How Does pH Affect Plants And Why Do You Need a Soil Test Kit?
We moved into a new home two months back, and my wife wanted to fill the garden with plants she loves. Anyway, no matter how hard she tried, all the plants were dead within a few weeks. She was sad, so I was upset, and I called my father and asked why? OK, he gave me a good explanation about the reason for failure. It was the pH levels of the ground. I know every husband wants to see their wife’s happy face, so I am writing this article on pH levels and the use of a Soil Test Kit.
* pH levels in your garden: Before planning a new garden, know the soil type with a Soil Test Kit. Well, it depends on the types of plants you are considering. The pH level reflects the acidity levels (pH=potential Hydrogen.) The general pH levels of the soil range from 3.5-9.0 on a scale. Use a Soil Test Kit to know the current pH level in your garden soil. The best pH level for many plants ranges from 6.0-7.0. According to the pH levels, the acidity and the alkalinity of the soil varies. I came across a chart on Wikipedia related to pH levels of the soil and its nature. Follow this link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PH#pH_in_soil.)
Using your Soil Test Kit: The kit helps you to find the pH levels and to know the phosphorous, nitrogen, and potash your soil has (these nutrients are important for healthy plants/lawn.) As I said earlier, the ideal range for plant growth is between 6.0-7.0 (a slightly acidic condition.) Anyway, you can’t see the nutrients level by naked eyes, so buying a Soil Test Kit is the best option. It uses a color-coded system to show the pH levels. Now let’s see how you would use it step by step.
1) Things you need: Clean gloves, trowel, Soil Test Kit, distilled water, and a clean jar.
2) Get into your gloves. Using the trowel, dig a 4-inch hole into a dry area in your garden/soil. Don’t touch the soil with bare hands to prevent contaminations. Get a soil sample to check the pH levels.
3) Break the soil and let it dry naturally. Remove stones and plant debris.
4) OK, now you need the Soil Test Kit. It has instructions on the amount of soil and water to fill in (for the pH test.) Fill the pH tube of the kit with the correct amount of soil and water. Take the color-based chart and compare the results. In the same manner, fill the phosphorus, nitrogen, and potash tubes with soil and water. Again, compare the results (with the color-coded chart.) Soil that has too much soil and clay are less healthy.
Use the results you got to determine what changes you should do, in order to make your garden soil a healthy soil. It was the problem with our garden. Having low amounts of nutrients would not always end up you having dead plants, but it can affect the growth/flowers/fruits. Read the information on the right pH levels, and the nutrients needed by the plants (read the label of the seed packet.)
You can buy the Soil Test Kit from the local house improvement store/gardening shop. Other methods are there to determine the pH levels of the soil, but a Soil Test Kit is a straightforward method.