Testing Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Trimont, MN
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Question by sksjogren
March 6, 1998
How can I determine what is the right soil moisture for growing plants in a 2 liter bottle for a biology project? In the procedure it says something about testing the pH level of the soil? I'm don't know how to do that. Is it really important for this experiment?

Answer from NGA
March 6, 1998
First of all, the type of plant you are growing will, in part, determine how moist you need to keep the soil. Generally, it's a good idea to keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. In an enclosed space like a bottle, you may need to water less frequently than an open container--however, that's all part of the experimental process! Be sure you provide some sort of drainage--like a layer of gravel or styrofoam pieces in the bottom--so that the soil can drain.

As far as determining pH--I don't know what experiment you are performing, so I can't say for sure. The pH, or relative acidity, of the soil does affect plant growth. Can your teacher help you find a pH test kit, perhaps from your schools chemistry department?

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