My garden soil is being quite uncooperative. Several years ago when I had it tested, the pH was about 7.7. It needs to be about 6.5. I had been adding acidifier, pouring whey around plants, adding organic matter.
My okra is struggling – everything else is doing ok but remember last year’s garden was a flop. A few weeks ago, I got my little pH meter out and checked the soil and it was right at 8. Not good. I sent off a soil sample to A&M and got back the results Monday. The pH is 8.1. How, after all the work I’ve done to bring it down, as it gone up? Where’s acid rain when I need it?
The problem is that our soil has lots of lime – there’s limestone everywhere. Our water, though it tastes fine, has a very high pH and with all the watering I do out there, the high pH of the water seems to be winning over everything I’m doing to bring down the pH.
After getting the soil results, I went down to the ag store, showed the very helpful guy there my results and I came home with liquid iron for spraying the foliage, sulfur, slow release fertilizer and . . dog food!
I guess unless I can get that pH down substantially, I can forget ever having much of a blueberry crop, of much of any crop for that matter if it stays around 8. Frustrating!
Other places I’ve lived, the pH was too low and we had to add lime or something similar to raise the pH. That seemed a whole lot easier than trying to bring it down, especially when the water is working against us, but that’s what happens when you live where there’s so much limestone.
The guy at the garden center recommended using peat moss. I had never heard that. He said get as much as I can afford, spread it out as thick as possible and till it in several week before planting in the spring. I’m more comfortable doing that than I am using iron and sulfur but for now, I’m using iron and sulfur. Next spring, we’ll add peat moss and hope for a lower pH.
We have a couple of fruit trees that are suffering and I added sulfur to them yesterday and had to put up a barricade to hopefully keep the chickens from eating all the pelletized sulfur. Since I can only spray the iron foliage spray in the evening, I’ve done most of the garden, and about 1/3 of the fruit trees. Even the lemon trees in pots that were planted in well balanced potting soil have a high pH because of the water.
Some days it seems that between the hail, too much water, too much dry, grasshoppers and pH, I’m better off sitting inside knitting instead of trying to grow anything around here. I don’t ever want to be without a garden but having one here sure isn’t easy but I guess having a garden anywhere isn’t easy!
I only know peat moss from flower soil. It is in lots of flower soils in Germany. The problem is when peat moss dries out you will never get it wet again, so the soil around the plants is even more dry.
I just watched a you tube video that said it’s best to plant blueberry bushes in a fifteen-inch frost-prof terra cotta pot and use potting soil for azaleas, which they called ericaceous, I think, meaning it’s acidic, and fertilize them a fertilizer labeled ericaceous. I think the point was that they should be treated like you would treat azaleas, since they need similar soil and conditions.
I have decided to get my bushes soon and follow those instructions. It seems like a lot of special effort but blueberries are our favorite so it’s worth trying.
I hope you get your plants to produce!
Lace Faerie (Karen Lawson) says
Coffee grounds are acidic. We have several Starbucks in our county that save coffee grounds for gar,den composting. I apply them straight, without composting under my hydrangea and blueberry bushes.
We have a Starbucks here that will save coffee grounds but it’s far enough from my house that I probably wouldn’t go when I was supposed to go pick them up. Vince saves his coffee grounds and we put them around the blueberry bushes but I think we probably need way more than we’re getting so I may have to try getting them from Starbucks.