How to Test Soil PH

Overview

The best way to care for your garden and soil is to perform a pH test to determine how much alkaline or acid is in the soil. The pH test will help figure out what nutrients are missing from your soil and what you must add to make it healthy. The test will also help you to know whether or not you need less or more potassium, phosphorus or nitrogen. You can purchase a soil pH testing kit at your local gardening store or from any online garden store.

Step 1

Purchase a pH soil testing kit, which should include a small container, testing solution and color chart to help you determine the pH results. Carefully read the directions on the kit as you take out the testing solution.

Step 2

Use a small shovel and dig four or five holes in different around of the garden to test all the soil where you will be planting. Make sure the holes are at least 6 inches deep.

Step 3

Take a 1/2-inch slice of soil from the hole with your shovel and put it in the bucket. Do the same for all of the other holes. Mix the soil in a bucket and then spread it out on a newspaper.

Step 4

Collect a pint of the soil after it has dried and place in the testing container. Add the drops of testing solution as recommended on your kit package. Shake the container for at least 2 minutes to mix the solution with the soil thoroughly.

Step 5

Compare the color of the soil with the colors on the pH level chart. The number 1 color is reserved for the highest acidity and lowest alkalinity, and the number 14 color is for the lowest acidity and highest alkalinity.

Things You'll Need

  • pH soil testing kit
  • Small shovel
  • Bucket

References

  • Testing and Improving Your Soil
  • Soil Testing - Testing Your Garden Soil pH Level

Who Can Help

  • Soil pH and Test Kits
Keywords: test soil pH, pH kit, soil care

About this Author

Greg Lindberg is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in creative writing. His professional writing experience includes three years of technical writing for an agriculture IT department and a major pharmaceutical company, as well as four years as staff writer for a music and film webzine.