pH Tests Are pHascinating
A few years ago, I had to leave work for an emergency eye doctor’s appointment.
My eyes were swollen and red. I could hardly see to drive myself to the doctor’s office. (Oh, the irony…) When I got there, the doctor told me I was allergic to a protein in my contact solution.
I’ll never forget my boss’s response when I relayed this information later that day: “Nothing like putting the allergen directly into your eye!”
In a sense, this is what I’ve been doing to my plants.
Last week’s soil testing kit revealed that my plants are sitting in soil with a pH of about 8.5. A few days ago at Worm’s Way, I bought one of those pH tests designed for aquarium water. I tested my tap water. Again, 8.5.
Meanwhile, most plants prefer soil that’s slightly acidic, in the 6-ish range. So it’s not that they’re allergic to a higher pH. It’s just not ideal.
Surprise, surprise. You reap what you sow. Alkaline water = alkaline soil = unhappy plants.
I started using an organic fertilizer with each watering, so once I see how that affects the soil, I’ll work on adjusting the pH of my tap water, then retest the soil.
There are a handful of options for lowering the pH, from simple vinegar or lemon juice to fancy-schmancy store-bought additives. (Note: When you Google “lower pH,” be prepared for a barrage of information about how to grow marijuana. You’ve been warned.)
And for the record, the only contact lens solution I use now is Clear Care.