Checking pH for Successful Vegetable Gardening
Checking the pH of your vegetable garden is one of the most important parts of growing a successful garden. Normally for grass and shrubs we don’t have to spend too much time worrying about pH levels, they are not that sensitive and will not show signs of distress from being a bit too far in either direction. In the vegetable garden, it can make a very big difference and will actually prevent your plants from taking up nutrients which allow them to grow, sometimes stunting their growth or even killing young tender plants.
It is always a good idea to check your pH before you plant your garden and even better is to check it in the fall or early winter so you can add Lime or Gypsum to correct pH well before you plant anything. Here is a great article on soil pH in the vegetable garden and best methods for correcting it.
These simple test kits can help you to determine the pH of your garden beds and even how much to feed your plants. Tomatoes need to have the soil pH between 5.5-7.0 in order to produce good fruit. With these simple to use kits you can test your soil up to 10 times.
Compost is the best soil additive
Adding compost to your garden every season is really the best way to keep your soil pH in the neutral range. If you can do it regularly, it will keep your soil happy and in the perfect range for your vegetable plants.
Lime and Gypsum what do they do?
These two products, Lime and Gypsum primarily, help you with correcting soil pH to bring it back to neutral. Generally if you are in an area that gets lots of rainfall (or snowfall), your soil will eventually go more acidic over the years and require Lime to bring it back up, in dry climates, your soil will generally be more alkaline as years go by and will require Gypsum to flush the alkaline from the soil.