DIY soil test – Acid or Alkaline?

acid_Alkaline_soil_dyi_test_a-curious-gardenerIf you have a lot of land, or just want a general idea of your soil type, this DYI soil test works a treat I’ve been told, and will try it out myself this weekend in my new garden.

You need:

-A soil sample ( not surface soil, but from a couple of inches down, and from a few places in the garden)
-Vinegar ( white works best)
-Baking Soda
-Water
-Sample containers (something clear you can see through, and large enough to mix in – a plastic pint glass works well)

Alkaline soil (or ‘sweet’ soil – anything with a pH higher than 7) can be made more acidic with the addition of peat, manure, sulphur products, and conifer needles. Lilacs and clematis like this type of soil, and acers and azealas do not.

To test for Alkaline soil – Scoop some soil into a sample container, and add half a cup of vinegar. If it bubbles or fizzes its’ Alkaline, or really close to neutral.

Acid soil (or ‘sour’ soil, though it grows many plants better than Alkaline soil, has a Ph of 7 or lower). It can be made more Alkaline by the addition of lime. Plants such as blueberries, and rhododendrons require acid soil.

To test for Alkaline soil – scoop a fresh soil sample into a second container. Add a half-cup of water and mix. Then, add a half-cup of baking soda. If the soil bubbles or fizzes the soil is highly acidic.

Nothing much going on? then its’ pretty much neutral. Of course it’s always good to get proper soils tests done with a lab, but these can get pricy if you have lots of land, or a variable garden!

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