How to Test Your Soil's pH - Homemade Soil Test

Wondering if your soil is alkaline or acidic? Well....without doing extensive testing, here are ways to get an idea of your soil's pH. Remember - to get an accurate pH and makeup of your soil, you will need to submit samples to your local extension office for them to send to their labs (the most common way) or you can test through a home soil test kit.

Alkaline: Take a soil sample that will be about 2 cups of your soil and add a couple of drops of cider vinegar over the top. If it fizzes, you have alkaline soil. To reduce the alkalinity, add organic matter high in acid such as aluminum sulfate or peat moss - both are available at your local hardware store such as True Value & Ace Hardware. Follow the directions on the aluminum sulfate label, but general info is to add about 5 lbs. of either to 100 square feet.

Acid: Take a soil sample of about 2 cups of your soil. For this test, soil should be wet so after a rainfall would be a good time to do this test. Over the top of the soil, sprinkle baking soda (only enough to get a result - a pinch may be fine). If it fizzes up then the soil may be too acidic for basic gardening plants including vegetable plants. 

To lower the acidity, mix into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil approximately 4 to 8 lbs. of dolomite lime per 100 square feet (amount depends on how dense your soil is). 

Have fun using these 2 tricks to test your soil's acidity and alkalinity. soil test kits available here at Greenwood Nursery.