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

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

Soils & Climate


Soil Basics. This soil basics page on Cornell's Garden Based Learning website explains the components that make up your soil, and includes a video and downloadable handouts on the topic. See also their pages on Soil Biology (microbes) and Soil Management Strategies for Home Gardeners (mulching, reduced tillage, composting, etc.) on Cornell's Garden Based Learning website covers

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. Cornell's Garden Based Learning site also offers information on types of soil tests; suggested tests for lawns, vegetable gardens and fruit crops; testing for contaminants; and healthy soil fact sheets from the Cornell Waste Management Institute.


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.


Jolene Wallace
Horticulture Program Educator
(518) 561-7450

Last updated August 3, 2016