Ask a Question forum: Soil PH tester / meter

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Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
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Thomas75
May 15, 2016 12:08 PM CST
I did a search and could not find a thread on a recommendation for a good Soil PH Tester / Meter.

Does anybody have any knowledge or using the Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil pH Meter Model 1840 Garden pH Tester ?

I appreciate any help and suggestions.
Thomas75
Name: Art
Florissant, MO (Zone 6b)
Hummingbirder Annuals Bee Lover Butterflies Garden Photography Seed Starter
Garden Ideas: Level 1
ArtD
May 15, 2016 2:36 PM CST
Hi Thomas and welcome to NGA

I had one of those meters at one time but really didn’t trust the readings it gave me. The readings seemed to be a little erratic and I never knew which one to believe Smiling I do like their moister meter however. At preset, I have the Kelway Acidity Tester and I really like it. Of course, it cost about four times more than the Luster Leaf meter you mentioned. Regardless of what pH meter you end up buying, keep in mind that to get accurate readings it’s important to clean the probe very well before each sample.

Hope this helps,

Art
[Last edited by ArtD - May 15, 2016 2:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
May 15, 2016 4:16 PM CST
Thanks Art, I will read up on the Kelway.
Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
May 15, 2016 6:53 PM CST
Welcome, Thomas! As you've already seen, there are lots of people with lots of information here! Welcome! Welcome!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
May 16, 2016 12:13 PM CST
Hello again,

I have ordered some PH Test Strips and will make several test in the garden. I will also send in some of the soil to be tested at a Lab and will compare the results with my test. The PH of the garden should not change much over the next several years so I will only test again if any of my plants look suspicious.

Thanks,
Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
May 16, 2016 3:07 PM CST
Where did you find a lab to test it, Thomas? I bought a test kit that doesn't seem to be worth a penny, much less a dime!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
May 16, 2016 3:30 PM CST
Hi Barbalee,

I can pick up the sample bags at the Nacogdoches County Extension Office and take the soil sample to the Stephen F. Austin State College Agriculture Department. The testing will be done there at the College.

It is a short drive for me into Nacogdoches so it makes it very handy.
Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
May 16, 2016 4:42 PM CST
I'm near a university, too, Thomas. I'll call them to see if they'll run a test! Thanks! Thank You!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
May 16, 2016 4:51 PM CST
Hey again Barbalee,

If your university cannot do the testing, you can get in touch with Texas A&M Ag Dept. and they can do the test for you.

Later
Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
May 16, 2016 5:08 PM CST
That's precisely who I was going to call! Canyon is not far from here :-)!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
May 16, 2016 5:10 PM CST
Most County extension offices do soil testing themselves, here. It costs $5 per sample for pH and soluble salts readings.

Or you can buy reasonable test kits at most garden centers, a 10-test kit is about $12 and then you can test the soil in different parts of your garden as well. They didn't used to be too accurate, but the new ones have the test agents pre-measured in little capsules for you, and we tested them against the fancy electronic meter at our Extension service with good results.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
May 16, 2016 5:20 PM CST
Thanks, Elaine! I'll check on that, too. It'd cost me $12 in mileage to go to the university... I'm gonna get this done you guys! Thank You!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
May 18, 2016 2:51 PM CST
To all,

As a follow up, I talked to a friend of mine yesterday who uses these Test Strips and he told me to not touch the strips with my bare hands and to wear gloves. I have ordered some cheap disposable plastic gloves to use for my testing. I will let you'll know how this works out.
Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
May 18, 2016 4:38 PM CST
Pleae do let us know. Thomas!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Thomas75
Jun 2, 2016 10:01 AM CST
OK Guys,

I know this is not the most scientific PH test every performed but I am very satisfied with the results that I have received with these “Test Strips”. I feel that the results from these strips are accurate enough for a home garden.

The attached photo does not depict the actual color that is on the strips, I guess because of the flash from the camera. I took several photos and they all looked the same. The color on the strips were very close to the “Color Chart” that is a part of the package

I did wear some disposable gloves so that my skin did not ever touch the strips. I first tested some distilled water and got a “neutral” reading. Next I tested some of my drinking water from the sink and it was between an eight (8) and nine (9).

Then I tested some vinegar and got the “reddish” color strip in the lower left on this photo. Vinegar has a PH of 2.2, which is the color on my test strip and is between the two (2) and the three (3), close enough for me!

Next I took a sample of dirt from the middle of one of my gardens and the test strip produced the “greenish” strip in the upper part of the photo. I made three other test in my gardens and every strip looked identical to each other. Again, I need to state that the color on the test strip is much closer to the color on the Chart than my photo shows. Based on the color on my test strip, I would say that the PH in my gardens are between 6.5 and 7.

Hope this is of some help to those of you that have not ever used these paper test strips.

click on photo to enlarge

Thumb of 2016-06-02/Thomas75/3fe7c8

Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
Jun 2, 2016 11:20 AM CST
Awesome, Thomas! Did you wet the dirt in some distilled water to get a reading? I just don't know exactly how even this would work! Confused
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Thomas75
Jun 2, 2016 12:36 PM CST
Barbalee said:Awesome, Thomas! Did you wet the dirt in some distilled water to get a reading? I just don't know exactly how even this would work! Confused


It was raining hard enough that I caught some water in a small plastic bowl and added the dirt to the rain water to make a "soup". Otherwise I would have used distilled water. It is really quite easy and the test strips are so cheap you can make as many test each year as you like. I plan to test my gardens at least once at the start of each year.

Thomas

Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
Jun 2, 2016 12:43 PM CST
Ah ha! Now I see! Thank you for your awesome experiment, Thomas! Thank You!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Thomas75
Jun 2, 2016 12:46 PM CST
@baralee Hey again,

Here is the link to ebay site where I bought the PH Test Strips

http://www.ebay.com/itm/361415456346
Thomas75
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
Jun 2, 2016 12:48 PM CST
Awesome again, Thomas! Just plain downright cheap, and I never mind that! Thank You! Thank You!

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