close-up photo of soil after tilling

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

Soils & Climate


Soil Basics. This Basic Soil Components page describes the materials that make up all soils. This Soil Biology page from the USDA covers living organisms that are critical to soil health. 

Soil Texture. Agronomy Fact Sheet #29 from Cornell Cooperative Extension 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.  Agronomy Fact Sheet #41  from Cornell Cooperative Extension 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.

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. 

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

Cornell's Garden Based Learning site also offers information on types of soil tests; suggested tests for lawns, vegetable gardens and fruit crops; and testing for contaminants.


Find freeze/frost probability tables for each state from NOAA's National Climactic Data Center.

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.

The Cornell Garden Based Learning website includes a section on Weather & Climate that includes  information on Growing Degree Days, US plant hardiness zones, average frost dates, and microclimates.

Last updated May 2, 2023