Contaminated land can be a serious issue on vacant property. Before performing your own soil test, check with the Facilities or Grounds Department to see if a soil test for the space has already been conducted. If one has not been done recently, inexpensive soil tests can be conducted via mail at several labs across the country. Your state’s Cooperative Extension office may offer free testing or have additional resources. If soil contamination is an issue on your campus, consider raised beds lined with landscaping cloth, hydroponic systems, or container gardening.
For new growers without much technical background, amending soil with nutrients can be a helpful but intimidating task. From lime to fish emulsion and bone meal, there are many options to choose from and gardeners each have their own preferences. The good news is that most nutrient deficiencies can be fixed with the addition of healthy compost. Check out the resources below for some how-to guides for amending your own soil.
The Rodale Book of Composting by Grace Gershuny and Deborah L. Martin