Increase or Decrease Your Soil pH
pH represents how acidic or alkaline it is. Soil pH is determined on a scale from zero to 14, with seven being a neutral pH that is neither acidic nor alkaline. If your soil pH is outside the range of 6.0 to 7.0 you may need to increase or decrease your soil pH.
Why Do You Need To Check & Change Soil pH?
Soil changes over time. According to what you plant in it. In plain English, a high or low pH can cause the plant to not grow properly and it can fail to flower and/or produce. The reason we garden lies in the end result, the product at the end.
How Do You Test Your Soil pH?
A good soil test, is available through your county extension service office or a local nursery. If you want to test your own ( I do suggest it for the price) purchase a Luster Leaf 1612 Rapitest pH Soil Tester it is very affordable, 10 tests for under $10.00.
I have NOT had any reliable outcome for any company that sells the kind you stick in the ground and the pH number reads on a screen. They seem to be all over the place.
If You Need to Increase pH of Soil
Easiest and safest way is by adding powdered limestone, or aka calcium carbonade to your soil in fall. Right after your crops have finished for the year. You can find powdered lime at most garden or home improvement store.
1.) It is best to till powder lime into the soil at the root base and the end of your growing season. For small gardens you could use a spreader and then hand turn it into the soil
2.) Water your soil regularly after mixing the lime into your soil. Dry lime does nothing to increase your soil’s pH if it isn’t watered.
Decrease pH of Soil
1.) Organic Materials – Add organic matter, like composted manure, pine needles and matter from your compost pile. Matter breaks down naturally. This method is excellent for long term gardening. It takes years to change the structure of your soil. A work in progress, if you will.
2.) Aluminum Sulfate – Immediately decrease the pH of your soil. Aluminum Sulfate causes a chemical reaction. Decreasing the soil’s pH instantly. Start with a small amount.
Oh and Something Fun To Know
Changing the pH of hydrangeas, changes the flowers colors. All except for white ones. They stay white. Acidic soil (lower pH) will yield blue flowers and alkaline (higher pH) will produce pink flowers. Read more about changes the color of hydrangeas here.
It is rather simple to increase or decrease your soil pH!
Purchase a soil tester and test yearly. Then use the suggested items to get your soil into the healthiest shape you can. This will help you produce the best plants that you can.