How To Measure Soil PH at Home? Knowing the pH of the soil in your garden or potted plants is critical to their healthy growth.
Especially if you grow plants that require acidic soil such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias, or if, on the contrary, you grow plants that require alkaline soil such as cherry, orange, and pomegranate, it is important to know the acidity level of the soil so that you can then correct the value according to the needs of these plants.
For example, if you grow strawberries in alkaline soil, the fruits will not grow well because they need acidic soil to thrive properly.
So let’s see together how to measure soil pH using a completely homemade method and how to possibly correct the acidity values!
What you will need
Before we get started, here is a list of everything you need to measure the pH of your soil:
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- a soil sample
- 2 cups
- baking soda
- distilled water
- one teaspoon
As you can see, these are ingredients that are very easy to find and indeed are things you probably already have in your home. So let’s get on with the experiment!
Take a soil sample
The first thing to do is to take a sample of the soil you want to analyze and prepare the 2 beakers that you will use to measure the acidity and alkalinity of the soil, respectively.
Consider that the amount of soil to be taken is just enough to fill 1 whole glass.
Then you will divide the soil sample by putting one half of it in the glass and the other half of soil in the second glass.
Then you can proceed with the first experiment.
Check if the soil is acidic with bicarbonate
The first experiment is to find out if the soil is acidic. First you need to create the mixture of soil and water.
It is essential to use distilled water since it has a neutral pH and does not alter the test result. If you do not have distilled water available, you can use water that is filtered by air conditioners.
So to recap, you already have your glass half filled with the soil sample and to which you have added some water. Stir with a teaspoon to create a mixture.
To tell if the soil is acidic, you have to react the mixture of soil and water with an alkaline substance: bicarbonate.
Put 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the mixture and stir with the teaspoon: if it reacts by making bubbles then the soil has a pH between 5 and 6 and is therefore acidic.
If it does not react then the soil may be either neutral or alkaline. To raise the pH when the soil is too acidic you can add ash or lime to the soil.
Check if the soil is alkaline with vinegar
If we used an alkaline ingredient to find out if the soil is acidic, now to check if the soil is alkaline we will use an acidic ingredient: vinegar.
Put 1 tablespoon of vinegar in the mixture and swirl with the teaspoon: if it reacts by making bubbles then the soil has a pH between 7 and 8 and is therefore alkaline.
If it does not react then the soil could be either acidic or neutral.
In this case, my soil reacted only with vinegar, so it tends to be basic or alkaline.
Since the vinegar is already liquid, you can also dispense with adding the distilled water and pour 1 small glass of vinegar directly into the glass with the soil.
To lower the pH when it is too alkaline, you can add manure or compost.