Soil pH for Vegetables


The quality of your soil for growing vegetables, or anything for that matter, is very important. Water alone will not necessarily bring a good yield. Before planting your seeds or seedlings, its a good idea to check the pH of your soil.   Almost all vegetables prefer well-drained soil, rich in organic matter and a little on the acid side.  In fact, the preferred pH for almost all vegetables is 5.5 to 6.5 pH.

ph-meterYou can often have a local nursery test your soil for you, or you can purchase a variety of soil testing kits or a pH meter.

Soil Test Kit

When the pH is determined adjustments may be made in order to raise or lower the acidity of your soil. Usually soils in wet climates are acid and soils in dry climates are alkaline. A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil and one with a pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline.

To increase your pH by 1.0 point and make your soil more alkaline.

* Add 4 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in sandy soils
* Add 8 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in loamy soils
* Add 12 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in clay soils
* Add 25 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in peaty soils

It is better to test your soil each year and make your adjustments gradually. The addition of hardwood ash, bone meal,  or crushed oyster shells will also help to raise the soil pH.

To reduce the soil pH by 1.0 point.

* mix in thoroughly before planting 1.2 oz of ground rock sulfur per square yard if
the soil is sandy or
* mix in 3.6 oz per square yard for all other soils.
Sawdust, composted leaves, wood chips, leaf mold and especially peat moss, will lower the soil pH.

The following is a list showing the desired pH level for vegetables.

Beans – 6.0 to 6.5
Celery – 6.0 to 6.5
Cole Crops – 6.0 to 6.8
•    Broccoli
•    Brussels Sprouts
•    Cabbage
•    Cauliflower
•    Kohlrabi
Corn – 5.8 to 6.8tomato-plant
Eggplant – 5.5 to 6.0
Greens – 6.0 to 6.5
•    Corn Salad
•    Lettuce
•    Swiss Chard
•    Spinach
•    Upland Cress
Okra – 5.5 to 6.0
Onions – 5.5 to 6.5
Peas – 5.8 to 7.0
Peppers – 5.5 to 6.0
Potatoes – 4.5 to 6.5
Root Crops – 6.0 to 6.8
•    Beets
•    Carrots
•    Parsnips
•    Radishes
•    Rutabagas
•    Turnips
Tomatoes – 6.0 to 6.5
Vine Crops – 6.0 to 6.8
•    Cucumbers
•    Melons
•    Pumpkins
•    Squash

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