Soil pH is always a key factor in the germination and growth of any plant type. This is because the level of acidity or alkalinity in the dirt will affect the availability of the essential nutrients that the plants need to grow.
Although most plants will do well in a pH of between 6 and 7, many others like geraniums, thyme and various flower and vegetable types require a more alkaline soil. Therefore, to grow them well, you need to raise the pH in soil.
There are several ways to raise the soil pH, but baking soda is one of the easiest, cost-effective and fastest ways. Since you already have the baking soda at home, you will not need to make any further investments to raise the pH. This is a rather convenient solution especially when you need a quick fix. Understanding how to raise pH in soil with baking soda will be helpful, which will help you grow anything that you want.
Baking soda is cost effective since in most cases you will not need to buy anything. Although there are more potent liming agents that will offer you long lasting pH changes, they will charge higher which can be uneconomical for your small garden. Baking soda produces almost immediate results, and so you will never have to wait for ages for the liming compound to work. In fact, you can realize some changes in the soil pH in less than 24 hours provided using the baking soda well.
With baking soda, you will never have to worry about harming your soil or the growing plants. The baking soda is more “gentle” on soil, and you can apply it even when the plants are already growing. Also, using this compound offers many benefits such as getting rid of the annoying black spots on roses and other plants. Therefore, it will not only improve the health of the soil but also which of your plants.
You cannot and should never try to amend the pH of your soil without first testing it and determining the current level. Whether you want to raise or lower it, the first step should always involve doing some tests. Testing will also guide you on the amount and frequency of using the baking soda to alter the pH.
You can get the best soil test results by sending a sample to the lab as they are always more detailed. However, if your aim is to do everything at home or make maximum cash-savings you can still do a credible analysis with a soil test kit or pH meter.
Furthermore, you can use another simple homemade pH test with vinegar and baking soda. For your homemade test, you need to collect two samples of soil from the same spot and add some distilled water to each. After stirring, you should add a tablespoon of vinegar to one and baking soda to the other. If the sample with the vinegar starts to bubble and fizzle, you have alkaline soil. Otherwise, your soil is acidic.
Once you determine that you need to raise your pH, the next step is to add the baking soda. The best idea is to mix the solution into the soil so it might be better to apply it before planting. However, it is still possible to use baking soda on plants that are already growing.
For the best result, you should mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a gallon of water. Use this ratio to determine what you will need to use for extensive gardens but always make sure that you mix everything thoroughly. You should then apply the mixture to your soil and till it in so that it mixes in well. Also, avoid pouring too much this mixture into the earth because it will create an imbalance. Only do it once every few months.
Like most other pH raising agents, baking soda will require regular watering to activate it. Bear in mind after applying it, watering the soil but not overdo it because you can end up washing the liming agent away and leech other essential minerals from the soil as well. Since the tap water in most areas is alkaline, watering can also contribute to raising the soil pH.
Even when waiting for the baking soda to work, you need to check if there are any changes. After a couple of days, you should test the dirt again to determine whether there is a pH rise. If you use the right amount of baking soda and till it in well, the pH test results will show a rise even after one day.
Even then, you still need to keep testing and adjusting the pH after every few months. Although the soil pH level is, in most cases, very stable, it will probably change as a result of rainfall and fertilizers. Therefore, you need to monitor it regularly.
Baking soda should be enough to increase and manage the pH of your small garden, but it is also important to know that there are still many other methods available. There are two main methods as following:
Wood ash is a perfect choice if you are one of the many gardeners that prefer a more natural or organic way of raising the pH. Although it takes some time to work and not as effective as lime or baking soda, it will also add essential micro-nutrients like potassium, calcium, boron, and phosphate to the soil.
Wood ash will work best in sandy soil, but you should ensure that it does not come into contact with germinating seedlings or roots.
Raising soil pH is often referred to as liming because most of the used compounds contain limestone or lime. The regular lime for increasing pH will come in different forms, and you can get it in pulverized, hydrated, granular and pellet. What you choose to use will depend on the type and amount of moisture.
Your soil pH will determine what plants you can grow in your garden and how healthy they will grow. However, you should not let low pH or acidity restrict you since with a little effort and some baking soda you can raise it to the level that you desire. With the four easy steps above you can increase and manage the pH easily with little effort and money.