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Soil pH and its Effect on Your Garden

Category: Gardening Articles | Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:57 pm

As you may have observed from your gardening experiences plants can be fussy things. The right location, amount of sunlight and 101 other factors influence your plant's growing ability. One factor which is very beneficial in understanding before putting that new plant into the earth is soil pH.

What is Soil pH?

Let's get all scientific for a moment and learn what pH is. In chemistry pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a solution is. Okay chemistry lesson over. Basically soil pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Soil pH is measured on a scale of 1 to 14. If your soil has a pH value of less than 7 then you have acidic soil. On the other hand if your soil has a pH value of greater than 7 then you have alkaline soil. A pH value of 7 is neutral, meaning you have neither acidic or alkaline soil.

The Effect of Soil pH on Plants

Knowing the pH value of your soil before planting is very important as it has a direct influence on the health of the plant. Each plant has its own recommended soil pH value range. The reason for this is that soil pH effects the availability of nutrients within the soil and plants have different nutrient needs. For example the nutrient nitrogen, a very important plant nutrient, is readily available in soil when the pH value is above 5.5. Similarily the nutrient phosphorous is available when the pH value is between 6 and 7. If a plant is placed into the wrong kind of soil it will be lacking in nutrients that it needs which will promote disease. In general the best pH value range for soil is approximately 6 or 7 as this is the range in which most nutrients can be readily available.

Finding Out pH of Soil

Finding out the pH of soil is usually a trivial matter and the kits to do so should be available at most good garden centres. Usually a pH testing kit will include a small container / test tube, testing solution and a color chart. A sample of soil is taken from your garden, placed into the container / test tube and a few drops of testing solution are added. The container is then shaken and left for a certain period of time. The color of the sample in the container is then compared against the color chart to determine the pH value of the soil. Note that if you want to determine the soil pH of an large area it may be a good idea to take soil samples from many different locations, combine the samples and then perform the test on the combined sample.

A quick way to find out the pH of an area is to look to see if there are any house hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) already growing in the area. If so observe the color of its flowers. A soil pH of 6 or below will produce blue flowers while a soil pH of 6.8 or higher will produce pink flowers.

How to Make Soil More Alkaline (Increase pH)

If your soil is acidic or slightly acidic you can take steps to make it more alkaline to accommodate the plants you want to put there. You can make your soil more alkaline (increase its pH value) by adding a form of lime. Lime is a compound of calcium or calcium and magnesium. It is usually applied in the form of ground agricultural limestone, burnt lime or hydrated lime (slaked lime). The smaller the limestone particles then the quicker your soil will become more alkaline. For this reason hydrated lime will offer the quickest performance because it is slightly soluble in water so it can permeate the soil quicker and reduce acidity faster.

Increasing the pH of your soil is not an overnight process and it is best to allow 2-3 months to allow the lime to neutralize the acidity of the soil acidity.

How to Make Soil More Acidic (Decrease pH)

Some ornamental plants and fruit plants like blueberries require an acidic soil. To make your soil more acidic (decrease its pH value) you can use either aluminium sulphate or sulphur. Aluminium sulphate is the quickest acting as it will increase the acidity as soon as it disolves into the soil. The downsides are though that its effects can be short term and it is possible to over-apply it.

The more recommended but slower way to increase your soil pH is to use sulphur. Sulphur converts to sulphuric acid with the help of bacteria in the soil but this takes time depending on factors like the presence of bacteria, texture of the soil and moisture levels. This could take months if conditions are not ideal.


Remember to always take into account soil pH when deciding what to plant in your soil. If you do not know what the pH of your soil is then test your soil and if needs be take steps mentioned earlier to change the pH value over time. Best of luck!

This blog entry has been viewed 96185 times

What is a Blog?

Category: Blogs Information | Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:40 am

For those of you new to the world of blogs here are some definitions of the what a blog is:

- The word blog is derived from the combination of the two words, web and log. Blogs are virtual diaries created by individuals and stored on the Internet.

- A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging" and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger." Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. ( )

- A weblog or internet diary. Weblogs enable users to publish short comments and ideas instantly for other people to read. Blogging can be an effective communications tool for small groups of people to keep in touch with each other.

A list of all our lovely blogs at can be found here. :)

Last edited: Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:33 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 3980 times

How To Get Visitors To Your Blog

Category: Blogs Information | Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:03 am

Think of the following situation :- You've started your spanking new blog and begin writing spiffing entries crammed with information. Everythings ok in the world. EXCEPT you now need people to actually find it and read it so they can interact with your blog. "But how can I get people to visit my blog" you may ask. Well just for you here are some great ways to get more eyes on your precious blog:

* Word of mouth - I'll start with a simple one - let your friends know about it. They'll be dead impressed and insanely jealous :) Word of mouth can work wonders you know, online and offline.

