pH Tests Are pHascinating

If only I'd listened more to Mr. Mesh during 11th grade chemistry. Credit wiki.chemprime.chemeddl.org.

If only I’d listened more to Mr. Mesh during 11th grade chemistry. Credit wiki.chemprime.chemeddl.org.

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.

Give the plants what they want! I hear you, Sharon. Credit Amazon.

Give the plants what they want!
I hear you, Sharon. Credit Amazon.

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.

My bad.

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.

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Posted on January 17, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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