What is Soil PH:
PH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline the soil is. It is on a scale of 1-14 with 1 being most acidic and 14 being most alkaline.
Why it Matters and What Should My Soil PH Be?
PH levels matter because certain plants thrive in more acidic or more alkaline based soils. A simple search online will give you all the detail of what type of plants your soil is best suited for but in New Zealand we have a slightly acidic soil structure which suits most fruit trees and vegetables. Accuracy isn’t a major issue if it’s within 1.0 numeral in the PH scale the plants will be able to adapt to the soil type
How to Change Soil PH Levels?
Soil PH levels are changed through additives. This can be done through two ways:
- Organic Media (such as compost)
The Difference between Organic Media and Fertilizers:
For Residential and small scale gardening, it is likely that organic media is best suited for your needs. This is because adding compost helps condition the soil and through this provides a long-term solution and source of nutrients to the plants. Organic media is also sustainable, renewable, and bio-degrable which equates to an environmentally friendly product. A disadvantage to Organic media is that if you are making a compost at home it can be hard to achieve an accurate and precise PH level unless done on a large scale.
How Much Fertilizer Do I Need?
The amount of fertilizer you need depends on the current soil and the type of soil. A sandy and silty requires less fertiliser where as a clay or a soil type with a lot of organic media requires more. This is because the organic media holds the nutrients better, as opposed to a sandy or silty soil type has a fast through put of water which means the speed of the fertilizer goes through is much faster.
Once Fertilizers are applied simple testing of the soil should be done on an ongoing basis to track the PH level as fertilizers can shift the PH level over time, especially in the first year of application. Changes mainly happen depending on watering, release stage of fertilizers, and amount applied.