Take an extra 10% off digital pH and EC meters through Thursday, Aug. 1.
We carry Hanna and Bluelab meters for measuring pH and/or EC. They're essential for keeping an accurate gauge of the pH and EC content in your soil or nutrient solution.
Here are our two favorite methods for checking soil pH:
You can get to the root of a lot of plant issues by checking pH.
Some plants are much pickier about pH than others, but generally, most flowers, vegetables and fruits grow best in a pH of 6.1 to 6.9.
The incorrect pH can mess with the availability of nutrients. When pH rises above 6.5, some nutrients, such as phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper and zinc, become less available. When pH drops below 6.5, manganese can be too high for some plants.
Testing your soil pH isn't hard. Here's the two methods we use the most often:
Method 1 (best for container plants)
1. Using distilled water, spray the soil in its pot until water drips out the bottom, wetting the soil throughout the pot.
2. Wait two hours to let the soil equilibrate.
3. After two hours, place a tray under the pot to collect water that drains out of the pot.
4. Pour distilled water into the soil, displacing the water that's been equilibrating in the pot, which will drain into the tray. Pour through enough water so that about 50 ml drains out into the tray.
5. Measure the pH of the leachate in the tray using either a meter or a liquid pH test kit ($6.75), both of which we sell in the store.
Method 2 The slurry
1. Take a sample of soil from a few sites around your garden bed by digging down a few inches and scooping out around 1 tbsp of soil.
2. Mix all of these samples together.
3. Take a 1 tbsp subsample of soil and put it into an empty cup.
4. Mix in 3 tbsp distilled water.
5. Stir for 30 seconds.
6. Let it sit for approximately a minute.
7. Stir again for 30 seconds.
8. Wait another minute.
9. Measure the pH of the slurry using either a meter or a liquid pH test kit
Once you know if your pH is too high or too low, there are a lot of ways to adjust it, depending on your plants, your site and a whole host of other factors. We're always here to walk you through what options might be best for your application.
You can find guidance on plants' preferred pH ranges in Cornell's home gardening guides.