Tuesday, 21 August 2007

How To Grow Tomatoes Tip 2 - Understanding Your Soil

Understanding your soil is vital when planning how to grow tomatoes in your garden.

Tomatoes will grow in a wide variety of soil types and across a wide range of pHs, although they tend to prefer a pH between 5.5 – 6.8. In order to understand your soil type it is essential that you have an understanding of what pH is and how it can affect the nutrition of your tomatoes.

The term pH defines whether your soil has a tendency towards acid or alkaline. The pH scale runs from 0 – 14, with 7 being neutral. Numbers below 7 indicate acidity and above 7 alkaline. Most soils have a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.5. Tomatoes enjoy a slightly acid soil usually with a pH around 6.5.

The availability (uptake of nutrients from the soil by the plant) of nutrients is affected by soil pH. This is amply demonstrated by the chart at Figure 1.

This shows that most nutrients have greater availability at pHs around 5.5 – 6. pHs can be adjusted: lime will make the soil more alkaline and whilst making the soil more acid is more difficult, usually sulphate-based fertilizers such as sulphate of ammonia and acidic organic material will help.

Testing soil pH can be done simply by mixing soil and water and testing it using a pH meter, testing kit or litmus paper.

Discover more about the methods you can use to improve your soil in the book How To Grow Juicy Tasty Tomatoes.

Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments: