plants sprouting in dark soil
Image by Alex Sartori

Knowing the pH and nutrient content of your soil is important to successful growing.

Soils & Climate

Our Albany County Master Gardener Hotline is operating daily, Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm with minimal staffing. Therefore, we ask for your patience in giving us time to respond to your calls and emails. Call 518-765-3514 or email

Our offices and Horticultural Lab are now open to the public when Master Gardener Volunteers are present to help. You will be required to sign in with the receptionist and wear a mask within the building. The receptionist will call the Master Gardener or a CCE staff person to assist you. We suggest that you call the Hotline prior to arrival so we can supply you with the intake forms and instructions as to what we need for a sample to be able to give you a diagnosis or for identification in case a Master Gardener is unavailable to help when you arrive.

*The Horticulture Lab Drop Box is available outside our front door to leave samples after hours.*

Soil Texture. This factsheet discusses the four soil texture classifications of sands, silts, loams and clays; how they combine to make textural classifications; how soil texture is determined; and the 5 soil management groups in New York State.

Soil Organic Matter. This factsheet describes types of organic matter in soil; their physical, chemical & biological benefits; farm practices that help maintain or increase soil organic matter levels; and the importance of continued monitoring of soil organic matter content.

The Cornell Soil Health website offers a variety of resources on soil testing and improvement.

Soil Testing. Visit our page on "How to take a soil sample" for testing and see what Soil Testing Services are offered by or through Cooperative Extension.


Growing Degree Days (GDD) are a measure of heat accumulation used by horticulturalists to predict the date that a flower will bloom or a crop reach maturity. Statistics for the Northeast are provided on this Cornell Atmospheric Sciences & Turf Team website.

Cornell Gardening page with information on average dates for last spring frost and first fall frost, US hardiness zone map, and microclimates.

Last updated June 17, 2021