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 will not be staffed during the winter months from Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 to Mar. 1, 2022. CCE staff will be monitoring both the calls and email during this time. Therefore, we ask for your patience in giving us time to respond to your inquiries. Call 518-765-3514 or email

*The Horticulture Lab Drop Box will not be available during the winter months.* Please call or email to schedule a time to drop off samples. Intake forms and instructions will be provided for diagnosis and identification purposes. When dropping off, masks are required. Please sign in with the receptionist and she will assist you further.

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 November 18, 2021