The soil is a complex substance that contains dead and decaying plant and animal matter, small bugs, bacteria, and bits and pieces of stone. A healthy soil will have enough of these elements to allow plants to grow. One of the problems, however, is that soil is sometimes not acidic enough to allow plants to absorb the moisture and the nutrients in the soil, even if the ground is already rich in minerals. If this is the case, you should consider raising the pH levels in the soil. Here’s how.
- Get a testing kit. Start by determining the actual pH levels on the soil. Just because plants are not growing in your soil does not mean that the problem is with the pH levels. The worst thing that you can do is increase the soil pH when the pH is actually high enough. It will be a greater hassle for you to reduce the soil pH than to increase it. Make sure that you test the soil first by getting a tester kit. There are generally two tester kits available in the market. The first is a capsule that you will need to insert in the soil. After a couple of minutes, match the color of the capsule with the chart that comes with the capsule. This will tell you the pH level of the soil. An alternative is to buy a probe meter. These probe meters are more expensive, but are reusable.
- Check before planting. Make sure that you check the pH levels on the soil before you begin to plant anything. Remember that planting and gardening costs you some money at the onset. You don’t want to waste your precious seeds and your precious time by planting in soil that is untested and which potentially does not have the pH levels necessary to encourage plant growth.
- Add hydrated lime. If the pH levels are lower than 6, you will need to add a bit more acid to the soil. The easiest way to do this is by purchasing some hydrated lime. Hydrated lime is easy to use. All you need to do is to sprinkle it on the ground. Generally, you will need to add an ounce of hydrated lime for each square yard of sandy soil. You will need to increase the dosage to as much as four ounces of lime if you are working with clay. By adding this much hydrated lime, you will be able to increase the pH levels by a full one degree. If the necessary 6 pH level is still not achieved, you may add a bit more of lime.
- Consider the climate and location. Finally, check the area where you live. If you live in mountainous areas that receive a fair amount of rainfall, chances are that the ground and the soil already has the recommended pH levels that is conducive for plant growth.
Determining the pH levels of your soil is easy and raising the pH levels to a level that is suitable for plant growth is easy. With these steps, you should be able to do it just like that.