Soil pH becomes the main factor for the growth and germination of different plant species. This is due to the alkalinity or acidity level in the soil that affects the availability of nutrients necessary for plant growth. Even though many plants do well at a pH of 6-7, others, such as thyme, vegetables, flowers, and geraniums, need more alkaline soil. So, to grow them, it is necessary to raise the soil pH.
There are different ways to increase pH in soil, where baking soda becomes the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way. Since you can access have baking soda in the house, you don’t need to make additional investments to raise the soil pH. This is a very useful solution, particularly if you require a quick fix. Knowing how to raise pH with baking soda is helpful, especially if you require to grow what you need.
Why Use Baking Soda?
Baking soda is cheap because you don’t need to purchase anything in most cases. Even though many potent limiting agents provide long-term pH changes, they charge more than wasteful for the small garden. Baking soda works almost immediately to produce a result, so you don’t have to wait long for a liming compound to take effect. You can notice changes in soil pH not less than 24 hours, provided you use the baking soda correctly.
With baking soda, you don’t have to worry about damaging the growing plants or soil. It is softer on the earth, and you can use it even after the plants have grown. In addition, the use of this compound has many advantages, like removing irritating black spots on rose herbs and other plants. So, it improves not only the soil but also the plants’ health.
How to Raise pH in Soil with Baking Soda
- Carry out soil pH test
Before raising the pH in soil, it is recommended to carry out the test to determine the pH level. At this point, you will know if you want to lower or raise the pH. Knowing its level in the soil will help you know how much baking soda is being used or added. You can professionally test the soil pH for highly accurate results or use DIY methods.
If you want to test the pH in soil yourself, you will be required a pH meter or a pH test kit. This test comes with easy-to-follow instructions. On the other hand, you can test it at home with baking soda and vinegar. For this home test, you only need two different soil samples from the same area. Also, they must be obtained to a depth of four inches.
In the samples, add distilled water and shake. When testing the pH in soil with baking soda, add the baking soda one tablespoon to the sample and mix gently. If the mixture bubbles or fizzles, the soil is acidic. Also, add another sample with one tablespoon of vinegar and mix lightly. If it starts to foam, you have alkaline soil, and if none of these tests produce a reaction, the medium is neutral.
- Apply baking soda
When you decide that you require raising the pH in soil, the step is to add a baking soda. Typically, the best thing is to mix the soil with the solution. The best thing is to apply it before you plant it. Nevertheless, it is possible to use baking soda on the plants, which are already growing.
To get the best results, mix a quart of water with one tablespoon of the baking soda. Use this proportion to decide what you need for larger gardens, but always remember to mix everything properly. Next, you need to apply the mixture to the soil and plow to make it mix well. Likewise, avoid pouring this mixture too much on the soil as this would create an imbalance. Do this every few months.
- Water regularly
Like many pH-raising substances, baking soda requires regular watering for activation. Remember to water the soil after application, but don’t overdo it, or you will wash away the liming agent and lose other important minerals from the earth. Since tap water is alkaline in most areas, watering can also help raise pH in the ground.
- Check pH in the soil again
Even if you expect baking soda to work, you’re required to check for changes. After a few days, you will need to repeat the soil test to see if the pH has risen. If you use the correct baking soda and let it settle well, the results for the pH test will show an increase even after a day.
Even so, you should continue adjusting and testing the pH every few months. Even though the levels in soil pH are very stable in most cases, it is likely to change with fertilizers and rainfall. Therefore, it is necessary to check it regularly.
Alternative Methods Use to Raise pH in Soil
- Use of liming materials
How can you raise the soil pH with lime? It works by adding magnesium and calcium to the soil. Likewise, it starts to react with the earth to reduce the manganese and aluminum solubility. These are elements, which lower the pH of the soil.
There are two types of liming materials. They include calcitic lime that contains dolomitic lime and calcium carbonate, which has a large amount of magnesium carbonate. You can apply liming materials in several ways: using or incorporating them in the soil. Due to the limited solubility in the liming materials, tilling is necessary to raise pH in soil rapidly. The surface application will only change the pH at the top of the soil.
Similarly, it would be best to give the lime a good time to react before planting the crops. Also, you can add water to the soil, as lime is slower to react in dry soil. However, don’t add much water because it can deplete other important minerals.
- Add wood ash
Wood ash is an organic method that can help to raise pH in the soil. Burned trees produce ashes, which brings calcium into the garden that increases the pH of the soil. Also, it adds micronutrients like boron, phosphate, and potassium, which are essential for proper plant growth. You might wonder how to use wood ash to increase the soil pH. Well, this should not be a difficult task. Just add the ash in thin layers. Typically, two oz. of ash is enough for a square meter.
Baking soda or lime is much effective when compared to wood ash in adjusting the soil pH. However, it can drastically increase soil pH over time. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on the soil when you try to solve the problem of increasing soil pH by using wood ash. Also, this method can damage germinating roots and plants, so be careful not to let ash mix with them.
The best time for using wood ash is in winter. Wait about a month before planting for it to work properly to avoid damage to the plant. Wood ash offers satisfactory results in sandy soils. It would be best if you only used it when the soil pH is below 6.5. This is because it adds essential elements and contains pollutants such as heavy metals, which can be toxic to the plants.
Soil pH will determine which plants you will grow in the garden and how healthy they can grow. However, don’t let the acidity or lower pH limit you because, with some effort and a little baking soda, you will raise your level to want you to desire. Using the above steps, you can easily increase and control your pH in soil with little money and effort.
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