MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — As cooler days become the new normal, the amount of time you have to collect soil samples is winding down.

It’s important to collect soil samples, so you can grow the best crops possible.

“Soil sampling is good to know what nutrients you have in your soil. If you’re adding too much fertilizer, it can affect how your plants grow. If you’re not adding enough fertilizer, it can do the same thing,” said Emily How, the Ward County Extension horticulture agent.

The sample should include soil from different spots in your garden, so you can get an overall look at the soil, rather than just one area.

“You’re gonna get about six inches of soil. You’re gonna want to get two to six spots around your garden area. You’re then gonna put them all into a bucket and mix it all together. You’re gonna pull out any grass or vegetation that you might have in the soil sample. And then you’re gonna take about a pint of it, put it into any sort of bag,” said How.

You can send your samples to your local NDSU extension office, which will then ship them to NDSU.

You will get your results in a few weeks.

She says the sooner you collect your soil samples, the better.

And on Tuesday morning, the soil temperature was 38 degrees Fahrenheit, which means there are only a few weeks left before the soil freezes.

“I wouldn’t say you have too much longer. We’re coming up at the end of the season for any sort of garden prep,” said How.

Cooler weather also means pollinators, like bees, will become dormant.

Here’s how you can help them.

“One of the easiest ways to help pollinators is to not cut down your dead flowers at the end of the season. Bee hotels are a little house-like structure where solitary pollinators can house over the winter,” said How.

And it’s important to help pollinators because we need them in our state.

“Pollinators are important because they help our plants grow, they’re essential to agricultural development, and just growth in general,” said How.

How says if you would like to build your own bee house or “hotel” as many beekeepers call it, reach out to your local extension office to learn how to do it correctly.

In order for your soil samples to be the most accurate, How says you should make sure the soil is dry.

If it is wet, she says you can leave it out to dry on a baking sheet or another flat surface.