The Great Falls Discovery Center hosts community programs and events, rotating art exhibits in our Great Hall and a Coffee House hosted by the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center.

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September 7 @ 10:30 am - 1:00 pm EDT


As part of our Food, Farms, and Factories project, join DCR staff, the Friends of the Center, and Western MA Master Gardeners to learn about soils, soil testing, and pollinators. The Great Falls Farmers Market is located between 6th and 7th streets along Avenue A at Peskeompskut Park. Includes family-friendly activities – make your own pollinator! Bring your soil to be tested for free by following these directions:

Testing Your Soil’s pH
What is pH?
 pH is a measure of the acidity of the soil.
• The pH scale runs from 1 to 14 where: pH< 7 is acidic, pH = 7 neutral, pH > 7 is basic

Why do I need to test my soil’s pH?
• Nutrients and acidity can change with time and use.
• Acidity controls the availability of nutrients and beneficial organisms.
• Plants have different pH requirements:
Blueberries and rhododendron need acidic soil, pH 4.5 to 5.5.
Vegetables grow best in pH 6.0 to 7.0.
• Lime or sulfur may be needed to correct pH imbalance.

Where can I have my soil tested?
• pH only: Master Gardener table at local farmers markets and fairs ($2.00/ donation).
See website for days and times:
• Full Soil Analysis: UMass Soil Testing Laboratory.
For details go to:

When is the best time to test?
• At least 6-8 weeks after a lime, sulfur, or fertilizer application.
• Best: Fall, Second best: Early Spring.
• Any time when starting new planting area.

What do I need to collect a soil sample?
• Trowel, shovel or sampling tube
• Bucket
• Coarse sieve or screen
• Drying tray or plate
• Zip-lock bag

How do I collect samples?
• Define your sample area. If sampling multiple areas, keep samples separated by area.
• Remove a thin slice or plug of soil from surface to proper depth.
Sample depths: 3”-4” Lawn, 6”-8” flower/vegetable garden, 10”-12” trees/shrubs
• Collect 4 -6 samples for small area, 8-12 for large.
• Mix single area’s samples together in bucket.
• Scoop 1 cup mixed soil and spread on a clean plate/tray to dry.
• Sift to remove debris and place in a labeled zip-lock bag.
• Note approximate size and type of area (vegetable, flower, lawn, shrub) on bag.
• Avoid sampling when very wet.

* Food, Farms, & Factories: In 2024, the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center present programs and exhibits about Food, Farms, and Factories, continuing conversations about rural life in Turners Falls and Franklin County. Supported by the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center, RiverCulture, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Montague Public Libraries. Funded by Mass Humanities through the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit to learn more.


September 7
10:30 am - 1:00 pm EDT
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Great Falls Discovery Center


Peskeompskut Park
Avenue A between 6th and 7th Streets
Turners Falls, 01376
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