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How to Do a Soil pH Test at Home

It’s no secret that soil is the most important part of the garden. Not only does it create healthy plants, or lead to their demise, but it is also full of information that can help us grow a better garden. This at-home soil pH test will give you a general idea of the pH of your soil. If you want to find out the exact pH level, you will need a test kit.Test your soil pH at home with ingredients from your kitchen

Materials:

  • Distilled Water (because it has a neutral pH. You can use regular water, but it could affect the outcome)
  • White vinegar (an acid)
  • Baking soda (a base or alkaline)
  • A bowl and spoon

Let’s Test Soil!

Scoop up a small amount of soil from an area in your garden.DIY soil pH test

Mix in a bit of water to the soil: enough to make a loose mud.DIY soil pH test: adding water to the soil

Pour a little bit of vinegar to the bowl. If it fizzes up, the soil is alkaline. As you can see, there was no fizz in my soil pH test, which would suggest that my soil is acidic.DIY soil pH test: adding vinegar

To double-check the results, grab another scoop of soil, wet it with the water and mix again. Then sprinkle baking soda in it and mix. If it fizzes, the soil is acidic.DIY soil pH test: adding baking soda

On the second soil pH test, my soil did fizz up, which means the soil is acidic.

You certainly do not have to perform both tests to determine the pH of your soil. Just one will suffice, but you can try both to confirm the results if you like. To be honest, I already knew that my soil is acidic, but in the name of garden science I had to confirm!

Now that you are armed with this basic knowledge about your soil, you can use it to do cool things like change the color of your hydrangea!How to Change Hydrangea Color

Comments

  1. Both tests fizzed mildly, neither had a strong response. I’d say the vinegar was the stronger of the two. I planted blue hydrangea and I’d like them to stay blue (or purple). I don’t want pink. Will my soil be ok? Do I need to take action?

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, can you try the test again? It shouldn’t fizz in both, it reacts to one or the other (or neither). If your soil is neutral they should stay blue. If you have alkaline soil and they start to turn pink, then you can start amending the soil in the following season. It won’t happen immediately, so you have time to figure it out.

      Reply
  2. I have a question. I use a ph balancer when I water my plants because I know my water is acidic. If I need to add water to the soil, should I adjust the ph of the water first and then add it to the soil?

    Reply
    • Hi Ashley, that could work, but I tend to go more to the end of working with the soil that you have. I choose the plants that thrive in the soil I have naturally and so I have less work and effort to grow a healthy garden.

      Reply

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