Soil Test for your Garden
Soil pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity in soils. pH levels range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, below 7 the soil is acidic and above 7 the soil is alkaline. The optimal pH range for most plants is between 5.5 and 7.0; however, many plants have adapted to thrive at pH values outside this range.
some plants that grow in the normal range of between 5.5 and 7.0 Barly, corn, cotton, bluegrass, peanuts, rice, soybean, watermelon and wheat
Some plants that grow in the range of between 5 and 5.5 are Blueberries, Irish Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes.
Some plants that grow in the range of between 6.5 – 7.0 are Alfalfa, Some Clovers, Sugar Beets
Some plants like acidic soil while others don’t, so it is important to do a soil test to see if your soil is OK for the plants you want to grow, this easy, free or cheap soil test will help you if your soil has a high ph
This Easy, Free or cheap Soil Test will help you determine if your garden soil has a high ph or not, I saw this article at greensax that explains it.
Here is a quick test
Take 2 pint glass mason jars and fill each jar halfway with soil.
In the 1st jar :add 1/4 cup vinegar – is there a reaction ? Your soil is extremely alkaline.
In the 2nd jar: add 1/4 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda – is there a reaction ? Your soil is extremely acidic.
Most soil is more neutrally balanced – a few points either way so you may not see anything.
How to fix it
* The best way to improve all types of soil is to add Organic Matter…compost, rotted aged manure and such. Dig deeply and turn the soil to add oxygen. An other way to improve it is to add lime to the soil.
Liming Soil Pays
Correcting soil acidity by the use of lime is the foundation of a good soil fertility program. Lime does more than just correct soil acidity. It also:
- Supplies essential plant nutrients, Ca and Mg,
- Makes other essential nutrients more available
- Prevents elements such as Mn and Al from being toxic to plant growth.
SOIL PH LEVELS FOR PLANTS
|Common Name||Optimum pH Range|
|Trees and Shrubs|
|Aster, New England||6.0-8.0|
|Iris, blue flag||5.0-7.5|
|Rose, hybrid tea||5.5-7.0|
Make your own fertilizer
Make your plants grow big and nutritious without spending a lot of money. These are great home made fertilizer recipes:
Epsom salt is a good fertilizer because it is made up of magnesium and sulfate which are both vital plant nutrients. Epsom salt is good for Houseplant food, Vegetable (peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.) and Rose plants. You need: 1 Tablespoon Epsom Salt 1 gallon water A watering can Direction 1. Combine the Epsom salt and water. 2. Use the solution to water your plants. 3. Repeat once a month.
Coffee Ground Fertilizer
Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium – all important plant nutrients. They are also acidic, and help to maintain the acidity of the soil. Good for Rose plant food You Need: Used coffee grounds A cookie Sheet Newspaper Direction 1. Line a cookie sheet with newspaper. 2. Then, spread your used coffee grounds out on the sheet, and allow them to dry completely. 3. Sprinkle the grounds around the base of your acid-loving plants. Azaleas, roses, rhododendrons and blueberries are just some of the plants that will benefit from this treatment. Note: Be careful not to over do it with the grounds. Even acid-loving plants can get too much acid.
Egg Shell Fertilizer
Eggs shells are made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate – the main ingredient in agricultural lime.
You Need: Egg Shells A blender Direction 1. Save your eggs shells, and allow them to air dry. 2. Then, place the dried shells in the blender, and pulse until they are powdery-fine. 3. Sprinkle in your garden.
The acetic acid in vinegar works to increase the acidity of the soil – just the thing for acid-loving plants. Use in Place of: Houseplant fertilizer Rose plant food You Need: 1 Tablespoon white vinegar 1 gallon water A watering can What You Do: Direction 1. Combine the white vinegar and water. 2. Use the solution to water your plants. 3. Repeat every three months.
Fish Tank Water Fertilizer
Fish tank water is full of nitrogen and other nutrients that plants need to thrive. Use in Place of: Any fertilizer You Need: Used fish tank water
Direction 1. Save the dirty water from your fish tank. 2. Then, use it to water your plants. Fireplace Ash Fertilizer fireplace ash fertilizer can be used in place of lime You Need: Fireplace ash Direction 1. Sprinkle your fireplace ash over your garden beds, and work into the soil. Note: Fireplace ash should not be used if your soil is alkaline, or be used around acid-loving plants.
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