* Get links - As your blog is online a lot of visitors can be got by getting lots and lots of lovely links from other websites. Know someone who has a website? Drop them a mail letting them know and maybe they will be happy to give you a link.

* Search engines - Search engines like Google and Yahoo can provide you with tons of visitors if they like your blog. Writing entries with lots of useful and descriptive content is one way to do this. Search engines love content that is valuable to other people. Write nice decriptive titles for all of your blog entries. For example if you are posting photos from your holiday in Dublin, Ireland than rather than calling the entry "Photos" be descriptive and call it "Photos from my holiday in Dublin, Ireland". That way someone searching for photos of Dublin will find your blog.

* Forum signatures - If you are a member of any other forums sometimes you can sometimes place a link into your signature (the text that appears under every post you make). This is a perfect place to add a link to your blog.

* Email - Send an email to any of your friends that may be interested to read your blog.

* Post on the forum - Everytime you make a post on the forums you will see a link appear that points to the last blog entry that you wrote. Posting more often on the forums will greatly increase the chances that someone will read your post and follow the link to your blog. Once they read your blog once they will be hooked and will return again and again.

* Write a great blog - If you write an excellent quality blog you will appear higher than other GardenStew blogs on the blogs page because your blog will get more views. Since you will appear higher than the other blogs in the lists you will get more people who will click on your blog.

These are great ways to build up a really popular blog. And let me tell you a popular blog is a very satisfying achievement. It will become an extension of yourself :)

Good luck!!!

This blog entry has been viewed 8250 times

101 things to do with a Blog

Category: Blogs Information | Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:13 pm

Well not quite 101 things listed here but If you start a Blog you will quickly notice that you can do so much with it, very simply. I've compiled a quick list of some examples of what you can do with your blog. Remember it is just like a journal or diary so anything that you can do with those can be achieved in your blog.

* Use it to offer a daily insight into the coherent mess which is your life ;) It's amazing how others can find even the most mundane details exceptionally interesting.

* Keep track of what you planted in the garden and when. Compile little lists and place them into your blog to easily track them down in the future.

* Use it as your own personal website that you can tell others about. Add a bunch of your favourite links for others to visit.

* Post images of your favourite plants, animal, destinations, project, etc... For example, been away on holiday to Greece? Simply create a new category called My Trip to Greece and write entries about your marvelous trip including photos! All in one tidy place. Who needs clutter :)

Of course there is so much more, the only limit is your imagination really. For more details about Blogs click here. I'm loving it!

This blog entry has been viewed 1170 times

Welcome to my blog!!

Category: | Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 12:32 am

Well I'd like to offer all visitors to a warm welcome to my very own personal blog. And I am ecstatic to say that my blog is hosted at... yes you guessed it -!! :)

Recently I have been slaving away at making it possible for each and every member of this site to start their very own blog. Now it is possible and I invite everybody to start one of their own. In case you are thinking to yourself "But it looks complicated" please let me assure you that it couldn't be easier! For a better explanation follow this link What is a Blog?

In this blog I will be offering support to others using the blogs by answering frequently asked questions and other queries. So feel free to ask questions at the Suggestions / Comments / Help forum and I will answer them here.

I hope you will all stick around for the journey. It should be a great ride!!!

This blog entry has been viewed 1193 times

What is a Blog?

Category: | Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 12:25 am

Ever dream about a place where you could share your home, gardening or personal experiences with an audience of millions without the hassle of creating a website? Well look no further, a GardenStew blog is just the ticket.

A blog is like an online diary that you can use to write about your daily experiences and subjects that interest you. Writing a blog is free, fun and easy. In fact you may not even have been aware of it but are reading my blog right now, pretty cool huh!

Whereas the GardenStew forums are shared by the public, your blog on the other hand is your own personal space that you have total control over and can write about whatever you want, whenever you want to.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Features of a Blog:

* It's your own personal space. Write about what you want, when you want to!
* It's free and very easy to use.
* Your blog can be set up and running within minutes.
* Visitors to your blog can comment on what you write.
* Visitors to the website will be able to find your blog easily.
* View your blog entries by category or date to allow you to easily find entries you have written.
* Create unlimited categories to organise your blog entries.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To start a blog you first need to register as a member. Once registered click on your Start a Blog link and follow the steps provided.

happy blogging!!!

This blog entry has been viewed 2597 times

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