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Posted By: Plant Magic

Common Soil Problems…Alkaline and Acidic Soils

Are you trying to grow your plants?

Have you noticed a lack of nutrients?

Are your plants underdeveloped?

Should you notice that your plants aren’t growing as well as they should be, it is worth checking the pH levels of your soil. pH levels range on a scale of 1 to 14 with 7 being neutral, values below 7 being acidic, and values above 7 being alkaline.

Hydroponic nutrient solutions are great ways to address nutrient issues in your soil, making sure that you can easily dedicate your time to growing flowers or other plants.


Testing Your Soil’s pH Levels

A hand holding soil and a plant

Testing your soil’s pH levels can be done by using a soil testing kit and with samples from around your garden, as pH levels vary across the soil. Areas that have been recently treated with compost, fertiliser, or other components shouldn’t be used so that you have a representative sample.

Removing any debris from your soil, a required quantity should be placed in the tube provided before adding the chemical solution. Shake the tube and proceed to wait until all particles in the soil settle and the liquid clears. Compare the colour of the liquid against the provided chart to know which pH your soil has.

If you don’t have a soil testing kit, you can test it easily with common household items. Vinegar and baking soda are simple methods to use that provide quick and easy-to-read results. This test follows the basics of soil testing kits, with samples from different areas of your garden being combined and placed in two different bowls.

  • To know if your soil is alkaline: Mix around a cup of soil with all samples with distilled water until the soil acquires a liquid mud consistency. Pour vinegar over the mixture and, should it fizz, your soil is alkaline.
  • To know if your soil is acidic: Mix around a cup of soil with all samples with distilled water in another bowl until you see the same consistency as above. Add baking soda to the mixture and, should it bubble, your soil is acidic.
  • What if there is no reaction? If neither the vinegar or the baking soda cause any reactions, then your soil is neutral.


My Soil is Alkaline, What Should I do?

Alkaline soil is common in semi-arid and arid climates and in clay soils, where rainfall is low, and chemicals and salts tend to build up. It typically contains high levels of magnesium, sodium, and calcium, and nutrients are often limited. This leads to nutrient deficiency in plants and their underdeveloped growth.

Having an alkaline soil will require continuous monitoring once a year, to ensure that the pH levels are adequate and that you can amend them. Plants that tolerate an alkaline soil are, for example, lettuce, beets, asparagus, and parsley. A component such as Platinum - Premium PK 9-18 contains sulphur, which aids in balancing your soil.


My Soil is Acidic, What Should I do?

A spade digging in soil

If there is insufficient drainage in the soil, a high amount of rainfall causing a natural leaching to occur, or a heavy use of fertilizers with high nitrogen concentration, you may find that your soil is acidic. Acidic soils can contain high levels of manganese, a toxic component to plants, or aluminium, having a magnesium and calcium deficiency. Using a magnesium and calcium product such as the Magne-Cal + will help to correct any plant magnesium deficiency.

Poor bacterial growth also causes your soil to be acidic, as the absence of good bacteria causes soil fertility issues. Plants that tolerate acidic soils are, for example, apples, potatoes, blueberries, and raspberries.

Do you need expert information and products to keep your soil’s pH levels balanced? Just get in touch with us on 01695 554 080 or browse our website to see our wide range of products ideal for your plant growing needs.

Our Blog: Hydroponic Tips & Tricks

Whether you are an expert who already has a thriving crop of healthy plants, or you are trying to grow your very first hydroponic yield, we can help you to grow the strong and healthy crops you have always wanted.

Here at Plant Magic Plus, our team of gardening experts work very hard behind the scenes to provide you with the high quality nutrients, additives and growing media that will help you to get the most out of your growing plants.

But we understand that successful horticulture is about more than just having good quality chemicals, nutrients or fetilisers, that's why we have written this blog to provide you with the insights, tips and techniques you will need to give your garden that extra magic touch.

From helpful advice about watering your plants in soil and a guide to magnesium nutrients, to top tips about growing hydroponic vegetables and a comprehensive overview of microbes, we’ve got everything covered.


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