My Acidic Soil

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Markw

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My Acidic Soil
« on: April 08, 2015, 10:00 »
My soil on my plot at the allotment is neutral at about 6.5 ph, but at home it is a different kettle of fish. The soil is a silty clay with no stones what so ever and a ph of about 4.5, it does compact very easily. It has had a lot of compost and mature dug in over the last few years, I was thinking at trying some potatoes for the first time this year, can anyone recommend what else might grow well in it. Parsnips and carrots just dont like it !!!
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 10:03 by Markw »
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Hampshire Hog

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2015, 10:15 »
You should be ok with quite a few things what about beans of various sorts plus courgettes and sweet corn.
They will all welcome being planted in compost but you say you've improved soil. Also shouldn't have a problem with salad crops. The other thought is that sounds a very acidic Ph are you sure it is accurate might be worth testing with a chemical kit unless that's what you have already done.

Cheers HH
Keep digging

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Ivor Backache

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2015, 12:24 »
Neutral is ph 7.0 so your allotment is slightly acid. Not a problem, regular liming should maintain it.
Your home garden is another matter. It is effectively a dead soil. Have a look at the RHS site, this is about ph:-
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=239    With a ph of 4.5 you are   ;

Losing essential nutrients
Your phosphates are locked up
bacteria cannot  rot organic  matter.
You will need to lime now, I would use builder's lime because it is quicker acting. Ground limestone would take a year.

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3759allen

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2015, 17:23 »
good link to RHS.

if you can raise the PH a little then blueberries would be ok. i've spent a fortune on acid compost to grow them in, so it may be a good thing.

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JayG

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2015, 18:34 »
Your pH meter could be telling the truth, but given their reputation for inconsistency I'd want a second opinion from a chemical test kit before deciding what to do.

If it really is that acidic it is quite easy to raise the pH with lime - although you won't change it overnight it's a much better choice than trying to find crops which will thrive at those levels, because the vast majority of plants do best at a neutral or slightly acid pH, although it should be almost perfect for blueberries.
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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Markw

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2015, 18:39 »
Thanks Ivor for the recommendations, and I think I will put in some beans and some sweetcorn in as I am running out of space fast at the plot. The PH could be around 5. I have tested with a soil meter, and done a shake test to see what the soil is made up of. The Rhododendrons and Azaleas always do very well.

Allen I put one in last year, I think I will get another one this year as I do love Blueberry's, I did not grow on the area last year and have just left it to rest, I tried growing some things two years ago and they just would not grow. I think the only thing that was ok was a cabbage. 


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Markw

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2015, 18:48 »
Your pH meter could be telling the truth, but given their reputation for inconsistency I'd want a second opinion from a chemical test kit before deciding what to do.

Thanks JayG I did use a meter but I think I will get a kit at the weekend to double check it. It is funny up at the top of the hill the soil it is totally different.I think as I am at the bottom of the hill in the valy it used to be an old river bed the funny thing I can't work out is 8 ft down it is chalk !!!

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Yorkie

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2015, 21:19 »
I think you should also do the soil test at a depth of ??8" or ??2' -  certainly not from the surface soil.
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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Salmo

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2015, 10:12 »
A pH of 4.5 is probably as acid as you get. A pH of 5.0 is 10 X as acid as 6.0 and 4.0 is 10X more acid than that. I agree with others that you need to double check. I doubt if beans or sweetcorn will do any good.

The answer if you want to grow veg is to put on lots of lime. As mentioned hydrated builders line is very fine and quick action. Just check that there are no additives and be careful when putting it on as it blows about and can get in your eyes.

Before you change the soil be certain that you really want to. I am on a limestone soil and very envious of anyone who can grow blueberries, camellias and other lime hating plants without a lot of fuss in pots. Raised beds could be your solution, raising the pH in them but leaving the rest of your garden acid.

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Goosegirl

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2015, 13:29 »
Your pH meter could be telling the truth, but given their reputation for inconsistency I'd want a second opinion from a chemical test kit before deciding what to do.

Thanks JayG I did use a meter but I think I will get a kit at the weekend to double check it. It is funny up at the top of the hill the soil it is totally different.I think as I am at the bottom of the hill in the valy it used to be an old river bed the funny thing I can't work out is 8 ft down it is chalk !!!
It's probable that over hundreds of years the soil has been washed down the hill onto your valley soil, thus leaving a more alkaline soil on the hill top. Why yours is more acidic could be due to the growth of vegetation on the hillside that has altered it in some way.
Spring always comes when we sow the seeds of life.

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Markw

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Re: My Acidic Soil
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2015, 17:39 »
I will wait till the weekend and double check the ph. The Cranfield soil and Agrifood institute map has it down as soil type 14 freely draining very acidic sandy and loamy. fertility very low, (general cropping) little of this land is cropped extensive grazing.

Still a good website to have a play around with. http://www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 17:50 by Markw »



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