I read in a book once that your pH level doesn’t matter if you grow vegetables and that you should really ignore it. The issue is if you have soil that is too alkaline and attempt to plant tomatoes, they’ll taste terrible or worse not grow whatsoever. That’s because tomatoes love your dirt to be on the acidic side of the pH scale.
If you do not remember from high school chemistry course, the pH scale is a range that lets you know how acidic or alkaline something is. The scale goes from zero that is the most acidic, to two, that’s the most alkaline. Seven is deemed neutral.
Now that you know what the pH scale is your next thing to do is to learn what the pH level of your soil is. There are an assortment of tools you can use for example having your regional co-op do the reading for you. Each varies in price and usually the greater the price for which one you decide on the more detail you’ll get about your soil. You can make a stop at your local home or garden center and get a pH soil tester for as few as four dollars.
Use the information
Once you’ve your tester and have followed the tester’s instructions to receive your pH level reading you’re ready, if needed, to correct your soil to receive it at the amount for the fruits and veggies that you need to grow. If you grow a huge variety of fruits and veggies then you may wish to maintain your soil’s range in the 6.0 to 7.5 range. Most fruit and vegetables do very well here.
Regardless of where your soil ends up on the pH scale, in case you need to make alterations to it with the suggestions below, it’s ideal to do this in the autumn months. This will allow for sufficient time for good breakdown of the items listed below.
If your soil is too acidic, meaning it drops below the optimal level of 6.0 (although some veggies grow well at 5.5), here’s what you can do to increase that level.
There are two varieties of lime you can add to your soil. Which one you will need is based on the results of your pH soil test. Both forms are calcitic and dolomitic.
Calcitic lime contains only calcium where as dolomitic contains both calcium and magnesium. Your soil tester will essentially let you know what your soil has and which one you require. For instance if you will need to increase your soil’s pH and have ample quantities of magnesium then you just have to use the calcitic lime, otherwise use dolomitic.
Combine your application of the lime you select with hefty amounts of compost from your mulch pile that I understand you’re keep around perfect? Otherwise, you should start one immediately.
If your soil is too alkaline and is over 8.0 on the pH scale, then here’s what you can do to lower it to place your soil in that best variety.
To lower your soil’s pH level there are quite a few things you can do, all of which are organic and safe to your home vegetable garden. As before, adding good quality compost to your soil helps tremendously, but the autumn you should operate in some wood shavings, pine needles, peat moss if available in your area and plenty of leaf mold. An equal blend of all of these can help.
Le mot de la fin
Maybe you’ll get lucky and your soil is ideal so you won’t ever need to generate any adjustments. But why take that opportunity. Spend the four bucks, get your soil’s pH level simply to make sure. Give your house vegetable garden every advantage it can have your fruits and vegetables will thrive.