Soil pH is one of the important parameters you need to test and monitor if you are to dive in home gardening. pH is a measure of how acid or alkaline a substance is. Soil pH is so important because its value defines how efficiently the plants you grow will absorb vital nutrients from the soil.
If the soil solution is too acidic or alkaline, some nutrients won’t dissolve easily. Most nutrients can dissolve easily at pH ranges from 6.0 to 7.5. However, some nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, become less available below pH 6.0. Iron, manganese, and phosphorus are less available at values above 7.5.
Factors that affect soil pH
- amount of rainfall
- vegetation type
How to test your soil?
You can test your soil in a lab or do a test yourself with a home soil test kit or a portable pH meter.
How to correct your soil pH?
If your soil is too acid.
If your soil is too acid, you must add alkaline material. The process is called liming. Liming materials:
– Ground limestone. There are two types of limestone: calcitic limestone (calcium carbonate) and dolomitic limestone (calcium-magnesium carbonate). Apply the latter only if your soil also has a magnesium deficiency. Apply the ground limestone in the autumn to allow time for it to act on soil pH. The amount of lime you must add depends on your soil type and on its initial pH.
– Wood ashes. It contains up to 70 percent calcium carbonate, as well as potassium, phosphorus, and many trace minerals. Use it with caution because it is a fast-acting liming material. Limit applications to 25 pounds per 1,000 square feet, and apply ashes only once every 2 to 3 years.
- If your soil is too alkaline
The most common material used as a source of acidity is powdered elemental sulfur. The amount you need to apply will depend on your soil type and its initial pH.
Testing your soil and following lab recommendations is the safest approach if you need to correct your soil pH.
Read more at:
If you’re getting serious about gardening, you’ll probably get a recommendation to check your soil pH-but what does that really mean? pH is simply a measure of how acid or alkaline a substance is, and soil acidity or alkalinity is important because it influences how easily plants can take up nutrients from the soil.