When growing organically in soil with either a super soil or living soil technique it is extremely important to keep your soil ph at the right levels so that the microorganisms can thrive and break down the nutrients in the soil for optimal plant growth. The range for organic soil should be between 6.2 and 6.8 slightly acidic almost neutral. I try to shoot for the sweet spot in the middle at 6.5.
This then begs the question, how do I test my soil?
There are a few methods to test this varying in accuracy.
The basic alkalinity/acidity test. This will just tell you if your soil is alkaline, acidic, or neutral. First take two samples of your soil of the same amount and place in sperate containers. Make a small hole in the center in both using your finger and then put in just enough distilled water to fill the small hole. After adding the water sprinkle some baking soda in one container right into the hole. If it fizzes the soil is too acidic. If nothing happens the soil is alkaline or close to neutral. In the second container poor a small amount of white distilled vinegar in the hole you created. If it fizzes the soil is too alkaline. If nothing happens the soil is close to neutral or acidic. Compare both tests. If nothing happened in either test then your soil is close to neutral. This basic test does not give you an accurate ph but it can tell you if your soil is beyond healthy ranges of acidity or alkalinity.
The slurry test. This one requires a ph pen/meter for water or a ph strip. You mix a ratio of 1 part soil to 1 or 1.5 parts distilled water in a container. Mix it, stir it, or put a top on and shake it then let it settle. This works best if you mix it a few times. Wait 15 minutes or so after the last mix for everything to settle and then use your pen or ph strip. The reading you get should give you an approximate ph of the soil you are using. This is more accurate than the basic test but it isn’t precise.
Use a soil ph meter. These are usually more expensive than a ph pen/meter for water but they are the most accurate you can get at home outside of having your soil lab tested. To use you need to first moisten your soil down to the point you will be testing. Just enough so the soil feels moist but not wet or water logged. Then you insert your meter and leave it for the recommended time from the manufacturer. Some nice digital meters will give you an instant reading, some can take a few minutes. Once the required time has elapsed check the reading on your meter. This should give you a fairly accurate reading of your soil’s ph.
Hope this information helps some of you guys. Happy growing.