To be successful in gardening, you need to know the ph of your garden soil. That’s because there are some plants that will grow better in alkaline soil and some plants that grow best in acidic soil. By knowing your soil ph, you can make the necessary adjustments to either increase or decrease your soil ph. The easiest way to measure soil ph is using a soil ph tester. If you don’t have a soil ph tester you can still measure the soil ph using vinegar and baking soda. Below, I will show you step-by-step how to measure your soil ph without a soil test kit. I’ve also created a video to show you how to measure soil pH without a soil test kit.
Ingredients to Measure Soil pH
Here are the ingredients you will need to measure your soil ph. You need vinegar, baking soda, water, a hand shovel, containers, and a soil sample.
How to Measure the Soil PH without a Soil Test Kit
Step 1: Collect Garden Soil
Using your hand shovel, collect a sample of gardening soil. Dig 3 inches deep to collect your gardening soil sample. If you have a big garden, you may want to gather several garden soil samples from different sections of your garden and test them separately. If you have a small garden, then you can probably collect one sample and assume your soil ph is the same throughout.
Step 2: Remove Debris
If you see debris and rocks, remove them from your gardening soil sample.
Step 3: Transfer soil to a container
Using your hand shovel, transfer soil into any container. I like to use plastic take-out containers.
Step 4: Add water to your soil sample
Pour some water into your soil sample, and use your hand shovel to mix. Mix the water in until the soil looks muddy.
Step 5: Test for Alkalinity
Pour vinegar into your soil sample and stir.
If the soil starts to fizz and form bubbles, your soil is reacting to the vinegar which means your soil is alkaline. The fizzier, the more reaction, the more alkaline it is. If the soil did not fizz or react to the vinegar, then your soil is either neutral or acidic.
Alkaline-loving plants are hostas, forsythias, daylily, salvia, lavender, arborvitaes, and lilac.
Step 6: Test for Acidity
To test for acidity in your garden soil, scoop a fresh soil sample into a clean container. Add water to make it muddy. Then sprinkle baking soda into your soil sample and stir.
If the soil starts to fizz and form bubbles, then you know your soil is reacting to the baking soda which means your soil is acidic. The fizzier, the more acidic your soil is. If the soil did not fizz or react to both baking soda and vinegar then your soil is neutral.
Acid-loving plants are azaleas, rhododendrons, holly, irises, blueberries, strawberries, and ferns. If you want blue hydrangea flowers, you need acidic soil to turn the flowers blue.
How to make your garden soil more alkaline
To increase alkalinity, just add garden lime to your soil.
How to make your garden soil more acidic
To increase acidity, add a soil acidifier to your garden soil.
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