pH levels and what to do about them.
I am not a scientist. I do not play one on TV. However, my degree was in Library Science, which has enabled me to find out some of what scientists know.
Unfortunately, some of the information I was able to find seemed to be written in a foreign language of which I am not familiar. I speak Geek, but I wouldn’t say I was fluent in it.
Here’s what I was able to distill about pH levels.
- pH levels are a measure of the acidity (sourness) and alkalinity (sweetness) of soil.
- A numerical scale is used to express the pH level. The scale goes from 0.0 to 14.0, with 0.0 being most acid and 14.0 being most alkaline. 7.0 is considered neutral.
- It seems that pH levels are not a measure of soil fertility, but instead is an indication of the availability of access to the the nutrients. For instance, soil may contain adequate nutrients and yet plants may not be able to access those nutrients because of an unfavorable pH level.
What does that mean for gardeners? I think of it this way. I have four kids, they have four different values of nutritional needs in order to function properly. However, all four have different tastes and preferences. In order to make sure they get what they need, it may be necessary to make it palatable for them.
For example, all four need vitamin C. I could put out four glasses of orange juice for them to drink. But if Ryan doesn’t like orange juice, he won’t drink it. Meghan is on a diet so she leaves hers as well. Jonathan doesn’t like the pulp so his goes untouched. Patrick loves orange juice and drinks all four. Three of them did not benefit from the available juice or receive the vitamin C they needed. One of them is going to need the restroom in about 20 minutes.
Scenario #2, Necessary nutrient: Vitamin C
Ryan loves hot and spicy anything and loves vegetables. I give him a salad with jalapenos and sweet red peppers and tomatoes. Vitamin C delivered.
Meghan is on a diet. I give her half a grapefruit. Vitamin C delivered.