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Alkaline Soil

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Alkaline Soil

Post  jjlamb24 on Wed 28 Apr 2010 - 12:51

I'm hoping for a little advise. I made my Mel's Mix for my new garden this winter. I planted in February. Everything has grown VERY poorly. My neighbor's traditional old garden is doing GREAT. I decided to compare the soils, and found my ph was WAY TOO HIGH. It was around 8.0. So, I tested the compost sources for the mix, and all of them were very high too (8-10). I used 4 different sources. All were at least partially manure based.

Is there any way to effectively lower my ph without starting over? So far I tried applying elemental Sulfur. Since the garden was already planted, I had to only apply it to the top. It has been about a month, but if anything, it looks like the ph is HIGHER!!

Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  camprn on Wed 28 Apr 2010 - 13:24

Hi Jim, please read the links found HERE the fact sheets offer comprehensive information that address your questions, though I'm not sure it will answer all of your worries. Please know that all is not lost, adjusting your soil is a process, not an event and it will take time. Very Happy

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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  jjlamb24 on Wed 28 Apr 2010 - 13:47

Thanks for the response! I checked out the site and there is definitely a lot of good info there to be absorbed. Most of the mention of ph that would apply to me was regarding the relatively low ph of peat moss. This is, in my situation, a good thing.

Unfortunately, I also found this:

This points out that the vermiculite may actually be making my problems worse. This is extremely unfortunate, because:
a.) I don't know for sure because I used all my vermiculite so I can't test it.
b.) I love vermiculite. It makes the soil texture a lot better.

I still need a plan of attack though to correct the problem I have now though.


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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  jjlamb24 on Thu 29 Apr 2010 - 11:55

I have read that peat moss has a very low ph (3-4). Does anyone know if I can mix more this in to my soil to lower my ph?

If so, is there a way of telling how much I would need?



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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  desertkris on Thu 13 Sep 2012 - 9:56

My beds are also very alkaline, 8+, and have been for several years. I purchase compost in bulk from a local company and it is very alkaline – and aging hasn’t change that. I don’t want to use too much sulfur to lower the pH, because it can be harmful to mycorrhizal fungi. The plant growth has been so stunted that I don’t plan on planting anything again until I correct the problem – so I’m willing to take drastic measures.

I’m thinking about diluting phosphoric acid and giving that a try (once again, not using sulfuric because of the sulfur issue).
I’m also contemplating adding some form of acidic rock dust since most natural soils get their pH from the decomposition of the native rocks.
Any thoughts?


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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  CharlesB on Thu 13 Sep 2012 - 11:34

How did you both check the pH? Yourself or state ext?

My next question would be how do you water?

If you hand water you could start by adjusting the pH of the water you use. Water some plants with low pH water and some with regular. See if there is a difference with some of the plants.

You also say your garden didn't do as good as the neighbors. This may or may not be because of the pH. Did you see any pH indicative problems? Leaves wrong color, etc.? Pictures of the garden would help. Are you watering the same as the neighbor? Does the neighbor have a water timer, do you? What is the pH of your tap water? Does your neighbor have filtered water? What is their pH?


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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  littlejo on Thu 13 Sep 2012 - 11:53

I've just seen this post. This article says to use ammonium sulfer, for the fastest effect, works as soon as it gets wet.
You can add vinegar to your water, but it will only be a quick fix, for it will leach from the soil.
You could also use a tomato fertilizer, a liquid works fastest. It will help until the sulfer has time to work.
Compost that is done should have a more neutral #, at least my homemade does?


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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  rowena___. on Thu 13 Sep 2012 - 14:47

@CharlesB wrote:You also say your garden didn't do as good as the neighbors. This may or may not be because of the pH.

this is SUCH an important point and speaks to other gardening practices and results. the neighbor's garden might get a different amount of direct sunlight, or get it at different times of day--there might be a different wind pattern going around the house and other property structures, even the trees--for all you know, the neighbors are sneaking out at night and dousing the garden with miracle gro. Smile it is simply not useful to compare, unless the conditions are exactly the same, which in fact they NEVER are simply because our neighbors are located a bit north or south or east or west of us on the earth.


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Re: Alkaline Soil

Post  subsonic on Sat 15 Sep 2012 - 2:39

I use soil sulfur to acidify soil
I like azaleas and blueberries but live in SoCal so getting soil to lower in PH is a must to grow those. A handful twice a year is what it takes for each square

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Re: Alkaline Soil

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