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How to: test your garden soil’s pH, and balance it out for better veggie harvest

 
Adam Broadbent
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Hello Permies community! I'm posting this topic for anyone who, like me a couple of months ago, was unaware of how to best test soil pH and enhance it's fertility for a better veggie harvest. I wasn't able to find anything more recent and helpful on other forums but when i came across https://www.milkwood.net/2014/03/17/how-to-test-your-garden-soils-ph-and-balance-it-for-a-better-veggie-harvest/ I was able to get all my answers. This is for all those permies who are resolved to grow the best darn vegetables ever. If, like me, you're on a mission to feed your family nutrient-dense, organic, home-grown food, to stick it to the supermarket, and to hopefully have enough to share with friends and neighbours too.

In a nutshell:

"Healthy plants should be able to get all (yep, ALL) of the nutrients they need from the soil.

But if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, those nutrients won’t be available, no matter how much fertiliser you add.

Acidity has a strong effect on the ability of plants to take up soil nutrients as well as upon the wellbeing of soil organisms.

Most nutrients that plants need can be chemically assimilated when the pH of the soil solution ranges from 6.0 to 7.5.

Below pH 6.0, some nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are less available.
When pH exceeds 7.5, iron, manganese, and phosphorus are less available."

For better step by step details i suggest you visit the link i provided, helped me out a lot.

Cheers from Australia!
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 649
Location: Longbranch, WA
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Thank you for linking this excellent reference. I was aware of this and have com across this information many times but was not willing fuss with test strips and the expense of replacing them. I have found a method which is faster, easier, and no additional excuses just do it. Here is an example of checking my wicking trough with a moisture meter reads 4.5 out of 0/9.9 and a ph meter reading just above 6 in the 7 range. The plant in between is a bok choy for winter greens under supplemental light on February 3. Below the meters are new New Zealand spinach plants which will trail over the edge of this elevated trough for perpetual greens. I can quickly check all my planters and know whether the moisture is wicking properly and the ph is staying in range for what is planted there. I used to have one that included light level as a third setting which would be helpful for this check.
ph & moisture meters.JPG
[Thumbnail for ph & moisture meters.JPG]
quick check on how wicking trough is doing
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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