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This month Julie Moore explains why knowing the pH of your soil is important and what you can do to create the right conditions for your plants

When it comes to what you can grow on your plot, and for that matter, what you can’t, few things are as important as soil. Of course, to a certain extent, you’re stuck with what Mother Nature has given you. But understanding your soil’s pH will ensure that you grow crops that will make the most of the soil you create.

Soil pH indicates how acidic or alkaline your soil is and has important implications for plant health and growth. Soil pH impacts beneficial fungi and bacteria in the soil and influences whether or not essential minerals are available for uptake by plant roots.


All pH is measured on a logarithmic scale from zero (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline) with 7 being neutral. Soils are considered acidic with a pH between 4.6 and 5.0 and very acidic below a pH of 4.5. Conversely, soils are considered alkaline with a pH between 7.5 and 7.9 and very alkaline above a pH of 8.0.

Most food crops prefer a pH of between 6.0 and 6.5, but you can still have a productive plot if your pH lies between 5.5 and 7.5. While a difference of 0.5 may not seem significant, the pH scale is logarithmic which means, for example, a pH of 7.0 is actually 10 times less acidic than a pH of 6.0.

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This month : Get set to harvest - pick your perfect pumpkins plus harvesting kit on test 6-page special feature - pck crops of tasty berries 8 home-grown recipes to suit every taste Save £££ make your own handy crop covers 13 top tips to tidy your plot this autumn Instant savers & giveways - the case for organic seeds Juicy smoothies - grow your own health drinks + 7 Exclusive videos!