Your Soil pH can have a profound effect on your garden. Those of you who rely on chemical fertilizers will need to pay close attention to your pH as it will affect what nutrients are available to your plants. As you use compost and start to work more closely with the soil microorganisms, those critters will start to work their magic buffering pH levels to suit the plants you are growing.
What is Soil pH?
Soil pH testing is done to see how acidic or alkaline your soil is. pH means potential Hydrogen. It measures the number of H+ ions in the soil water.
It's a logarithmic scale that goes from 0 to 14 with 0 being most acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being most alkaline. Because it's a logarithmic scale each jump is a ten fold increase so a soil with a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than one with a pH of 6 and a 100 times more acidic than one with a pH of 7.
Testing your Soil pH
You can of course send a sample of your soil to a lab for a pH test but then you couldn't
pretend to be a scientist or a CSI.
Here is a quick and simple way to test if your soil is acidic or alkaline.
- Take a small handful of soil and rub your hands with it. This will clean off anything on your hands that might affect the soil.
- Take another clean handful of soil. Wet the soil with vinegar. If it fizzes and bubbles you have alkaline soil.
- Take another clean handful of soil. Add baking powder and then wet the soil baking powder mix with distilled water. If it fizzes your soil is acidic.
Now you have a bit of info and you probably want to know how acidic or alkaline your soil is.
When I first looked at soil pH test options I figured you had to buy a soil pH test kit to test soil. However I have since discovered that a whole range of pH test strips including those for urine and saliva, for aquariums, and for water should be just dandy for testing soil. Here are a couple of examples of test strips and rolls of pH paper that would be suitable.and are available from Amazon.com.