If you want to have a beautiful garden full of plants and flowers that grow healthily and abundantly, one of the aspects that you should consider before planting is the soil pH, with this, it is possible to determine what is the acidity or alkalinity of the soil in your garden. Know the characteristics necessary to carry out good cultivation of each of the plants. Keep reading this article as and discover how to measure soil pH in detail.
How to measure soil pH?
Most plants need a fairly neutral soil so that they can recover all the nutrients they require from it. Some are pickier and may need more acidic or alkaline soil.
By analyzing the soil to know its pH, it can be determined if a place in the garden will be ideal for the growth of a new plant. If the soil must be modified to adjust the pH level.
Many plants thrive in a neutral soil (a pH of approximately 6.5 to 7.5), but there are some that require a more acidic (below 7) or alkaline (above 7) soil. The scale is from 0 (more acidic) to 14 (more alkaline).
Before carrying out the test, for an accurate reading, use the clean tools and remove debris from the garden surface. Then, dig about 10 centimeters to get a sample of the soil. In case you want to know to find the plants, a couple of centimeters below the surface will suffice.
3 ways to analyze the soil
- Using a ground meter, probe or a soil kit. These vary in price and quality but are usually sufficient to meet the needs of the average gardener.
- Through a homemade test. It is not very specific, but it can give you an idea of what type of soil it is and, probably, you already have the materials in the pantry.
- Send samples This can be done free or at low cost using local governments or horticultural facilities (universities, greenhouses, etc.).
Next, we explain these ways to measure the pH levels in the soil.
Soil, probe and meter kits
As for the floor kits, in the market, you can find many types, and they all come with instructions to use each of the products properly. In general, a soil test kit is used by pouring some soil into the supplied tube or container, and then the tablet or powder it brings is added. Cover the bowl with water and stir until the powder or tablet dissolves.
After a few minutes, the test shows a color that you will compare with the color chart of the kit to see the pH of the soil analyzed.
Another option is a soil meter or pH probe that can be inserted directly into the ground or in a mixture of water and soil. These can provide instant readings and display either a color code or a number to indicate the soil content.
This will not give you a specific reading, but it can give you an idea of whether the soil is acidic or alkaline.
The vinegar test: a sample of dry soil (about 1/4 cup) is taken, mixed with distilled water to form a “muddy” liquid, and then you start pouring the vinegar over the top. If the mixture bubbles, the soil is alkaline.
The bicarbonate test: The same procedure as the previous method, but then you must spray the top with bicarbonate. If the mixture bubbles, the soil is acidic.
If none of the homemade pH tests produce a reaction, it means that you have a fairly neutral soil.
If it is essential and you need to know precisely the result of soil analysis, it is best to consult with the corresponding government office or a University, if possible. They will do the soil analysis or advise you where you can do your pH test.
Quick tips to fix soil
For added acidity, try adding sulfur, pine spikes or cottonseed meal. With this, you lower the soil pH. To get a more alkaline soil, try adding lime or wood ash to increase the soil’s pH.