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Local business providing testing kits to analyze soil after big freeze

The test analyzes whether the soil is fit to plant
Gill's Gardening Center Plus Landscaping
Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 19:46:33-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After the big freeze, many people are left having to grow new plants.

Places like Gill’s Landscape Nursery give soil sample bags, which are tests that analyze soil nutrients. Gil’s Landscape Nursery said once customers bring back their soil, it’s then taken by the Agricultural Extension Service and mailed off to Texas A&M in College Station where they process it and analyze it. The customer then gets back their results in the mail.

Gill’s Nursery Landscaping said the city of Corpus Christi is paying for the free testing kits for the first 200 people. The soil is analyzed for certain nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen and whether there’s too much nutrients, which Gill’s said can be toxic. However, the test does not analyze which type of soil is best for different plants like a cactus versus a rose.

“The soil test doesn’t tell you anything about the preference of the various plants. That part you’re going to have to figure out yourself. But it tells you what your starting point is and gives you a good idea about what you might need to add,” James Gill, the owner of the nursery said.

Regular customers like Joanne Salge said her plants were also affected by the big freeze. She uses the test to analyze the soil’s pH level so she can know what materials to use.

“In addition to putting in fertilizers and other nutritions….it’s usually a good idea to amend the soil as well by adding organic matters,” Salge said.

Gil’s recommends organic fertilizer because it not only feeds plants, but other beneficial organisms as well. Organisms like earthworms, which customers like Estela Boyes use especially after she was traveling during the big freeze and came home to a dead garden.

“I’m tilling up my soil…I’m preparing some earthworm tea…earthworm casings tea…to spread on there and get it hydrated and start to get some nutrients in there…” Boyes said.

Gill made videos to help people understand how to prune plants and learn which plants to leave alone after the big freeze, which customers said has helped them.