Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is pH?

The East Slender Pathway Next to the trash cans - - I want them to be ACIDIC!!! Just For My Lamium! I'll have to check on the others... if I planted like items together! :)

pH is a measure of the acidity ("sourness") or alkalinity ("sweetness") of soil. The scale ranges from 1 to 14, but few soils are more acidic that 5 or more alkaline than 9. A pH of 7 is perfectly neutral, but most plants grow best when the pH is a slightly acidic between 6.5. Soils in areas with low rainfall tend to be alkaline.

Where rainfall is high, soils are more often acidic. This happens because rainfall gradually washes calcium from soil.

Soil testing is the best way to learn about my soil, including the pH. Some experienced farmers claim to taste the sweetness or sourness of soil by touching samples with their tongues. Two simple tests that will indicate if my soil is too acidic or alkaline:

Add a few drops of vinegar to a tablespoon of dry garden soil. If it fizzes, my soil's pH is greater than 7.5.
Add a pinch of baking soda to a tablespoon of moist soil. If it fizzes, my soil's pH is less than 5.0.

HERE'S WHAT I DID ... to front flower bed about two years ago.... I added limestone. In essence, I now know that I made THAT soil less acidic.. as in more neutral! There are 2 types of ground limestone, calcitic and dolomitic, either type will work to neutralize the garden soil, but dolomitic contains magnesium which will fertilizes my garden soil as will neutralize the acid.

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