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Test Soil pH

Soil for Organic Gardening and Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

Test soil ph for your organic gardening and raised bed vegetable gardening; a soil ph tester is easy to use. Use soil testing kits before you start your fruit and vegetable gardening. Use an organic lawn fertilizer to grow healthy grass that does not contaminate your vegetable garden.

Organic gardening requires you to test soil pH for the level of acidity or alkalinity in the soil. The acidity of soils depend on their composition, and particularly the level of Lime (calcium) within it.

Test Soil pH

It is important to know the pH level of your soil because it tells you which plants will grow in it and which won't. Soil testing can be done by professionals. It can also be carried out by you, using a soil pH tester.

test soil pHIf you test soil pH yourself, it will usually involve adding a drop of solution to your soil sample, waiting a little while for it to settle, and then comparing the resulting colour with a chart.

All the equipment and information you need will come with good quality soil testing kits. You can purchase these soil testing kits at your local garden center or through one of many online gardening equipment retailers.

Soil pH levels are measured on a scale of 1-14. Acidity is at the lower end, alkalinity at the top, with 7 being neutral. Some plants prefer a more acidic soil (less Lime) while others need an alkaline soil.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening - Examples:

  • Potatoes, Broad Beans, Cucumber and Parsnips grow best at a pH level of 5.25 - 6, a more acid than alkaline soil.
  • Add water to the three quarters mark

Use soil testing kits to check the pH levels of your soil before you plant your garden, and during the growing stages. Work with organic fertilizer and compost to adjust pH levels.

Soil ph Tester Results: Changing Your Soil pH Levels

If, after using your soil pH tester, you find you have a soil pH level of 5.5, but have set your heart on growing Cauliflowers, then you need to add lime (organically produced of course!). Doing so will raise the pH level of your soil and make it more amenable to Cauliflower and other vegetables of a similar pH level preference.

Lowering soil pH levels makes the soil more acidic. This can be achieved by adding organic compost or manure to the soil. For an extensive guide to pH Vegetable Plant Preferences check out the Old Farmer's Almanac chart for vegetables, trees, plants and shrubs.

I would just like to add something concerning lime. A lack of it in your soil (a low soil pH level) will prevent optimum growth in many different types of plant. It is generally accepted that a pH level of 6.5 is the preferred level for most plants.

Lime also helps some soil types, especially clay, with water drainage and aeration, and encourages the presence of worms (great boosters of fertility and nutrition) in the soil. It manages these improvements by producing larger particles which create the space mentioned above.

However, not all plants tolerate higher soil pH levels. When planning your organic vegetable garden please take this into account and become acquainted with vegetable pH preferences.

There is a good alternative to changing soil pH levels of existing soil and/or growing only certain vegetables: Raised Bed Organic Gardening. You can change the ph in the soil of a raised bed vegetable garden by introducing compost and, if necessary, organic soil.

Likewise, you can use an organic lawn fertilizer and organic compost to grow your grass organically, and ensure that you don't contaminate your soil with chemicals.

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