Good soil is one of the most important aspects of having a successful garden. Without good soil, your plants will struggle to grow and in some cases, they might not grow at all. Making soil more acidic can help certain plants not only grow but also strive.
Based on local geography, soils mineral content varies, which in return affects its acidity or alkalinity levels in the soil. This is measured on a pH scale, which allows people to conveniently determine the acidity on their soil. Based on the plants you are growing, you can then research the pH levels they need and test the levels in your soil, adjusting them as needed.
How To Test For Acidity
Before starting your garden, it is best to test the acidity levels in your soil. Different plants need more acidic levels, whereas others don’t need much acidity at all. Fortunately, you can use a pH test to determine how acidic your soil is.
The best time to test the acidity levels of your soil is in the fall. This will then give you plenty of time to adjust your soil if need be before you plant your garden.
When testing your soil, use a hand shovel to dig about four to six inches down to obtain a sample. Once you dig up a good chunk of soil, remove any rocks, sticks, and debris from the soil. In addition, you also want to break up any large clumps of soil.
In a large bowl, add around one cup of soil along with enough water to make it into the mud. Then, add 1/2 cup of vinegar and stir it into your mud. If your mud begins to foam, fizz, or make bubbles, your soil is alkaline.
If no bubbling occurs, repeat the process as you did above by making mud with one cup of soil. Then, add 1/2 cup of baking soda and stir it in your mud mixture. If the mud begins to fizz, bubble, or foam, your soil is acidic.
Using A pH Testing Kit
You can also test the soil using a soil pH testing kit. This will give you an exact number of acidic your soil is. The pH test works on a scale of 0-14.
To use a pH testing kit, dig up soil from four to six inches down and remove any rocks and debris. Then, place one to three teaspoons of soil in a clean glass. Pour distilled water into the glass to the same level of the soil.
Shake the mixture well into it becomes well combined and then let it sit for 30 minutes. Then pour your soil sample through a coffee filter, collecting the water into a new clean glass. Be certain to get as much liquid out of it as you can.
Then place the pH strip into the liquid you collected and leave it in their according to the package’s instructions. Once it has been in the water for as long as it needed to be, compare the color of the strip to the chart of the package.
It is a good idea to repeat the process with samples from different parts of your garden. This will help you get a good idea of the average pH levels of the soil in your garden.
Why Acidity Levels Matter
Many plants thrive in acidic soil because the pH provides them with the nutrients they need to grow. In addition, pH levels in the soil also play a vital role in fertility. By having an ideal acidity level in your soil, the microbiological activity of the soil increases, which leads to improved soil nutrient recycling and release.
The pH levels in soil also work to maximize the nutrients of N, P, and K that come from fertilizers. Many plants will do best with a pH level that is right in the middle of the scale, however, it does vary by species of plant.
How To Make Soil More Acidic
Fortunately, if your soil is not acidic enough for your plant’s needs, there are several ways you can increase the acidity levels. Before adjusting your soil’s acidity, make sure to test multiple areas of your soil to find the average pH level of your garden.
One of the easiest and most effective ways for how to increase soil acidity is by composting. Since compost is rich in organic matter, it makes your soil more acidic gradually over time, which creates the most benefits for your plants. In addition, it not only improves the structure of the soil but also creates additional benefits for plant growth.
In addition, you can also use compost tea to increase acidity. Simply add one to two cups of your compost to one to two gallons of water. Allow it to sit for 48 hours, stirring regularly, then strain the compost and spray the liquid in your soil for fast-acting nutrients.
You can also use organic mulch, coffee grounds, and peat moss to help increase the acidity levels in your soil. In addition, you can also buy soil acidifier at gardening and department stores that is not only easy to use but also effective at improving the pH levels in your garden. However, it can be more expensive than the other options.
Improving Your Soil: Making Soil More Acidic
Knowing how to make soil acidic can help improve the growth of the plants in your garden. It can provide your plants with the important nutrients they need in order to thrive.
Before planting your garden, it is a good idea to test the pH levels of your soil in several places to determine if your soil needs more acidity. In addition, be sure to research the plants you are going to add to your garden to find out what pH levels those specific plants require.
Compost is a great way to improve the acidity of your soil. In addition, you can also use compost tea, mulch, peat moss, and coffee to improve acidity. You can even buy soil acidifier from stores to help enhance your soil.
Do you have any questions regarding making soil more acidic? If so, please ask any questions about acidic levels in soil in the comment section below.