Are you going to test the pH of the soil and search for a reliable method then you are at the correct page. Soil pH determines the acidity level of the soil sample. It’s a valuable way to determine whether either your soil is ideal or not for plants. Let’s continue the reading to learn the soil pH testing method.
It is necessary to know the pH level of soil, so you will know how your plants will grow in this garden soil pH is known as the latch on your garden’s gate. You can’t look at your plants with a smiling face if their soil pH is not ideal because they can never bloom with a lush face. pH also determines the nutrient uptake ability of plants. You can understand it by the application of nitrogen because plants are not able to uptake and utilize nitrogen in faulty pH levels. Let your plant bloom with lush greenery by getting good pH. A Best soil condition also prevent the plants from different disease and bugs but selection of best soil is necessary.
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What Is Soil Ph? And It Is Necessary To Test?
In terms of soil Science, pH is the measure of the level of acidity and alkalinity of your soil. It ranges from 0 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly basic). Most of the soil is found in the 5 to 9 range of pH. The mid-point of the pH range is neutral which is 7. If we talk about vegetables and fruits, they like a slightly acidic pH range.
We are here to guide you and consider your Soil pH as the most important factor of your soil health. How does soil pH affect your plants? Soil pH can affect the greenery of your plant, your garden’s total yield; making them more susceptible to pests and diseases the nutrient availability of the soil. While some other plants like the peak levels of pH just like blueberries which like more acidic and asparagus which likes highly alkaline pH for full growth. If can feel your plants full happy with lush growth by maintaining the pH around 6.5 level.
Factors Which Affect Soil pH
Many factors can affect the pH level of your soil and here are some. The most important one is the parent material and sedimentary particles which are involved in soil formation. Some other factors are soil type, fertilizers or amendments you add to the soil, and the kind of rain which falls in your region.
How You Can Test Soil pH At Home?
The soil test kit is important for garden amendment calculation. But it is seen that it gives an inaccurate value of soil nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium contents. Other the other hand we can get preciously accurate values of soil pH by using the soil test kit. I don’t think any meter can get an accurate reading of soil pH but a good pH reader can give you accurate readings. So there is no need to send the sample out for pH testing.
Best Time And Conditions For Soil pH Testing?
We recommend you test soil pH by using a home meter or laboratory test every time you grow a new crop. It’s our precious advice for you that must test your soil sample pH through a lab test after 2-3 years. It is recommended to test soil pH when you observe bad plant health or have issues with crop yield and most importantly when you are going to prepare a new bed. It will help you to improve your soil health. Lab tests not only give precise results but they recommend some special management practices for the amendment of your soil.
Which One Is The Best Soil pH Tester As Growncares?
In terms of my honest observation, most of the pH meters give the same results with the uniform working. The test probe is a good soil pH meter because it is easy to read and it will do the trick by providing accurate results. It is also better to use soil pH strips to test the soil pH.
What’s The Accuracy Of A Home Test Kit?
In terms of nutrient analysis like nitrogen, home kits are not too accurate. But it’s better to utilize them for soil pH tests because they give accurate results of pH value.
Can I use the Water pH tester in soil analysis?
Some gardeners use such pH meters to test their soil pH by making slurry (combining a mixture of soil with water). You must have accurate instructions about the correct preparation of slurry soil samples. If you know all about it then go for it, it will give good results.
How To Test Soil pH Without Any Tool Like Tester Or Kit?
You can’t get accurate results or numbers but you can measure that your soil is acidic or basic by a fun experiment of science at home. You should have the following materials:
Kitchen pantry staples (Two)
Baking soda Vinegar
Follow Next Process:
Grab a cup of soil from your garden. If garden is separated into growing bed then it’s better to test the each bed separately. If garden has surface or row cultivation then take sample from different points, and mix them well to get uniform results. Must take the sample throughout your garden.
Now take two bowls (glass or plastic) with non-reactive material divide the soil in two splits.
Now add half cup of distilled water in each bowl. Stir it well to make a slurry mud.
Add ½ cup of vinegar in the first bowl and observe the changes. If your soil mixture shows bubbling or fizzing, then it has confirmed that soil has alkaline pH over 7.0. Do you know what the reason behind bubbling was? It was just like the volcano experiment of science in your school. Basically, a chemical reaction happens when an acid (vinegar) reacts with a basic soil sample. Higher the bubbling more will be the alkalinity of your soil. Most of our garden plants and crops like slightly acidic pH, it means that if you observe bubbling or fizzing after adding vinegar, you should test your soil professionally. After that, go for the amendments which are recommended to improve soil pH.
