Soil Ph. What is it and why should I know my soil Ph. level

Soil Ph.  What is it and why should I know my soil Ph. level.

To grow a healthy garden there are a couple of easy steps to go through one of the most important and most miss understood ones is soil Ph.  Soil Ph is just the measure of how Acid or Alkaline your soil is. One of the first steps in setting up a new garden or rebuilding an older garden bed is finding out the soil Ph.

Most gardens I visit in Australia to help the home owner overcome the problems they are having, is normally associated with a soil PH problem, I have seen Ph levels as low as PH 3 here on the Gold Coast, there is no way you will ever grow a garden with PH levels like that, so we all need to know our Soil PH levels.

Acid Ph is below Ph 7 above Ph 7 is Alkaline Neutral is PH 7.

Most Vegetables grow well around the Ph 6.4 to PH 7 but each and every plant has a preferred Ph level it like to grow at. It’s quite easy to find out what your plants need, you can even google it to find out.

I test PH levels with an Adwa PH meter available here www.wormtec.com.au   they are the best I have found extremely easy to use and very accurate.

Once you have found out your soil PH levels you then need to decide what you are going to grow so you can adjust your PH levels to obtain the best growth and plant health possible.

Most soils I work with always tend to swing to the Acid side that is below Ph 7 that is because of all the organic matter and mulches that are added to the soil. So all we need to do is to add something alkaline to swing the soil Ph back towards neutral, either garden lime or you could try something like mushroom compost as it’s normally on the Alkaline side. That’s as hard as it is, no guessing because you measured it and now you know what to do.

How to Adjust PH Levels

Raising Soil PH Levels

Raising Ph levels is easily accomplished with the addition of garden lime, but I like to find an organic mulch or compost that is Alkaline try mushroom compost, apart from adjusting the soil Ph you are feeding the soil at the same time.

Lowering Soil PH Levels

Lowering soil Ph can be done chemically with the addition of Sulfur, but again I like to do it with an Acid mulch or compost most organic matter will swing your Ph to the Acid side

Nutrients and Biology Availability

The Nutrients, Minerals and the Soil Biology are all available to your plants at around Ph level 6 to 7 but once your Ph swings out more there is less and less available, and that is why one of the telling factors of extreme Ph levels is Mineral deficiency showing on your plants, normally the minerals are there but the plant just can’t get them from the soil as there chemically locked up, or unavailable because the biology has gone dormant because of the PH level  this is one of the reasons gardeners treat the same reoccurring symptoms on plants every year, by simply knowing  about soil Ph levels you can resolve this reoccurring problem.

How To Use A Digital PH Meter

How To Measure A soil Sample

Its very easy to measure PH levels of a soil sample, mix 1 part soil to 5 parts PH neutral water, now mix them together, this gives you a liquid you can measure with a ph meter, now before you test this liquid zero your PH meter with the test solution that came with the meter, this allows you to set your PH meter at PH 7 or Neutral, When you now test your pre mixed soil water mix and the PH level swings to lets say PH 5 you know its an accurate reading because you calibrated the meter to PH 7 before you started, sounds complicated but its just so easy to do, look at the photos below.

How to Measure A water Sample

Its very easy to measure PH levels of a water sample, Calibrate PH meter as above so its set at PH7 then just test your water sample to get an accurate Ph reading, you can also test liquid fertilisers using this same method.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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