MaggieMD
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Can I lower PH Through landscape fabric?

I just got the results of a soil test from a lab -- my garden soil has a PH of 7.3. I am guessing this s because my husband and son tilled some lime into it last year in an effort to be helpful. From what I've read, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and beans like a lower (more acidic) PH. The problem is, my garden is covered with landscape fabric and a system of drip hoses that I worked hard to install last year. I planned to plant in the holes (attached picture) or cut in new ones if needed. Is there a liquid I can apply to lower the PH -- or something I can spread on the fabric then turn on the hoses to have it soak in? What PH should I aim for? The garden is roughly 50 feet by 40 feet.
Thanks!
Maggie
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opabinia51
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7.3 is not that basic and is leaning more towards being neutral. It shouldn't be a problem for growing what you want. A liquid would most likely just wash away when the rains came or you watered your garden anyway.

This is kind of tricky with your plasting covering but, what would work best to lower the pH of your soil would be something more recalcitrant like unused coffee grounds, just a few.

MaggieMD
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Thanks, I really appreciate your response. I actually don't have plastic; it is landscaping fabric and is supposed to be permeable, which is why I thought that maybe I could spread something on top and have it soak in. My husband found something that indicated should add ammonium sulfate to acidify the soil a little. Do you know anything about that?

Also, I can mix a little coffee (out of the can, unused) into each hole as I cut through the fabric to plant. Do you think that would help?
Maggie

opabinia51
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Well, technically and chemically speaking Ammonium sulphate is actually a base and to strong to use directly on any soil for anything anyway. What would be best is to use something less invasive and if it is just fabric, it should work fine

Now, the question is what to add? And I am currently blanking on organic solutions to your problem, the unused coffee grounds would work but they can be a kind of pricey and I know there are other solutions.... if I have time I'll get back to you.

But, like I said before, 7.3 is not very basic at all. Chemically speaking your soil would be said to be neutral and for what you want to do, it won't be a problem.

PS
In the past I would have advised you to put some pine or cedar needles down but, I have discovered through research over the years that the needles may have various organic acids in them but they also contain allelopathic chemicals that can retard the growth of all sorts of plants.

MaggieMD
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Thanks forresponding. My garden isn't that big, so coffee won't be too expensive.

opabinia51
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I have some time right now to do a little research on the internet so, I'll see what else I can find for you and post anything useful that I find.

And I'm sure that other people have experience in lowering pH of soil, so let's here what you have done!

opabinia51
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Of course, I just found one solution and that is lemon juice and of course citrus peels would be another. I chop up all my citrus peels and put them into my compost. You could do the same around your yard, either placing the choppings below the fabric or placing them in the spaces where you plant vegetation.

I'm sure that you'd be able to find a large container of lemon or lime juice at some big box store that would be to expensive, I would dilute it and water the area with it. You'll run into a similar problem as with your other liquid alternative (it will wash away) but, with the addition of the peels of various citrus fruits, it may help your little problem.

MaggieMD
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Great idea with the lemon juice and citrus peels! It seems much more organic and natural too... thanks so much.

opabinia51
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You are welcome, I came across the idea of using lemon juice from a site on the internet, but I have used citrus peels for years and just came to the conclusion about their pH. But, it makes perfect sense.

I think I might have already said this but, adding citrus peels (not just lemons but, limes, grapefruit and oranges as well) will also increase the micronutrients and macronutrient content of your soil as well.

I like to chop them up as finely as possible before adding them to the soil or compost.

MaggieMD
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That sounds like a gooidea -- I was going to use the food mill to chop them up! Next question (I'm sorry, I am pretty new): when you say macro and micro nutrients, do you include Nitrogen? The soil test didn't include a N reading because they say it is too transient to measure. So I'm guessing I have to provide a steady supply. Last year, I used liquid fish emulsion. Will that supply nitrogen? Thanks again. Maggie

opabinia51
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Here's the skinny on nutrients:

Macronutrients are:

Nitrogen, Phophorus and Potassium (NPK)


Micronutrients include:

Carbon compounds, Magnesium, Sodium, Manganese, Iron, very small amounts of Copper and other transition metals, Suphur and so on......

Macronutrients are nutrients that plants need in high concentrations and plants need micronutrients in very small concentrations and are actually equally important as macronutients.


Liquid fish fertilizer is an excellant source of NPK (I think it is 0.4/0.2/0.4 of something like that but, more importantly it is also an excellant source of micronutrients as well.

Here is the major tenent behnd organic gardening; don't limit yourself to just one type of fertilizer; vary your fertilizers to provide a wide variety of nutrients to your plants. The old paradigm of just supply your plants with NPK through salt based fertizers as been proven wrong by nature itelf.

Anyway, adding the citrus peels will lead you along this path, compost is great as well. So are mulched leaves which also serve as a natural landscape fabric.

Keep the questions coming! That's why we are here. And be sure to post any advice that you may have, I'm sure that you have experience in gardening that people here can benefit from.

And there is nothing wrong with a little health gardening debate as well.

Take care Maggie!

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imagardener2
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Vinegar

Could vinegar (2.4) be used in lieu of lemon juice (2.2)?

TheLorax
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To the best of my knowledge, Apple Cider Vinegar may be substituted for Lemon Juice and it's a heck of a lot cheaper too! About 2T per gallon until one reaches the desired pH.

This is what I use for the Cypripedium acaule I was given as a gift and it is also what I have been using for Sarracenia spp.

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atascosa_tx
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found this site about raising and lowering PH..hope it helps..
https://www.savvygardener.com/Features/soil_ph.html

opabinia51
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Thank you very much! That is a very informative page, and it reminded me of some information that I haven't used in a while.

EXCELLANT!

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