The garden is a Memorial Garden, a garden of benevolence, garden of love. It is a gift to our community from the God of Love, Jesus the Christ. The first “seeds” for our garden have come from members of the congregation and a designation from the congregation’s memorial funds. These seeds have brought us to the beginning of a journey that will last for many years. Guided by the Holy Spirit we will plow forth until row upon row of our work is accomplished and our community is better nourished. The Lord invites you all to be part of His work on earth strengthening and feeding His children. The garden is made possible by generous donations from the community, a Domestic Hunger Grant from the ELCA World Hunger, generous support by the congregation of Lutheran Church of Hope, and support from the Alaska Synod of the ELCA.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Changing the pH

You may need to adjust the pH of the soil in your garden. Soils in a Alaska tend to be poor in nutrients and generally acid. Acid soil has a pH lower than 7.0. It is sometimes called "sour" soil. 7.0 is neutral, it's neither high nor low. It's not acid (low) or alkali (high).  Alkali soil is also called sweet soil. Most gardeners try to keep the pH between 6.5 and 7, so just slightly acid. It's impossible to tell the pH of your soil without testing it yourself or having someone else test it. Most green houses and garden centers will test the pH of your soil for you. You might talk with your local high school chemistry teacher to see if they would check your pH for you. You will have to get a sample or multiple samples. If you take multiple samples be sure you label them so you can keep track of the pH in specific locations.
pH, Light, Moisture Tester

You can purchase your own test kit. You will pay from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. But if you spend more than $20 you are probably spending too much. You should be aware that many test kits have ranges on the pH scale they can accurately test. Testing ranges should be from about 4 to 8.  The tester pictured at the right has a pH test range of 3.5 - 8. I have no idea how accurate it is. At $10 even if it isn't very accurate you won't be on the hook for much money. I have ordered one of these and will let you know the accuracy and ease of use sometime after it arrives. See the tool test for triple tester. It wasn't good.

To keep things in perspective, a pH of 5.0 will still grow great vegetables and the potatoes, blue berries, and raspberries will love it. pH as high as 8 will do the same but you potatoes may look bad.  They will taste just fine but the potato scab makes them ugly. Making soils more acid is generally more difficult than making them more alkali. Instead of rewriting what other people have said about this I will provide this link for more acid and this one for more alkali. There are many other websites that will point you in the right direction just key in changing the pH of my soil on any search engine and you will get more articles that you could read in a year. If you are going to err make it on the side of acid soil.

There are certain plants that like quite acid soil (potatoes) and some that like quite alkali soil (honeysuckle). Check the seed packets, ask the representative in the garden center or greenhouse, or look it up online.

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