a bit cumbersome if you’re not a systems analyst geek, it is very powerful. And very useful, especially if you’re looking to purchase a piece of land and start a vineyard, or an orchard, or some other business venture. If you can’t remember the link, just Google “web soil survey” and the NRCS site will come up.