If you own a vegetable garden, you are likely to experience years with plenty of produce and years where the produce is considerably less. This may be due to some factors, one of them being the soil pH. Garden soil can either be acidic (sour) or alkaline (neutral or sweet).
Acidic soil deprives plants of essential minerals like magnesium and prosperous. Lime which is made by grinding limestone acts as a soil amendment. It releases these minerals and makes them available to plants. You should, however, know what garden plants need lime since not all thrive well in limy soil.
The Purpose of Lime
Lime helps correct the pH in your soil so as to create an environment where your plants and vegetables will flourish. Lime is a form of calcium that has a sweetening effect on acidic soil, hence making it more alkaline. Most vegetables tend to thrive better in slightly acidic to neutral soil with the pH range of between 6 and 7. Therefore, if the pH level is below this range, lime can help to raise the soil’s pH.
Vegetables that Require Lime
There are numerous questions regarding what garden plants need lime. Some of the vegetables that do well in highly alkaline soils with a pH of 7 to 8 include cauliflower, cabbage, English spinach, tomatoes, peppers, onion, melons, broccoli, garlic, okra, peas, cucumber, eggplant, carrots, celery radishes, lettuce, and yams. Trees that thrive well in limy soil include catalpa, casuarina, walnut, hickory, and yellow locust.
There are two ways of applying lime into the soil. The first is by tilling it into the soil to allow it to incorporate well with soil and change the pH. The other way is by sprinkling the lime on top of the soil. However, doing this will make the lime break down slowly.
How to Tell if the Soil Requires Lime
The only way to determine if your soil requires lime is by running a soil test. You can purchase the soil test kits at garden centers. However, a home kit can only tell you the acidity of the soil; it doesn’t tell how much lime needs to be added.
Therefore, if you want to know the type of soil and receive recommendations based on your soil’s need, it is advisable to let the soil analysis be done by a professional soil testing laboratory.