Try this fun method to test soil pH levels in your garden! It can be done in a few minutes at home and requires no special equipment at all.
If you have certain plants that just don’t seem to be able to thrive in your yard, it can be helpful to test soil pH levels to find out if you need to make any changes to your soil. There are some plants that do really well in alkaline soil, while others prefer more acidic soil, and your garden soil’s pH levels can really affect your gardening success if you have your heart set on growing a particular plant.
Once you know what type of soil you’re working with, you can either choose your plants accordingly, or make amendments to your soil to hopefully help your plants thrive where you’d like them to grow. Remember to always make changes to the soil slowly, a little at a time, so you don’t go too far in the opposite direction!
How to Test Soil pH
- A sample of your soil
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
Start out by heading out to your garden. Take a small amount of soil from the area that you’re working in and place it in a small container. I got two samples so I could do the full experiment to show you, but you can just start with one because that may be all you need.
Add a bit of water to the soil sample to make it a bit muddy.
Slowly add about a tablespoon or two of the white vinegar to the sample and watch what happens. Since vinegar is an acid, if your soil sample fizzes and bubbles up, that means that you have alkaline soil.
If you get no reaction at all, grab yourself a fresh soil sample in a clean container and move on to the next step!
More soil knowledge – The Creek Line House –The Secret to Perfect, Easy to Work With Garden Soil
Again, make this soil sample a bit muddy. This time, add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the soil. Since baking soda is alkaline, if your soil sample bubbles and fizzes, this means that you have acidic soil!
Such a fun little science experiment! 🙂
As you can see, it turns out that my soil is alkaline!
The soil sample with the vinegar fizzed and bubbled quite noticeably and it continued for several minutes. I wasn’t really convinced this would do anything the first time I tried it out so I was pretty surprised to see such clear results from mixing my soil with vinegar.
If you’ve been suspecting that your soil’s pH level may be affecting your gardening success, but haven’t wanted to go all out and have your soil professionally tested, this is a really simple way of understanding what’s happening in your garden a little bit better.
Have you ever needed to test soil pH levels?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.