Have you noticed that your garden soil is a tad bit high on the alkaline content? Gardening in limey soil such as this can present a few unique problems if you don't know what to do. Luckily there are a few simple steps that you can take to help make the whole situation a bit easier. Best of all, there are both organic, and non-organic methods that you can use depending on your gardening philosophy.
- Get your soil tested. Before you start attempt to do any type gardening, you need to know what the current pH balance of your soil is. If you already know that you are gardening in limey soil, this will tell you how much work or additives you will need to use to get it back within the proper range. You can usually purchase test kits that you can use to do your own pH testing at the local county extension office, or at many home gardening centers. Be sure that you completely understand, and follow, the direction that come with the kit to ensure you get proper results.
- Compost. A very effective method for lowering the alkaline content of limey soil is to add some compost. Granted, this method means that you have to start a compost pile, and that can take a while before it is ready. When the compost is ready, simply add some to the area that you wish to garden in, and till it under. Wait about a week, and then test the alkaline content again to ensure that it is within the proper range.
- Peat moss. Another very effective organic method for treating high alkaline content is to add peat moss. Peat moss is something that can be purchased at most, if not all, gardening centers. Use the same process described above for adding the peat moss. Once again, make sure that you wait a week before doing any planting to make sure that the alkaline content has truly been brought down.
- Sulfur isn't always bad. If you don't mind using some chemicals, and going the non-organic route, then you can always use some gardening sulfur to help reduce the alkalinity of your soil. This material can be purchased from many, if not all, gardening centers and nurseries so it isn't all that difficult to find. Typically all you need to do is spread the sulfur evenly over the soil you will be gardening in, and then tilled under. That being said, be sure that you carefully read the directions that come with the material so that you don't use too much, or too little depending on the recommendations of the manufacturer.
- Use some high acidic fertilizers. Another non-organic method that you can use is fertilizers that are more acidic than what you may normally like to use. Typically, these fertilizers will be things like ammonium sulfate, diammonium phosphate, urea and ammonium nitrate, and other similar fertilizers.
- Test regularly. Which ever method you end up using, make sure that you periodically retest the soil for it's pH level. If there are any major changes, or it gets outside of the proper range, you will need to make adjustments. That really shouldn't be a problem though if you mix the nutrients into the soil properly.
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