How to test your soil pH

It is important to test the soil pH in order to get maximum yield from your garden plants. This ranges from 3.5 to 8.5, with 7 being neutral. Most vegetables and fruits prefer soils with a neutral pH to slightly acidic pH.

Find 10 plants that are suitable for acid soils, and the best for alkaline soils.

You also need to know the texture of your soil. There are six types of soil: clay, sandy loamy, sandy, silty peaty and chalky. Find out how to determine your soil type.

pH is an important factor in the availability of nutrients such as calcium and iron. Additionally, soil organisms that are active in releasing nutrients and breaking down organic matter are most active at pH 6 to 7. It can also impact the likelihood of certain diseases or cultural problems. Clubroot, which attacks brassicas and prefers acid soils, is attracted to alkaline soils that encourage scab on potatoes.

You can get an idea of the pH level by looking at the plants that grow well in your area’s gardens. Camellias and Rhododendrons will thrive in soil that is acidic. Flowering cherries, yew, and clematis prefer alkaline soils such as those made from chalk.

David Hurrion demonstrates how to test soil for acidity, alkalinity, or neutral in this No Fuss Guide. He explains the various kits available and how to extract the soil from your garden.

Testing soil pH

It’s quick and easy to test your soil. Simple pH testing kits can be purchased at most garden centres. Here are the steps.

What You Will Need

  • Kit for soil testing
  • Take samples of soil from your garden

Step 1

It is important to select a representative soil sample in order to test. You should avoid areas that have been fertilized, composted, or treated with other materials as they can alter the reading. The soil pH can vary greatly in a garden. It is best to take samples from multiple areas to get a more accurate picture.

Test tubes can be made more sanitary by adding soil

Step 2

Take out any stones or twigs and put the sample in a tube. Mix the chemical solution and shake it until the soil particles settles. Compare the liquid with the chart once it has cooled. The colour of the pH indicator is shown on the chart.

Shake the soil and apply the chemical solution

Step 3

This test will help you choose the right plants for your garden. This will save you time, effort, and money from trying to grow plants that won’t thrive in your garden.

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