This how-to manual provides step by step instructions for building a rain garden and includes a list of native plants.
Soil testing is an excellent measure of soil fertility. It is a very inexpensive way of maintaining good plant health and maximum crop productivity. The best time to test your soil is the Spring or the Fall.
The file below is a fact sheet from OSU Extension titled "Soil Testing is an Excellent Investment for Garden, Lawn and Landscape Plants, and Commercial Crops." It includes a list of places to get your soil tested.
Additionally, UMass Amherst has a Soil & Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory.
The Urban Soil Primer is intended to give planning officials and people who live in urban areas an introduction to soils. It provides information important in planning and managing land resources in a manner that helps to prevent or mitigate problems associated with sedimentation, contamination, runoff, and structural failure.