How to lower soil ph

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

BaylessBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
808
Reaction score
137
Location
Affton
I thought my hops were growing a little slow so I bought a soil test kit. Soil is a mixture of compost and top soil from bags. Not the expensive stuff. Like $2 a bag. 1cuft bag.
Anywho the test for N, P, and K all came back in the Med-high range and the Ph came back high. In the 8.0 range.
Should I trust this test and if so what should I do to lower the ph? I honestly don't want to spend the money on a soil test from my local co-op. Sad but true. View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1462498311.248627.jpg
 

SanPancho

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
717
Location
SF
soil sulfur will acidify, but over the course of months. so will coffee grounds if you mix them in.

im a bit surprised actually, most commercial soil mixes are slightly acidic. did you use deionized water or at least distilled water to test? maybe its your local water throwing off the pH?

for now, the easiest thing to do is use treat your fertilizer so its acidic enough that plants can use it. if you do the continuous release type pellets/shake n feed stuff then get the kind that is for acid loving plants like azaleas, etc. if you use liquid fertilizer then just figure out the ratio of water, fertilizer and some white vinegar to get you in the 5-6 range. that way the nutrients will be available to the plants despite the soil ph.

if these are in containers, thats the best option. if they're in the ground for some reason, then do this and add soil sulfur as well. test again in 6 months to see how sulfur is working.
 
OP
B

BaylessBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
808
Reaction score
137
Location
Affton
soil sulfur will acidify, but over the course of months. so will coffee grounds if you mix them in.

im a bit surprised actually, most commercial soil mixes are slightly acidic. did you use deionized water or at least distilled water to test? maybe its your local water throwing off the pH?

for now, the easiest thing to do is use treat your fertilizer so its acidic enough that plants can use it. if you do the continuous release type pellets/shake n feed stuff then get the kind that is for acid loving plants like azaleas, etc. if you use liquid fertilizer then just figure out the ratio of water, fertilizer and some white vinegar to get you in the 5-6 range. that way the nutrients will be available to the plants despite the soil ph.

if these are in containers, thats the best option. if they're in the ground for some reason, then do this and add soil sulfur as well. test again in 6 months to see how sulfur is working.
i used tap water and we have slightly alkaline water with a high ph (9+) maybe i'll retest with bottled water tomorrow.

i do have fertilizer for azaleas, etc.. its granular but mixing is easy. can i use this to fertilize with a time or two and lower the ph in the process?

they are in the ground somewhat. i built a raised bed for them and turned the soil prior to adding compost and top soil. i dont want to add sulfur now as im afraid to damage the feeder roots at this stage in the game.
 

SanPancho

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
717
Location
SF
you can use the acid food and that will help, but you're either going to have to use the sulfur or coffee grounds for any sort of last lasting solution. even soil sulfur needs to be reapplied every few years.

as far as your tester, it isnt necessarily bad if your water is alkaline/ high pH. its more to do with how much alkalinity in the form of dissolved minerals. i have pH 9 tap water, but it has virtually no dissolved ions so it wouldnt be enough to affect the reading. if yours has alot of dissolved ions, it could be enough to throw the reading.

get a gallon of distilled water at the store, do the test with that. its not fully dionized, but its very low in minerals. should be much more accurate. then you'll know for sure if you need to do some serious acidification or not.

or you could just plan on digging it all out next year and make do with the temporary solutions for this year.
 
OP
B

BaylessBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Messages
808
Reaction score
137
Location
Affton
Update:
I went to my local nursery and they recommended that I use a product called Alpha Thrive , Root and Soil Drench. It's basically a soil activator. They didn't recommend using any sulphur as the plants are too young for that.
I'll be watering with the alpha thrive mixture once a week for the next 3-5 weeks and dumping spent coffee grounds around the plants too.
Hopefully this works/helps them get what they need to grow good.
Also I kegged my latest beer this weekend and mixed the trub from that batch with about 6gal of water and poured it on the soil all around the hop plants.
View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1462798787.674866.jpgView attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1462798800.588833.jpgView attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1462798820.485008.jpg
 

DurtyChemist

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,555
Reaction score
153
Location
Reno
Check with bottled water. If you pH is already 9 it could explain the reading being in the 8.0 mixed with the acidity of soil if it was in the range you desire. It's a logarithmic scale.
 
Top