[NAFEX] nafex, pH question

oowonbs at netscape.net oowonbs at netscape.net
Wed May 2 14:46:12 EDT 2007

Small questions or interest, Re; the following:

> acidic soil has a lower pH and alkaline soil has a
higher pH. Neutral soil has a pH of 7.

*I think of acid as = lemon or vinegar.

>An excellent way to lower the pH of small beds or garden areas is the 
of sphagnum peat. ...also a good source of organic matter.

>Granular sulfur is the safest, least expensive but slowest acting
Soil pH--Sandy Loam--Loam--Clay loam
__5.0_____ 8______ 10____ 15
__5.5_____ 6_______ 8____ 10
__6.0_____ 3_______ 4_____ 6

>Wood ash will also raise the soil pH and make the soil more alkaline. 
Do not
apply wood ash, limestone, hydrated lime, or other liming materials to 
      Prepared by Eldon Everhart, Department of Horticulture
      Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

*If so, then why are areas after a "burn" (natural or man-made) 
considered ~"so fertile?"

*I do use several grocery bags of cold wood/paper ash per annum, 
gradually &
evenly distributed all over my 50x100.  Years later, after no ill 
effects seen/noticed,
I began to use mushroom compost all over as well, which might mitigate 
the effects
of my "minor" amounts of alkaline ash.  Surely it must be/IS alkaline, 
as stated, as
lye soap was made with leached wood ash.

>  Pine needles are not acid.  That's an old wive's tale.

*Hmmm. I must brew some pine needle tea, 1 with newer needles, 1 cup
with older needles, split the cups, and add a tsp of vinegar to half 
and a
tsp of baking soda to the other halves, and see which foam, if any...

*Many blueberry vendors suggest pine needles as a way to make soil acid.
Maybe older needles collected have just lost much of their umph!

*pH is a log 10 scale. 7.0 is acid alkaline/base neutral.
5 is 10 x as acid as 6, and 4 10x as acid as 5, so 4 is 100 times as 
acid as 6.

*Gypsum is said to buffer pH either way...!!! And everything I have 
indicates you cannot OD soil with it.  AND that as it is water soluable,
you can add copious amounts, water as hugely as the soil allows it to
perc down, and counteract offending pH.

*Adding "fresh" horse manure is generally disliked. Adding fresh 
even more so, as it is "hotter."  But since it is done, and I assume dug
into the soil... I would take many samples, mix them, and invest in a 
"Home Depot" test kit.  You may as well get a kit that tests also for N.
You may have so much, you'll want to be wary of adding more.

*In future, I suggest mushroom compost in lieu of horse manure. It is 5%
horse, the rest is straw/hay/bedding, "fast-composted" for a month, then
fed to mushrooms for a month.  It's so beautifully mild when finished.
FULL or texture modifying slow releasing organics.  $15-30 a cu yd, 
is a ton if wet, 3/4 if no rain lately, depending where you buy it, town
or country.  Add to any depth desired, up to 12", LOL! 1-2" on a lawn,
anually, rake it in a bit.  It smells a bit, but nicely so (if you are 
a gardener,)
for 1-3 days, depth depending. (Don't put 3/4 ton in a 1/4 pickup! And
cover it with a tarp for the drive home, having airred - up your tires.)
It's beautiful stuff...!!!

Grow ON!

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