By Howard Young
Even though I planted my Blueberry bush in acidic soil last year, the nutrients extracted by the plant caused the soil to turn alkaline causing most of the leaves to turn reddish and fall off. Adding coffee grounds and organic compost brought the pH down to a good value and the plant started thriving again.
While this year I don't think I'll get an abundance of fruit, it's good to know that my Blueberry bush will survive another season if I continue to monitor and test the soil.
Before we started using ph soil meters it was hit and miss to keep our plants growing. Our Azaleas often turned brown and die even with proper watering. It was just that our soil around our house was alkaline and was killing our plants.
Frankly, I didn't know that we had to monitor the soil so carefully in order for some of our plants to grow. It wasn't until we bought some acid loving plants a nursery, where they highly recommended planting them in their potting mix and to continue to add the compost every three months to help with the nutrients, I put two and two together.
Fortunately, testing the soil pH is much easier than it was in Biology where you dipped litmus paper in the solution to see what color the paper would turn. While you can still use this method to sample a soil mix with distilled water, a pH meter with a soil/root probe gives you a digital reading.
Just stick it in the ground near the root system and you have a reading that tells you if your soil is acidic or alkaline. That's exactly how to test the ph of Soil.
There are several pH testers on the market that yield the information, except that I really like that fact that the Luster Leaf 1840 by Rapitest comes with a booklet of proper pH levels for about 400 plants and how to solve your soil problem. The $20 meter will save you in the long run with healthier plants that you can enjoy year long.