Gardening With Larry logo

All About Soil pH in Your Garden

pH, which stands for potential for hydrogen ion concentration, is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, any number under 7 is acidic, and any number over 7 is alkaline. The pH of your soil is important to the health of your plants. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline for your plants they will have difficulty getting nutrients from the soil, even if the nutrients are plentiful in the soil.

There are wide array of soil testers on the market. Some have metal probes that you poke into your soil, with a meter for you to read at the top of the probe. Other testers are kits with different pH sensitive testing liquids or papers, which will change color for you to compare to a chart. Finally, if your state's agriculture extension office offers a soil testing service, you can send them some soil samples from your garden for thorough test results. Many of these soil tests will give you information beyond pH, such as the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil.

If you have acidic or alkaline soil there are remedies. Typically, gardeners will add lime to make soil less acidic. I like to use the pelletized form, which is diffused much more slowly into the soil than the powdered form. Soil can be made less alkaline by adding decayed plant matter, compost, or manure. Apparently, the common myth that gypsum (Calcium sulfate) will acidify soil is not correct. However, gypsum may help break up hard soils.

Pelletized Gypsum

ABOVE: Pelletized Gypsum

Besides adjusting your soil pH, you can select plants that do well with the soil you have. Many plants do prefer soil which is either more acidic or more alkaline. A few plants that prefer acidic soils are azaleas, orchids, blueberries, tomatoes, conifers, and ferns. A few plants that prefer alkaline soils are aloe, ficus, sempervivum, chrysanthemum, and clematis.

More about: Tools

More Articles

6 Ways to Spot a Succulent
All About Cutting PVC Pipe
All About Garden Hand Pruners
All About Mulch for your Garden
All About Plant Food or Plant Fertilizer for Your Garden
All About Pruning Saws
All About PVC Pipe Connectors
All About Shovels for your Garden!
All About Sphagnum Peat Moss for your Garden
All About Using Soil Moist Granules
An Illustrated Guide to New England Wildflowers
An Illustrated Guide to Some Great Herbs
Close Up Photos of Vegetable Seeds
Fantastic Asiatic Lily Planting How To Videos
Fantastic Bonsai Gardening Videos
Fantastic Container Tomato Gardening How To Videos
Fantastic Daylily Care How To Videos
Fantastic Herb Gardening How To Videos
Fantastic Hosta Care How To Videos
Fantastic Orchid Care Basics How To Videos
Fantastic Organic Vegetable Gardening How To Videos
Fantastic Paper Seed Starting Pots How To Videos
Fantastic Phalenopsis Orchid Care How To Videos
Fantastic Rose Care How To Videos
Fantastic Rose Pruning How To Videos
Fantastic Time Lapse Videos of Roses
Fantastic Tomato Gardening How To Videos
Fantastic Tree Planting How To Videos
Fantastic Tulip Festival Videos
Fantastic Videos from RHS Wisley Garden in England
Fantastic Videos from The RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Fantastic Videos of Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Fantastic Videos of Cactus Flowers
Fantastic Videos of The Flower Fields in Carlsbad California
Fantastic Videos of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Fantastic Videos of the NEWFS Garden in the Woods
Fantastic Water Gardening How To Videos
Gardening Basics
Growing Aeonium
Growing Aloe
Growing Limonium
Growing Pleiospilos
Growing Purple Coneflower
Growing Sansevieria
I Love Gardening
Kiss the Gardener
Planting Perennials - The Hole How To
Rose Lover
Tips for Propagating Sedum
Tips for Using Roundup ® in Your Garden
Tulip Lover

Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Contact |Add a Listing |Correct a Listing |rss logo

Copyright 2008 - 2011 by