Adding Agricultural Lime to Your Vegetable Patch
If you're planning on joining the legions of home gardeners growing fruits and vegetables, one of the first things you'll want to do is to check the pH level of the soil that you'll be planting your vegetables in. This is cheap and easy to do using one of the many kits available online and in garden centres.
If you've already reached this stage and have found that your soil is acidic, read on for how to remedy this.
What Is the Optimal pH Level for Your Soil?
While some plants can thrive in soil that is a little acidic, the optimal pH level for growing vegetables is between 6 and 7. Soil that falls below this will be too acidic. Your plants will struggle to take the essential nutrients they need from it. Soil that is too acidic will lose out on earthworms and beneficial microorganisms that are needed to produce a good healthy base for your plants to thrive.
What Is Agricultural Lime and What Does It Do?
Agricultural lime is simply pulverised chalk or limestone and has been used for hundreds of years to condition soil. The primary active component is calcium carbonate.
Adding aglime reduces the acidity of your soil, producing a more alkaline environment for your plants. It also provides calcium for your plants and the earthworms you want to encourage. Water penetration is improved and so is your plants' uptake of major nutrients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. As a bonus, powdery lime can make it difficult for insect pests to burrow into the soil to lay eggs and make it hard for them to breathe.
When Should You Add Agricultural Lime?
Lime can take several months to work its magic, so most gardeners add it in the autumn months so their soil is ready for spring planting. Adding it in autumn also avoids reactions with high nitrogen fertilisers commonly used in spring. Such reactions can reduce the efficacy of the lime you applied.
How Do You Add Agricultural Lime and How Often?
Apply your powdered lime by sprinkling it over your patch and raking it in. Most people won't need to apply lime more frequently than every few years. However, if your soil is extremely acidic, you could need to apply it as much as every six months. Regular testing will give you a good idea.
Always protect your skin and lungs when dealing with powdered lime.
Contact an agricultural lime supplier to learn more.