The Q&A Archives: Acidic Soil And Planting Vegetables

Question: We have recently purchased a house where the land is clay and very acidic- I did a pH test and it was between 6.5 and 7. I have researched your site on how to amend and correct the soil; and understand to get the soil really nice for grass (we currently have moss) it could take a couple of years. In the meantime, I tried to plant a vegetable garden and met with medium success, Could you please tell me if you think the following items will grow: blueberries, raspberries, asparagus, and English lavender.

Answer: Well, we need to do a little clarifying before we discuss your garden. You could very well have acidic soil -- the moss could indicate that. However, a reading of 6.5 to 7 would, for all practical purposes, be considered neutral. If you tested the sample yourself, perhaps the chemicals were old or not mixed correctly. It's also important to gather a soil from a variety of spots from the garden several inches down. Did you do that? I would recommend having the soil tested professionally. Your county agent can give you information on where such services are available.

Blueberries need a dramatically acid soil with a pH of 4.5-5, so you see you are a long way from being able to grow them well if your numbers are correct. Asparagus does well in a garden of 6.5-6.8 pH. Lavender actually enjoys a little lime and would not do well at all in acidic soil. Raspberries are more tolerant in their range of 5.5 to 7.

Have your soil checked again to correct the confusion, and post another question with the new pH data. Don't be discouraged. Soil acidity/alkalinity can be confusing, but a garden is always worth the effort!

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