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Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)

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 Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)

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green_dude

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PostSubject: Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)   Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:45 am

Hello Wink

I'm back. I could have done a google search, but I thought I would ask 'real' people here.

I have been wanting to grow potatoes and sweet potatoes again this winter, but haven't had much luck in the past. So I have made some raised garden beds this year and have placed a mixture of earth from the garden, compost and potting mix into the garden beds, only to find that the soil is probably too alkaline for them. I am getting a PH level reading of 7.5.

How do you lower your PH level for optimal potato growing?

What a Face
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bugboy

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Location : Border Ranges

PostSubject: Re: Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)   Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:51 am

Working well rotted manure into the soil tends to help lower the pH. Particularly cow or sheep manure, which is what I use. I swap veg or labour for manure with two of my neighbours.

One of my gardening books also suggests that peat and sawdust will help too, so if you have a saw mill nearby....
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Tallula Belle

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PostSubject: Re: Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)   Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:21 am

On the website there is also a page I created that talks a bit about this

http://www.livingoffthegrid.com.au/garden/soil_ph_testing.html

Very Happy
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BlueSkyBee

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PostSubject: Re: Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)   Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:37 pm

sulfur is the traditional way of lowering it quickly, but yeah, if you have time, compost is generally acidic, and rotted pine needles as well.
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Tallula Belle

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PostSubject: Re: Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:03 am

This is the content of the Soil pH page I linked to above.

How To Test Soil PH Levels
Testing your soil pH will ensure that you're getting the healthiest and biggest yield of crops from your garden. Different types of plants have different requriements for their optimal pH level. For example, tomato plants prefer a soil pH level that's between 5.5 and 7.5. Lettuce prefers a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, but won't tolerate a pH over 7. By testing soil pH in each garden bed, you'll have the opportunity to provide your garden it's best opportunity for having successful growing conditions.

Placing plants in garden soil that is to acid or alkaline can make them more vulnerable to pests and disease, can make the plant grow slowly (or not at all), and will reduce the amount of nutrients that is passed from the soil and into the vegetable or fruit and then of course into YOU when you eat it.

How To Test

Purchase a pH soil testing kit from any garden supply store (they are simple to use and inexpensive), and follow the instructions provided.

Normally, your pH soil testing kit will have a container, a testing solution, and a color chart. To conduct your soil test, the process is generally that you scoop up some garden soil and place it in the container. Add the recommended number of drops (of testing chemicals) to the container. Mix (shake) the container for the time recommended on the package's instructions. Compare the resulting color to the chart provided and pick the best match to identify your garden plot's soil pH level.

The results of your soil test will show a pH level for your garden plot, measured on a scale of 1 to 14.

1 = the highest acidity and the lowest alkalinity

14 = the highest alkalinity and the lowest acidity

A reading of 7 is considered neutral soil. Below 7 is considered acidic soil (the opposite of alkaline). Likewise, a reading of above 7 means that you have alkaline soil (the opposite of acidic).

You can also test your waters PH levels - the water in your dam, your tap, or your tanks. Whatever you water your plants with.

While at first, the difference in the results of your reading may seem insignificant, the reality is that the slightest reading change can have a big impact on your soil's productivity. On the scale, each whole number is 10 x the acidity/alkalinity of the neighboring number. For example, a reading of 6 is 10 times more acidic than a 7. A 5 is 10 times more acidic than a 6, and 100 times more acidic than a 7.

Some plants prefer acidic soil, some prefer neutral soil, and some prefer alkaline soil.

How To Change The Soils PH Levels

The absolute best additive for your soil (whether too alkaline, or too acidic) is well-rotted organic matter, like compost. Compost acts as a neutralizer in both circumstances, and provides the additional benefit of adding nutrients to your soil (for your plants, and also for the fruits and vegetables you plan to eat from them).

How To Change The Soil pH Level To A Lower Reading
If your soil test shows that the garden bed is too alkaline (the pH level is too high) for the plants you wish to grow there, you will need to add compost or other organic matter. Soils that are highly alkaline, tend to have significantly fewer nutrients available in the soils. Adding significant amounts of organic matter to your garden bed will help correct this deficiency.

How To Change The Soil pH Level To A Higher Reading
(the pH level reading is too low)

If your soil test shows that your garden bed is not alkaline enough (in other words, that your soil's pH level is too low (ie. too acidic) for the plants you wish to grow there, you will need to raise the pH level of your garden plot's soil.

Common options available for soil additives that will increase the soil's pH level (reduce acidity):

Compost
Lime for the Garden
Leaf mold
Very finely ground oyster Shells
Wood Ashes
Apply the soil additive to your soil and rake it in to the top level of soil in your garden plot. (The majority of your plants roots will be near the top, so this is where they will be feeding most heavily from the soil).

Quick Links
Producing Vegetables From Seeds
What Is Permaculture?
A to Z of Vegetable and Fruit Growing
How to Test Soil pH Levels
Table Showing Preferred Soil pH Level for Vegetables
What to Harvest in Autumn
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Susie Wusie



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PostSubject: Re: Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)   Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:13 pm

I have never worried about soil alkalinity or acidity so all of this is great to know. Next time something isn't performing in the garden and I have ensured that it should, I will keep this in mind. The pH test kits are in our local garden centre and were about $10. Is there information about what plants need in terms of balance?

Ta, Susie.
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Tallula Belle

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PostSubject: Re: Soil Too Alkaline - How to Acidify it? (Increase the PH Levels)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:06 am

Did you see this page, Susie?

http://www.livingoffthegrid.com.au/garden/soil_ph_level_vegetables.html


Optimum pH Levels Required By Different Plants
Vegetable
pH Level
PPM / TDS

Articoke
6.5 - 7.5
860 - 1260

Asparagus
6.0 - 6.8
980 -1260

Bean (Common)
6.0
1400 -2800

Beets
6.0 - 6.5
1260 - 3500

Beans
6.0 - 6.5
1260 - 1540

Broccoli
6.0 - 6.8
1960 - 2450

Brussel Sprouts
6.5
1750 - 2100

Cabbage
6.5 - 7.0
1750 - 2100

Carrots
6.3
1120 - 1400

Cauliflower
6.8 - 7.0
1280 - 1400

Celery
6.5
1260 - 1400

Cucumber
5.6
1190 - 1760

Eggplant
6.0
1750 - 2400

Endive
5.8
1400 - 1680

Garlic
6.0
980 - 1260

Leek
6.5 - 7.0
980 - 1260

Lettuce
6.0 - 7.0
560 - 840

Okra
6.5
1400 - 1680

Onions
6.0 - 6.7
980 - 1260

Parsnip
6.0
980 - 1260

Peas
6.0 -7.0
980 - 1260

Potatoes
5.0 - 6.0
1400 - 1750

Pumpkin
5.5 - 7.5
1260 - 1680

Radish
6.0 - 7.0
840 - 1540

Spinach
6.0 - 7.0
1260 - 1610

Sweet Corn
6.0
840 - 1680

Sweet Potato
5.5 - 6.0
1400 - 1750

Tomato
6.0 - 6.5
1400 - 3500

Turnip
6.0 - 6.5
1260 - 1680

Zucchini
6.0
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