Getting Spring Garden Ready – How To Test the pH of your Soil

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Winter’s little secrets always come out after the snow melts: Garbage, doggie doos and lost mittens suddenly seem to appear out of nowhere. But it’s often what we can’t really see (at least not right away) that gardeners and landscapers should look into. I’m of course talking about the Invisible Spring Troll – the one that nibbles on your seeds and sucks the life out of  budding plants. Or not. Actually, the unseen menace may be all of those chemicals and salts that you or your neighbors used to remove snow during the winter that have worked their way onto our lawns and flower beds. It’s safe to presume they’ve impacted the quality of the soil, even if you use “all natural” materials. If you want to grow your garden in the very best conditions, it’s smart to start off on the right foot and ensure your soil is prime for what you intend to grow in it.

One way to see how your soil is doing is to simply test its pH level. This is a measure of the acidity in the dirt. Certain plants do better in higher acidity, certain ones do better in a more alkaline environment, and most flourish when the pH is balanced and fairly neutral – right in between the two ranges. In learning more about this, I found a video you might like from Gardening Girl:

She seems nice, eh? What is it about gardeners that makes them so pleasant?

Anyhoo, the Soil Stick that you see in that video for testing the pH of your garden is available at Plumstone and available for $9.99. It comes with eight tablets to measure your pH with. An even cheaper one on the market is the Luster Leaf 1612 Rapitest pH Soil Tester which comes with ten tests for around $5 on Amazon.

It’s then a matter of bringing new soil in or adjusting your existing soil with sulfur or lime. How much you need depends on the kind of soil you’re using (sandy? clay?), your pH reading, and what you plan to plant in your garden, flower bed or lawn. Your local garden store should be able to help you out with that, or you can check out other resources like (as long as you’re OK with essentially being called a dummy. If you believed that Invisible Spring Troll mention at the beginning you may just fit the bill).

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About Jen

Jen (but never “Jenn”) Byck, aka the Fix'n Vixen, is a Toronto-based freelance writer and communication consultant who is undoubtedly home fixated (she is also TV fixated, really bad TV fixated and donut fixated). Her approach to home improvement has been rather trial and error, the latter of which is evidenced by the amount of spackle she buys on an annual basis.

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