Soil probes will help you to check the moisture level of your soil when irrigating plants. Not only will these devices keep you from overwatering or drying out your plants, but homemade probes also allow you to collect a soil sample you can take to your local county extension office for testing. This is valuable for finding out your soil pH, or level of acidity and basicity, which affects how your plants grow, according to the University of Missouri.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tube cutter
- Grinding wheel
- Round metal file
- Steel pipe/bar
Find a hollow steel golf club shaft to use as your soil probe. Make sure the shaft is a little more than 3/8 inch in diameter and about 4 feet long. A long rod will make the probe easier to use. Cut the head of the golf club off using a tube cutter and throw it away. Make the cut 3 inches to 6 inches from the club's head.
Make a notch in the end of the steel bar, where the golf club head used to be, using a grinding wheel. Start grinding between 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch from the end of the rod, making sure this initial cut is parallel with the rod's end cut.
Grind so that the cut goes down to half the diameter of the rod, and continue grinding toward the golf club's grip area so that you have created a 3-inch slot. Taper back the end of the 3-inch slot that is closest to the grip area so it takes up the full rod diameter.
Clean out the 3-inch slot and the rod's end cut using a round metal file. Brush off any metal shavings.
Test your homemade soil probe. Push the rod's end cut down into the ground so it penetrates the soil. When you pull the probe out of the ground, you will have a soil plug -- or sample of soil -- in the 3-inch slot. Tap the soil probe and release the soil sample from the notch to use for moisture and pH testing.
Tips and warnings
- You also can use a steel pipe or a steel bar to make your homemade soil probe. In this case, you should take the steel rod to a welder so she can create a heavy-duty T-shaped metal handle to go atop your bar, which will make using the probe more comfortable.
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