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What's the best way to test pH

 
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What's the best way to test pH besides sending it in to a lab. I have used the probes and the powder in the past. The probes break to fast and I'm not sure how sustainable the powder is. We just ran out of all our capsules and I'm wondering if I should get more or if I should switch to a different method.
 
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One home-based approach that is more sustainable than a purchased litmus product is red cabbage water. It changes colour as the acidity changes. I believe pink means acidic.

I don't have a recipe or a colour chart handy, and it's not the best way, as it only gives you an idea of the direction in which you want to amend it, but it's a starting point you can get to without buying anything or sending soil out to a lab.

The cost of soil testing compared to how useful an in depth analysis can be is truly miniscule, though, especially if your local ag extension is subsidised to perform cheap tests.

I am curious. Why do you not want to get a soil analysis done? If you're eating the stuff you're growing, a soil test may be one of the best gifts you ever give yourself.

-CK
 
warren mccarthy
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Chris Kott wrote:One home-based approach that is more sustainable than a purchased litmus product is red cabbage water. It changes colour as the acidity changes. I believe pink means acidic.

I don't have a recipe or a colour chart handy, and it's not the best way, as it only gives you an idea of the direction in which you want to amend it, but it's a starting point you can get to without buying anything or sending soil out to a lab.

The cost of soil testing compared to how useful an in depth analysis can be is truly miniscule, though, especially if your local ag extension is subsidised to perform cheap tests.

I am curious. Why do you not want to get a soil analysis done? If you're eating the stuff you're growing, a soil test may be one of the best gifts you ever give yourself.

-CK



You've got a good point there. Ill have to check out what the cost are here locally to do an in depth soil analysis. I just wanted to do pH, so I didn't think it was worth it to send to a lab, but if I just go ahead for a nutrient analysis while I'm at it, that could be really beneficial.
 
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warren mccarthy wrote:What's the best way to test pH besides sending it in to a lab. I have used the probes and the powder in the past. The probes break to fast and I'm not sure how sustainable the powder is. We just ran out of all our capsules and I'm wondering if I should get more or if I should switch to a different method.



What kind of probes are you using? I have a lab quality unit with a glass probe that is 25 years old and still works fine since I take good care of it.
There are good, lab type stick testers for under 60 dollars that will last quite a long time if used with care and taken care of properly.

I don't recommend units like I use (they are costly and just a tad delicate for most folks) they take some knowledge to set up and use correctly and they don't take abuse at all, require a neutral solution to sit in when not in use, have to be rinsed in deionized water before and after each use and there are calibration solutions on top of that.
I do recommend the new generation stick testers since they are pretty durable (meant for field work).
Litmus paper works pretty well as long as you aren't doing research type work.
How accurate you need to be should be the criteria you use when selecting chemistry/biology equipment like pH meters.

This link might be of help to you.  Fisher Scientific
 
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