Gardening In Limey Acidic Soil

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated August 2, 2021)


Once you have figured out what plants you want to use, where you want the garden, and all those other little details, all you have to do is start your garden. Unfortunately, there is one problem that many people find themselves faced with at this point in time, and that is a soil problem. One of the more common types of these problems is trying to figure out how to make gardening in limey acidic soil work. There are a few ways that you can do that, but you will need to do a bit of work, or at the very least change your mind about what you are planting.

  • Test the soil. Before you start gardening in any kind of soil, you need to know what you are working with. This means that you need to know exactly what the current pH level of your soil is, so you will need to test it. You can do this by either taking a few samples of your soil into the local county extension office, or purchasing a home test kit at your local nursery or garden center. If you are going to do the test yourself, make sure that you completely understand the instructions, and that you have read them fully before you start.
  • Add some peat moss. An effective method to make your garden soil a bit less acidic, and making it a little easier gardening in limey acidic soil is to add some peat moss. All you really need to do is purchase some of this gardening material from your local home improvement, gardening center, or nursery and mix it in with your gardening soil. The easiest way to do this is by pouring it over the soil, and then tilling it under with a rototiller. Once you have done that you will want to test your soil again in about a week to ensure that it is within the proper range that you want.
  • Use a little compost. A really effective method for gardening in limey acidic soil is to add some compost to the mix, in much the same way that you do with peat moss. However, since compost doesn't come in prepackaged boxes (unless you buy the commercially made fertilizer) you will end up having to make the compost over the space of a few months. As with the peat moss, mix the compost into your soil using a rototiller, and then wait a week to test the soil again.
  • Use the right plants. One option that you have is to use plants that are actually suited to acidic alkaline soils. While this may not be an effective idea when planting a vegetable garden, it can be very effective in planting your landscaping or a flower garden. The plants that are best for this type of soil can usually be found in the Pacific Northwest area of the United States, and include things like asilbes, bergenia, bleeding heart, fox glove, bugleweed, and even azaleas. There is a very wide selection of plants that you can choose from.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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2015-10-21 11:33:55


Re compost - remember normal bought-in compost will almost certainly have had lime added to it - so it's ericaceous compost - or home made being careful about the additives used.
Maybe use fir-tree bark to acidify the compost - but that needs another year in the compost pile.
Make a raised bed - excavate about 6" of the alkaline soil, line the hole with a sheet of (cheap) plastic - and make a few holes in the bottom to avoid the area becoming a bog, unless you actually want an environment for acid loving bog plants.
Then fill the hole and heap about 12" more on-top of that - many acid leaving plants have reasonably shallow roots.
Then - decide - will you have enough rainwater or limescale free mains water to keep the area moist during the hot days as things like blueberries do not like any dry periods, and most won't like a two week drought. although lilies do like being dry rather than sodden.
And remember if the surrounding soil is very alkaline (limed, chalk lumps, or old cement) you will need to avoid too much water flow from that into the plastic lined area you have created for the raised bed area - maybe a drainage channel to guide excess water away from the acidic area.
That considered - if you like lilies grow them in tubs of ericaceous compost and repot annually using the old compost to top-up, or even expand the raised bed.
Maybe even grow some larger shrubs in bottomless tubs - but make a sump to hold water about 12" down corner of a thick plastic bag, or a plant saucer- so when you water in the summer the water doesn't drain straight through, but the plant can put roots down the side of the sump

So many things to learn to make growing acid lovers work in a limey area. - including not using general fertiliser if it has lime or chalk materials in it


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