Soil is the most crucial part of gardening. So providing perfect growing conditions will help the plant to rapid growth. Soil pH level is one of the most critical things in gardening. In this test, it checks soil is acidity or alkalinity. Before planting new baby trees, performing this test is good practice. No need to perform it every time. Different plants require different soil ph levels. If it has a higher ph level, plants can’t absorb nutrients from their roots.
The soils have pH values between 3.5 to 10 levels and the ph scale runs from 0 to 14. The value between zero to 7 is acidic and 7 is neutral and greater than 7 is alkaline. The perfect level for most of the home garden plants is between the 6 to 7.5 range. Because in that range most of the nutrients available in the soil. This level change according to climate influences.
In wet areas, its value between 5 to 7, while in drier areas the range is 6.5 to 9. Some of the plants prefer more acidic soil (below 7), while others prefer slightly alkaline (over 7) or neutral (which is level 7). Understanding Soil pH is critical because we can easily identify the availability of nutrients to plants.
We can easily test soil pH levels using several DIY methods. If you need to get the exact level, you can use a test kit. In this post, I’m going to show how to test soil alkalinity/acidity levels without a test kit. In this method, we can only get soil that is acidic or alkaline. This test can not get the exact level.
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Test Soil pH level At Home Without Test Kit.
This test is done using homemade equipment. You have to collect the following materials. This test can perform easily collectible kitchen equipment. So basically it is a free test.
- Two cups of soil.
- Distilled Water.
- White vinegar.
- Baking soda.
- Two Bowl.
Perform Soil pH test at home.
- Add one cup of soil to the bowl.
- Add distilled water until it turns to loose mud.
- Then add 1/4 cup of vinegar and mix well.
- Now you have to pay more attention to the mixture reaction. If it bubbles up, the selected soil is alkaline. If no fizz then it is acidic soil.
Double verification of the test.
- Add one cup of soil to the bowl.
- Again add distilled water and make a loose mud mixture.
- Then baking soda and mix well.
- The soil mixture now starts to react. If it fizzes, the selected soil is acidic.
Soil pH level and available nutrients.
In neutral level soil, rich in Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sulfur. So most of the plants perfectly grown at this level. That is why most of the experts recommend pH levels of 6 to 7.5 for most of the plants.
When the soil becomes more acidic (especially falls below level 6) it causes major nutrients deficiencies such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Calcium, Magnesium.
If the soil becomes more alkaline (especially falls above level 7) Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Boron nutrients may be unavailable.
How to Change Soil pH level in Potted Houseplants.
Planting different types of plant species requires a different kind of soil. You have to provide plant native environment condition naturally or artificially. When the soil in your garden falls outside the required range, your plant will have trouble growing, but can easily change soil ph level. No matter if it is garden plants, vegetables, flowers, or even lawn grass.
The good news is that we can artificially or naturally change soil from alkaline to acidic or acidic to alkaline. Using these methods, you can develop a perfect potting mixture.
How to make the soil acidic (alkaline to acidic) naturally.
We can easily reduce the soil pH by adding natural organic matter.
Coconut coir/fiber is the best alternative to make the soil acidic. It has a 5.2 to 6.8 range ph level which is much more useful for a wider range of plants. It can easily make soil acidic naturally.
Peat moss is another good method to improve the soil acidity. Its level is between 3.3 to 4.0, which is the perfect level for acid-loving plants. These are the best natural method. Unlike coconut coir, peat moss makes the soil more acidic.
Compost: This is another simple option. Homemade compost uses kitchen waste such as vegetable waste and food waste. These foods are more acidic and range from 4.5 to 7. In your area soil more alkaline, you can use more compost, soil, coco peat, and less garden soil for your potting mix. Initially, the compost pile more alkaline (depending on its ingredients like fire ash), when the microorganisms grow and multiply and started decomposition, it naturally becomes acidic.
Chemicals: Another option is using a chemical base. Can use Sulfur and aluminum sulfate to lowering the soil pH level (make the soil more acidic). When using a chemical method it is recommended to use a test kit.
How to make soil alkaline (acidic to alkaline) naturally.
To increase soil pH level, can add finely ground agricultural limestone (pulverized, granular) or dolomite to make the soil less acidic. Also, wood Ashes can easily enhance the pH by adding more potassium & calcium to the soil.
Moreover, you can use sulfur and urea. Once added to the soil, with a help of bacteria it will increase the ph level. When using these materials always follow the manufacture’s instructions. Over usage can kill garden trees and plants.
How to Amend Soil Texture.
Soil texture is a composition of sand, silt, and clay particles. It is not related to pH. With each of these different soil partials, your garden soil can be close to clay or close to sandy or loamy. With proper treatment and soil amendments ingredients, you can easily amend the soil texture.
Change Clay Soil texture.
Clay soil is not necessarily acidic, it is rather soil’s texture type. Though most of the clay soils fall acidic category. The best soil amendments for clay soil is Gypsum. It improves the aerations in clay soil, but it is not essentially alert the pH levels. Adding more lime to clay can change the pH. Using more soil conditioners like well-rotted manure, wood Ashes, organic compost, can easily amend clay soil texture, nutrient level, and increase pH levels.
Amending Sandy Soil texture.
Sandy soil retains less water and low nutrients. When amending sandy soil add more organic matter. The best options use organic compost with rotted manure. Mulch leaf also more important sandy soil amendment. Also using cocopeat or peat moss can easily make your sandy garden soil into nutrient-rich soil.