What Is pH?
Why Do pH Test?

It is important for gardeners to know if their soil  is alkaline or acid because soil
acidity or alkalinity directly affects plant growth.  Furthermore  plants can only
access  certain nutrients  when the soil pH falls into an acceptable range.




If the pH isn’t close to what these plants require, some nutrients, such as
phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, can’t be dissolved in water. We must
remember that plants drink their food instead of eating it. Therefore  if the
nutrients aren’t dissolved first, the plant can’t absorb them. Thus, your
Asparagus, corn, lettuce, roses and geraniums won't grow or produce to their
full potential.

Other Good Reasons to Test Your Soil . . .

• Most soils are deficient in one or more nutrients. Testing    
that soil is going to let you know something is wrong.

• Poorly prepared soil leads to poor growth & plant stress

• Results provide vital information for diagnosing problems
.
Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil. pH is measured on a
scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark, anything below 7 considered acidic soil and
anything above 7 considered alkaline soil.

What's really being measured when taking the pH of the soil is the concentration of
hydrogen (H) ions -- the more hydrogen ions there are, the more acid the soil being
measured is.

Sweet or Sour:
Acid soils are often referred to as sour and alkaline soils sweet.

Most nutrients that plants need are readily available when the
pH of the soil solution ranges from 6.0 to 7.5.
Below a pH of 6.0 (acid): Some nutrients such as nitrogen,
phosphorus and potassium are less available.

Above a pH of 7.5 (very alkaline): Iron, manganese, and
phosphorus are less available.

pH can vary from one side of  your gardening area to the other.
Furthermore different plants require different pH levels so it is
important to know the pH requiresments of the plants and
grow simular plants together.

Areas of Different pH
Many environmental factors, including amount of rainfall,
vegetation type and temperature can affect soil pH. Here are
some
general guidelines:

•Areas with heavy rainfall and forest cover have moderately
acid soils.
•Soil in regions with light rainfall and prairie cover tend to be
near neutral.
•Areas of drought and desert conditions tend to have alkaline
soils.
•The pH of cultivated and developed soils often differ from that
of native soil. During construction, for example, the topsoil
may be removed and replaced by a different type. Hence, your
garden soil pH could be very different from your neighbor's.
"We Don't Eat"
Don't just throw lime on your lawn every year out of habit. Test your
soil's pH to see if is it acidic and if lime is even needed.

There's an old saying . . . before we can fix it we need to know what is
wrong.
The first thing you need to do is test your soil. There are many soil
test kits with a aray of price ranges.  Or send a  soil sample to a lab
for a more in-depth analysis. Sending your sample away to a private
lab will give you the most
complete analysis, although it's more expensive than sending it to
your local extension service.

To RAISE the soil pH

If your soil is too acid, you need to add alkaline material. The most
common "liming" material is ground limestone. Ground limestone
breaks down slowly, but it does not burn plants like
"quick lime"
does. Apply it to the garden and lawn in the fall to allow time for it to
act on soil pH before the
next growing season. A rule of thumb for slightly acid soils: apply 5
pounds of lime per 100 square feet (say a 5 x 20-foot raised bed)
to raise the pH by one point.

Applying wood ashes also will raise soil pH. Wood ashes contain up
to 70 percent calcium carbonate, as well as potassium
, phosphorus, and many trace elements. Because it is powdery,
wood ash is a fast-acting liming material. Be careful, a little
goes a long way. Limit your application to 2 pounds per 100 square
feet and only apply it every other year in a particular area.

Ferilizers containing sulfur / ammonium-N. Ammonium sulfate is
such a fertilizer. If soil pH needs to be
raised (i.e., the earth isn't alkaline enough), apply lime.

To LOWER the soil pH
(Translation: If your soil is too alkaline)
In this case, you need to add a source of acid. Options include pine
needles, shredded leaves, sulfur, sawdust and peat moss.
Pine needles are a good source of acid and mulch. Peat moss with a
pH of 3.0 is often recommended as a soil additive.

Ferilizers containing sulfur / ammonium-N. Ammonium sulfate is
such a fertilizer. If soil pH needs to be
raised (i.e., the earth isn't alkaline enough), apply lime.
Changing Soil pH
Did you know?
Farmers and gardeners used to taste their soil to determine its
pH. If it had a sweet taste or smell, it was alkaline. A sour taste
meant
it was acid.  
soil ph, what is soil ph, how to prepare your garden, acid soil, alkaline soil, neutral soil, sweet soil, sour
soil, why do a ph test, changing the soil ph, how to raise the soil ph, how to lower soil ph
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__________________________________________
J1
"My soil is great. The left side of my
garden is sweet. And the right side is
sour. The center taste like pizza .
The right pH yields great harvests.
Check the pH of your soil . Fast  and
easy to do.
Once the pH is ready now it time
  to plant.
Adjjusting the pH is fast and easy.
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Soil pH
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