October 26, 2007, Newsletter Issue #87: No Acid Trip

Tip of the Week

Acid. Acid rain is bad. Folic acid is good. Acid trips...those are so 1960s. Acid soil? Forget it. Actually, most plants need acidity to some degree. Proper gardening technique will help you work with acid or alkaline soils, especially if you've used your existing topsoil for raised bed gardening.

While most soil is either 6.0 or 7.0 pH or the median between acid and alkaline, certain areas of the country, such as the South, have more alkaline soils. Most of the plants in your raised garden bed will probably need more pH--in this case, a higher number means less acid.

Here's a raised bed gardening tip, not a trip: While you're maintaining your garden, add more limestone in powdered form to lower the acidity if you grow clematis, and sulfur to increase the acidity and lower the pH if you grow heather. Raised bed gardening gives you more control over your soil. You usually need to add extra lime for alkaline soils every year, since raised beds don't percolate water.

Water percolation gives your garden a shot of lime. So to sum up, acid trips can be a good raised bed gardening technique, but if you did too much acid in the 1960s, you'll be happier if your garden goes cold turkey, man.

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