This is an excellent question that someone called me with this morning:
I live in New York City and I want to have my soil tested. Can you tell me where I have to go or what I have to do?
Soil tests are a wonderful thing. Whether a new piece of property or one you have been gardening in for years, soil tests are a relatively quick and easy way to make sure that your soil has the correct pH and nutrients available for the kinds of plant material you are trying to grow.
To get your soil tested, contact the Cornell University science extension in Ithica, NY. Their phone number is (607) 255-4540. A standard soil test usually starts around $15 plus shipping. Over the phone they can tell you how to collect and send a sample in for analysis, and where to send it to. Another option, an one I have chosen a number of times, is to give them your credit card information and have them send you a complete kit that guides you through the soil sample process. They send you all the supplies you need, in a week or less, and all you have to do is send back the kit for their analysis. I have found over years of dealing with various Cornell University offices and extensions that they are an extremely nice and helpful group of people. In fact, everyone should know how easy and helpful it is to have your soil tested.
Now is the perfect time - consider it.