The pH level of your soil fluctuates greatly even on a day-to-day scale. Mother Nature is always affecting your soil’s pH level through rainfall or a lack thereof. As a result of this, it is important to test your soil regularly to be sure that its pH level is compatible with your crop growing objectives.
When measuring a soil’s pH level, it is important to take samples from various points in your garden or farm. The pH level of one particular small plot of soil can vary depending on the presence of rocks or other elements. Measure the pH level at various points on your land and take the average of all of them to have a better idea of your soil’s overall pH level.
There are a few different ways to test pH levels in soil. The most accurate but also most expensive route is to use an electronic pH meter. This is a device that is inserted into the soil and gives an accurate digital reading. If you want to do things a little more old school, you can use litmus paper. The downside of this method is that it doesn’t give you an exact pH reading, it merely tells you whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. Another method that produces the same two-toned result is the use of a barium sulphate testing kit. With this method, you mix a sample of soil with the barium sulphate and add water which changes color based on the soil’s acidity or alkalinity.
Advanced organic gardeners are able to make a strong educated guess regarding the pH level of their soil by making observations. The presence of yellowing leaves on plants is common of soil with too high of a pH level. The presence of the types of plants themselves is also indicative of your soil’s pH level; most plants can only grow when the soil is within a particular range on the pH scale. For example, the presence of a heather plant indicates a pH level of around 4.5 to 5.0 since this plant cannot thrive outside of these acidic conditions.