Homemade PH Tester

Ever wondered how to test your soil and never had the time to figure out where your local county extension is — let alone have the time to get there? Well, here's a home test of soil that's useful if you just need to know the basics of how acid or alkaline your soil is.

Put enough skin of either red cabbage leaf or radish into a glass to make the water turn pink. Be sure to abrade the skin so that it releases that dye. The pinker the better.

Put about a half cup soil and a half cup water in a separate glass and stir it up well. Let it sit for about a half hour to settle and steep. Take an eyedropper full of the soil water and add it, a drop at a time to the cabbage or radish water. If it turns red, your soil is acid, blue-green — your soil is alkaline. If it stays pink — neutral.

Some plants are excellent indicators of soil PH. Take Hydranga's for instance, they'll be bright pink or red where the soil leans to acid, and pretty blue-green where the soil is more alkaline. Strawberries do well in acid soils while snapdragons hate it.

PH factors are quite important in a gardener's life — so a home test seems to be just the ticket to help the harried gardener cope. Happy testing!

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