If your lawn or garden isn’t developing like you want it to, the problem may be as elemental as the soil itself. A soil test is the answer. Some do-it-yourself tests are available at nurseries and home centers but for a really thorough test you may want to take a sample to your county extension agent.
To collect your sample, dig down about 3 or 4 inches in several different areas of your yard. Take a scoop or two from each location (each with the same consistency) and mix them together in a clean plastic container. This will allow you to get a profile of the whole property.