Most basic nutrients needed for plant growth are found in alkaline soils. Hence, soil pH affects plant growth. Here is how to raise pH in soil with baking soda for healthier plants.
Have you ever seen yellowish ill-looking plants? Such sight may leave you brainstorming on a possible list of sicknesses. But do you know there might be a totally different problem? Here is the thing; the plant is likely to be missing some crucial nutrients.
Most primary nutrients needed for plant growth survive in soils of a higher pH. Hence, it is vital to raise the soil pH once in a while. Baking soda is commonly used to raise the pH in soil. But how will you do it? Discover that by reading this article.
Why use baking soda
Baking soda, which is scientifically referred to as sodium bicarbonate, has multiple uses. Why should you use sodium bicarbonate? These are just a few of the reasons;
- Safe- no one would like to use an item that would compromise their health. But the good news is that sodium bicarbonate has been tested and proved to be safe for multiple uses. However, you should keenly follow the use instructions
- Highly reactive- as a product of sodium and bicarbonate, baking soda is highly reactive. Hence, you can expect faster results
- Multiple applications- baking soda can not only raise the soil pH but also act as herbicide and fungicide. Besides that, it can be a deodorant or used to whiten the teeth. It has quite many uses.
- Easily acquirable- as earlier stated, baking soda has multiple uses. Consequently, this makes it available in multiple shops and stores. Hence you can easily acquire it
- Affordable- unlike most other compounds, baking soda is quite cheap. With its ease in accessibility and affordability, then nothing can stop you from using it.
Benefits of baking soda in soil
There is a common proverbial statement that says, “killing two birds with a single stone.” That is precisely one does by using baking soda. Besides, raising pH, here are other benefits of using baking soda.
Helps to cure diseases- a particular study on the performance of sodium bicarbonate indicated that it could help cure foliar diseases on vegetables.
It acts as a fungicide- it sounds ridiculous, but baking powder has excellent powers to eradicate the possible fungi in the soil. Truthfully, fungi are the number cause of most diseases in plants. The baking powder disrupts the ion balance of the fungi hence causing them to collapse, resulting in their death.
Faster results- baking powder is made from a sodium metal, which is known to have a higher reactivity. Consequently, it raises the pH faster than you could expect. However, you should avoid using it in excess.
Acts as an herbicide- also, you do not need to keep struggling on how to do away with crabgrass. Besides lowering the soil pH, the baking powder creates an unconducive environment for the growth of crabgrass, among many other weed types.
Raise the soil pH- among all those benefits, sodium bicarbonate is much known to raise the soil pH.
How to raise pH in soil with baking soda
Having highlighted some of the benefits of using baking powder in the soil, the urgency of using it is likely to increase. In this section, I will highlight some of the most natural steps to cure the soil problems. Let’s get the ball rolling.
- Baking soda
- pH meter
Step 1- know the initial soil pH
The pH of the soil is measured on a scale of 1 to 14. The fact of the matter is different pH will work for different plants. That raises the need to be aware of the initial soil pH. How will you go about this? Get some soil on a cup and add some distilled water. Insert the pH meter in the cup with soil. Read the scale to get the measurements
Step 2- get baking soda ready
Caution- Please note when the soil pH was below 7, then you will need to discontinue the other steps and get vinegar or any other acidifier.
Add a gallon of water into a wide tin and place it aside. Carefully open the baking soda and avoid it, getting into your eyes. With a teaspoon, get 1 spoon of the baking powder to the tin with water. Stir the mixture gently until it is slightly homogenous.
Step 3- add the solution into the soil
After ensuring that the mixture is even, it is time to get in the most crucial step. Now, you can pour it to your farm. Are you wondering whether it will cover the whole garden? Sodium bicarbonate moves from the highly concentrated regions to areas of lower concentration in a process known as diffusion
Step-4- test the soil pH
After a period of one week, you can test the soil pH again. This should be done at least every day for a week. When the pH is not still satisfying, you can consider repeating this process.
While using baking powder, you should take note on the following things;
- The testing soil should be taken from a depth of 4 inches
- Without a pH meter, take the sample soil and add 1 teaspoon of the baking soda, when it produces foam, then your soil is alkaline. But when nothing happens, the soil is neutral and needs to be added to some sodium bicarbonate. On the other hand, in case of fizzling the soil is acidic and still needs sodium bicarbonate
- Baking powder should not come in contact with your eyes. In case, wash your hands with water and visit the doctor immediately
How to raise pH in soil fast
Still, there are other simple procedures to raise the pH of the soil. Moreover, you can adopt them in the absence of baking bicarbonate.
Add wood ash
Wood ash is an alkali and can be adopted as an organic way of increasing the soil ph. Besides this, wood ash is known to add micro nutrients to the soil, consequently increasing the fertility of the garden. With that, let us get to the how-to section.
- Get enough ash in a sack or container. For a square sized garden, a single ounce of ash is enough
- Sprinkle the ash. This should be done according to the highlighted measurements in the first step. Also, you should bend a little to avoid the ash being blown by the wind which might pollute the environment as well as be less effective
Caution: if you have breathing problems, you should hire personnel to perform this task. Else, you can have a mask to prevent inhaling the ash. Moreover, ash is harmful to germinating seed. Thus it is recommendable during the winter.
Use a liming material
The most common liming materials are calcium and magnesium. After purchasing a liming material follow the following steps to raise the pH;
- Get the lime ground- fine particles of calcium or magnesium are absorbed better by the soil.
- Add water to the lime- the solid lime diffuses les faster compared to its liquid form. Hence you get it hydrated to increase its solubility in soil.
- After performing the performing steps pour the hydrated lime into your soil
- Water the soil regularly- water contents determine the effects of lime in the soil. Lime effects are minimal on dry soil. Hence, while your garden is sandy, consider watering it regularly when it is not on a rainy season
Due to the high reactivity of sodium bicarbonate, it is highly recommendable on the need for fast results. Still, unlike lime, it is a highly soluble material hence no needs of regular hydrating soil. However, its reactions are optimum on wet grounds. Let check on the steps;
- Mix the sodium bicarbonate on a cup- stir until the solution is homogenous
- Pour the solution into the garden and let it diffuse.
Note: the soil testing should be done at least after a week after using the pH raising agents. When not satisfied with the result, you can redo the steps. Lastly, always be conscious of your safety
Raising the soil pH increases the fertility of the garden, which results in healthier plants. Baking soda is much useful for this task. It does not only raise the pH faster but also adds some nutrients to the soil
What are the other benefits of using baking soda? That can be answered by reading this piece. Further, it highlights the steps on how to raise the pH in soil with baking soda. But the guide wouldn’t be complete without stressing on the other fast steps on how to raise the pH in soil fast.