Balance These Levels to Grow A Successful Garden

Have you ever thought about the pH balance of your garden’s soil? pH is a factor that is often overlooked by both novice and more experienced gardeners, but it is an issue that must be addressed if you are serious about growing a successful garden.

Testing Soil PH Balance

Many gardeners adjust the pH in their garden without even realizing that is what we are doing, because many folk-gardening recipes and techniques naturally maintain various pH levels. Long before people knew to test their soil for pH, they had discovered that various different types of compost and fertilizer were better suited to certain varieties of plants and flowers than others.

What is pH Balance?

pH is a measure that describes the acidity or alkalinity (basicness) of a compound. All organic material on this earth has a pH level. pH is very important to humans, as shifts in our pH mean death. pH ranges from zero to fourteen. Perfectly balanced water, with no chemical or organic contamination has a pH level of seven. Everything below seven is acidic, and everything above seven is alkaline, or “basic”.

Because of the association with the word “acid” you may assume that anything basic (alkaline) is safer. This is a common fallacy. The truth is, basic solutions can be just as harmful as acidic ones, and contact with them can be just as dangerous and potentially fatal. It is important to balance acids with bases, to keep to as near to a seven (7) pH as possible. This state is what is referred to as “pH balanced.” The same holds true for plants.

What’s the Best Balance for Gardening?

Each plant has its own special set of needs and preferences for the most successful growth possible. Some varieties thrive with a slightly basic soil, and some do better when the soil is slightly more acidic. As a general rule, root strength and growth is best guaranteed by a mostly neutral, slightly acidic soil. For bulbs in particular, having soil that is between a six and seven is ideal. You can test the pH of your soil regularly with an inexpensive, disposable kit that is readily available at hardware or gardening centers. At the same time, why not test your own drinking water to make sure that you are drinking the most beneficial water for you?

Balancing Your Soil’s pH Naturally

If you find that your soil is not at the optimum pH level, don’t despair. There are many easily accessible methods of naturally adjusting your soil.

  • Remember, rain is water, so there is a natural adjustment in falling from the sky, and it’s free of charge!
  • Another technique is to save coffee grounds and mix them into the soil. Coffee grounds not only help lower the pH, they also help to make the soil loose and gives it a bit of a sandy texture, which is the optimal condition for bulbs.
  • Other natural products from around the house that would otherwise be thrown out are also options, such as vegetable and fruit scraps saved to form compost. Here’s a great recipe for making food scrap “smoothies” to add to your soil.

In addition, commercial fertilizers will list their pH, and this can be a good way of simultaneously adjusting the pH and adding some variety specific nutrients.

pH Balance

With plenty of clean, neutral water, along with soil that has proper drainage, and some safe, natural pH balancing additions to your soil, your plants and bulbs will not only be off to a great start, but will be sure to flourish for the duration of their lives.

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Category: Gardening

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