Now observe the second situation, if the first bowl doesn’t produce any bubbling then move towards the second bowl to test acidity of sample. Add ½ cup of baking soda in the second bowl. Now observe the mixture again for bubbling or fizzing. If it produces, it means reaction has happened and your soil has acidic pH below 7.0. Less the bubbles, less the soil acidity which means you have a slightly acidic soil which is perfect for plant growth.
On the other side if you observe no reaction in both the bowls, it means your soil is neutral(7) in pH value.
Do you know what red cabbage is? Let’s do another fun and calculate your soil pH by the use of red cabbage. Just cut 4-5 leaves of red cabbage and dip them in 2-3 cups of distilled water. Now take a boiler and just simmer (up to bubbles not boiling) the water for 10 minutes. Pull off the boiler from heat allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Now remove the cabbage leaves from the boiler and reserve the remaining liquid. Take a jar and add two teaspoons of soil in it, then add the cabbage water with two inches of height. Now stir the jar mixture and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Now observe the mixture, there could be three conditions which are given below:
If the mixture turns pink/reddish, the soil is acidic.
If the mixture gives a blue or purple shade (similar to original cabbage water), the soil is neutral in nature.
If the mixture is teal green or yellow-green, your soil has alkaline nature.
How Can We Adjust Soil pH?
Now finally you know what the pH range of your soil is? It’s good if it is neutral, around 6.5 because it is perfect for your plant’s growth. On the other hand, if it is acidic or alkaline, there is a need to adjust it. Let’s continue the reading to learn it.
How to raise the soil pH? (Alkaline or sweeten).
Most of the soils are acidic, so the majority of the people need to raise their soil pH by proper management and adjustments. It is also called the sweetening of the soil. We can do this by adding lime to the soil. It can be added in different ways, we will discuss some important ones.
Garden lime (Calcium Carbonate) is a standard type of amendment to make the soil alkaline. It is known as natural limestone which is available in fine powder form.
Dolomite lime (Calcium Magnesium Carbonate) is also a natural limestone and is present in powder form. It has an addition of magnesium, an important micronutrient for garden plants.
Crab meal is also a good amendment, it has a double benefit, it not only adds nitrogen but also contains 25% of lime to make the soil alkaline. But it is not recommended in the area where you are already growing nitrogen-fixing plants like legumes or peas.
Wood Ash (the stuff of fireplace produce through the burning of dry wood) is also a good source of lime, it is a rapidly releasing potassium amendment.
How To Take Soil pH Level Down?
It is very important to make the soil acidic for special plants like blueberries, which love to grow in acidic soils. Many areas of the world have large deposition of limestone with an alkaline pH of 8-8.5, so it’s necessary to make them acidic for acidic loving plants through proper amendment. It is an unfortunate thing that the correction of alkaline soil lasts in a single growing season, so there is a need to treat them regularly at different seasons. Here are some recommendations:
We add soil acidifiers in the form of garden sulfur at each growing season. We also recommend using sulfur-based fertilizers in the garden soil for long time treatment.
It is one of the best ways of acid addition to improve the soil conditions of your garden.
But unfortunately, it is not a suitable choice because its harvesting gives serious damage to already established plants. Different plants as if your pothos leaves are turning yellow a bad soil can be a reason behind that, Coco coir can be used as an alternative to peat moss. It uses a different soil amendment method as compared to peat moss and improves the soil conditions by lowering the soil pH. Peat moss can only be used if you have a proper harvesting company.
Organic matter from evergreen trees
Do you know that? It is an old garden myth that the addition of organic matter from evergreen trees (pine shavings, cedarwood chips, etc.) instantly increases the acidic nature of your soil. But it is not true because pH change is slow and minimal and it became difficult to notice the pH difference. But if you are struggling with the alkaline nature of your soil, continuous use of organic matter from evergreen plants can create a good impact over time.
If you are looking to make a hurried change from alkaline soil too acidic then dilutes distilled vinegar will be the best solution. We are practicing vinegar spray in our garden with a rate of two tablespoons in a gallon of water. The vinegar effect lasts quickly but it gives a quick boost to your acid loving plants. We mostly apply the vinegar in our berry patch of garden to get some great results.