The Why and How of pH Testing For Your Soil 

Testing your soil’s pH is a way to make your garden be the best that it can be. The soil can be tested at your home yourself by using a kit, or you can have your soil tested by a lab. The benefit of getting soil tested at a lab is that you are more likely to get an accurate assessment of your soil’s pH and also your soil’s composition of nutrients.

Below is how to test your soil at home yourself very cheaply:

  • Get a cup of soil from the area that you wish to test.
  • Add water to the soil until it reaches the level of mud.
  • Add about a half cup of regular white vinegar.
  • If this causes a bubbling and fizzing reaction, then your soil sample is alkaline or basic
  • To test for acidity-add a half a cup of baking soda. If a reaction happens, then you have acidic soil.

If your soil is neutral, then there will be no reaction in either test.

You can also buy tests online or in a gardening or DIY store that have a pH strip and let you know the exact pH of your soil. These tests are usually inexpensive and will let you know much more information than just if your soil is acidic or basic.

Or you can pay to have a lab test your soil. This is the most expensive option, but will also give you the most detailed results.

Why Test?

So, why should you test your soil’s pH?

The plants that you are wanting to grow might be able to survive in pH levels that are beyond their ideal comfort zone, but they won’t thrive, and their nutrient absorption might be disrupted. This can cause your plants to have nutrient deficiencies. 

If you are adding nutrients in a soil that has the wrong pH for your plants, then the nutrients might not get absorbed correctly into your plants, making you lose money. 

On the flip side, if your soil is too alkaline, the plants can absorb too many nutrients, which isn’t good for them either. 

Testing your soil’s pH is a good way to know what you should do for your soil for optimum plant nutrient uptake so you don’t have to play a guessing game with your garden.

Why should I monitor my soil’s acidity?

Acidic soil can cause all sorts of problems in your garden. Some plants love it, and some hate it, but if your soil is too acidic across the board then many of your plants will fail to thrive, no matter how good your lawn care regimen is. 

Even if there is enough NPK, if the pH of your soil is off, then your plants won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients. They won’t be able to get the food that they need to survive and might start showing signs of nutrient deficiency, or even dying. 

What can increase the soil’s acidity?

Acidic soil is considered as such when the soil’s pH value is below 7. There are many things that can affect the acidity of your soil, including: 

  • Bad crop rotation
  • Poor drainage or over-watering
  • Rainfall
  • Planting specific plants that acidify your soil, and
  • Over-fertilization

All in all, testing your soil’s pH is another way for you to become more knowledgeable about the state of your garden and what your plants need. It is a way to make sure that your plants, flowers, and vegetables produce, and are at, their very best.