Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday gardening tip! - pH!

Welcome to the inaugural Monday Gardening Tip Post!

With so many people looking to their own gardens for food, I figured now was a great time to start to give people some pointers on their garden.

Most gardeners know that their plants need lots of nitrogen, and many also recognize the importance phosphorous and potassium. Those are the 3 major nutrients identified on a fertilizer bag's number 5-5-5 or 5% of each of the three major nutrients. However, there are dozens of smaller nutrients that your plants need and the ability of the plant to process any of them is determined by the pH of your soil. Most vegetables preform best at a pH somewhere between 5.5 and 7. Many people give 6 as an ideal soil pH for plants. In a home garden it is often better to aim for the middle rather then fuss with the pH of individual small areas but here is a list of preferred pH ranges. A simple and inexpensive home pH test will give you accurate results.

Before you spend a ton of money on fertilizers take a look at your pH. The chart to the right shows how much soil pH affects nutrient uptake.

Also if you are looking at putting in berry bushes, look at the pH requirements of their soil and amend it to change BEFORE you plant. Your plants will thank you for years.

Whether your soil pH is to high or to low your local garden center can give you recommendations on making it just right.

Your plants will thank you.

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