Why Does pH Matter?

Why Does your soils pH Matter? You may have even heard some people say that they don’t worry about testing the soil; that it is usually okay. That’s often true. But if the soil pH is not okay, how will you know? You then risk potential problems. So, if you want to do things right, check the pH of your soil every year or two, and certainly the first time for a garden spot.

The term “pH” stands for a measure of acidity. The pH affects whether fertilizer and other nutrients in the soil are actually available to your plants. You can fertilize and if the pH is wrong, some of the nutrients in the fertilizer get tied up in the soil chemistry so they are hardly available to your plants. That’s a waste. In the case of tomatoes, peppers, and a few other vegetables, it contributes to a problem called blossom end rot.

What exactly is soil pH?

• The pH soil scale ranges from 0 to 14.
• A pH of 7 is neutral, which is neither acid nor alkaline.
• A pH below 7 is acid.
• A pH above 7 is alkaline.

A pH of 5.5 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 6.5. A pH of 8.5 is 10 times more alkaline than a pH of 7.5. A soil test will determine pH.

Vegetables need a soil pH between 6.2 and 6.8 (herbs prefer a pH near 7.0, which is called neutral). If lower or higher, needed nutrients can get tied up in soil chemistry, making them less available to plants. So, pH matters for vegetable plants to grow their best.

You can measure the pH of your soil with a quick test kit sold at garden centers, or you can get a soil test kit from your regional Extension office, which obviously takes longer but will arrive with more specific instructions for the amount of material to apply for adjusting the pH for your soil type.

If you have acidic soil, these 60 acid loving plants are great choices for your gardening and landscaping needs.

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Why Does pH Matter?

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