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Soil Test for Acidity or Alkalinity without a soil test kit

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Ganado, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    This is brilliant and so simple. Makes me smack my head and say "now why didn't I think of that"
    Do-It-Yourself Soil Test

    Find out if your soil is acidic or alkaline without a pricey test kit.
    Time Required:15 minutes or less
    Here's How:
    1. Scoop some soil into a container. Then, add a half-cup of vinegar. If the soil bubbles or fizzes, it's alkaline.
    2. If there's no reaction, scoop a fresh soil sample into a second container. Add a half-cup of water and mix. Then, add a half-cup of baking soda. If the soil bubbles or fizzes the soil is highly acidic.
    1. Amend your soil with wood ash or lime, if it's acidic. Amend your soil with sulfur or pine needles, if it's alkaline.

      For more information:
      Alkaline Soil
      Acidic Soil
    1. If you want a precise pH measurement, get a soil test kit from your local university extension office or home improvements store.
    2. Soil amendment takes time, so make small changes and wait for them to take hold, before making further amendments.
    What You Need:
    • A soil sample
    • Vinegar
    • Baking soda
    • Water
    • 2 sample containers
  2. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Good post @Ganado. IMO that is the best way because all preppers should have b.soda & vinegar but you can also.....

    Test Your Soil pH with Red Cabbage

    Gardening Basics: How To Test Your Soil | Survival skills, survival guns, survival guide
    kellory and Ganado like this.
  3. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Or at the end of summer get a swimming pool test kit on clearance at the big box stores for a couple bucks that includes a pH test. Then you can also test the chlorine level in the water you treated to purify it for drinking.
    chelloveck likes this.
  4. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Around here they just taste it...
    pearlselby and Ganado like this.
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Thanks for cross referencing Motomom34. I do love things that can be done without buying more stuff.

    Someone posted a soil testing for soil texture i.e Sandy or clay. I can't seem to find it and I didn't want to duplicate

    @Airtime you lost me on the water testing kit for soil testing. Can you explain more?
    pearlselby likes this.
  6. duane

    duane Monkey++

    For gardening, I find I need three types of ph tests, one for the water I use. Depending on the time of the year, depth from which the water comes from, and how much I pump, I have to use different buffers to keep the ph right for thr plants in my greenhouse. If it is off too much the plants can not use some minerals and some of the fertilizer may settle out. In addition some of the fertilizers are acid or alkaline and you have to balance the ph of your solution. I use the swimming pool test for ph, chlorine and hardness. 100 strips, 100 tests was about $6 last fall on sale. I then use an electronic ph tester, $5 on sale at Tractor Supply to check each time I use water. The strips are more accurate. The second tests are for the peat moss, plant starting mixes and soils I buy. About 15 years ago I bought my normal peat moss for transplanting my starts and when I transplanted them, they all died. The peat moss was way to acid. Using some peat moss and water, you can test as they told in the earlier article above with the strips. At 6 cents a test, I use the test strips and the electric meter. The last test if for the garden soil. I do not test my soils on my own. Have your county extension agent or state university do it and recommend all the nutrients you need. Please do it now as a lot of the "fixes" take years to work. If you are going to be organic, then you use granite dust, garden lime, bat or other manure, and such and most of it is only usable after the microbes and other things break it down.
    chelloveck, Motomom34, Dont and 3 others like this.
  7. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Nice post Duane.

    So how do you test if you ever run out of test strips?
  8. duane

    duane Monkey++

    The short answer is that you can't test for ph once TSHTF. You can use purple cabbage, lemon juice etc to get some rough estimates, or you can taste the soil. In the old days they recycled everything, table scraps, feces, urine, wood ashes, animal manure and rotated the crops to keep the land as fertile as possible. You learned what would grow on a piece of land and grew that crop there. If and when it failed you tried something else, starved to death or moved. The remains of all the ancient civilizations are ruins in deserts or jungles that were left when the agriculture collapsed due to changes in weather patterns or destroying the fertility of the soil.

    When my test strips, stored fertilizer, stored natural insecticides, pool shock, solar panels, plastic covering on the greenhouse, and all the other goodies are gone a few years after TSHTF, I will be out in my raised bed with a hand hoe tending my traditional crops. It will likely be mostly root crops, beans and weeds. Instead of a weeding out the edible weeds, dandoline, purslain, and such, I will look forward to eating them. My grandmother eagerly awaited the first dandoline in the spring. She made a soup out of dandolines, crawfish, molasses and I don't know what else. You ate it and felt better as in the 1870s, when she was a child, most people in Minnesota were suffering in the spring from mild scurvy and other diseases from lack of good food. The population of this country before europeans arrived was in the millions and concentrated in the places where there was good fishing, good land or good hunting. Without cheap fuel, power, fertilizer, insecticides, and technology, the best guess is that after the big die off, the population would reestablish a new stability at less than 100 million with a level of technology at about the 1890's. We will not live off the grid with full medical care, the police protecting you, social security check coming on the 10th, and going down to Tractor Supply for fertilizer if TSHTF. What you do learn now and what you do have now may keep you alive through the "time of troubles". I know that I am preaching to the believers here, but it is how I feel. I would rather have a well that I know is good, Lancaster cast iron hand pump. and if all else fails pool shock and a filter, than a means of making a simple pump to maybe get water out of my well.

    My great grandmother on one side of the family was a Lakota and was born in Minnesota in the 1830's. They had a treaty that said they had the rights to the land west of the big river. They hunted, fished, grew crops and lived as they had for hundreds of years. They were not the horse people of the plains, they were the people of the rivers and forests. By the 1870's the land was gone and the survivors were on the reservations. Since my great grandfather was from Germany and fought in the war, my grandfather was raised on a farm and in the 1890's homesteaded land in the Dakota's and had the soldiers come around to make sure that his cousins had not left the reservation and killed him. We talk about if TSHT, when I was 5 years old, I was told by the children of the survivers who lived on the reservation about what happens when it does hit the fan. I went to school with kids from Germany who had lost everyone, Jewish and German, and were here as orphans. adopted by Americans.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  9. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    Have to move my garden area. It's located in an area that has the spring snow lingering much longer than the other side of the house. It also recieves less sun during the day..

    When the man from the .gov shows up and tells you that he has a much safer place for you with plenty of food and medical care, would be best if you just shoot him there and then, rather than walk willingly in to the "showers".. JMO..
    Yard Dart and Motomom34 like this.
  10. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

  11. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @Motomom34 yes you can taste the soil .... i know weird right? but its the same with edible plants... its a process so you dont poison yourself ....

    @duane love your contribution much apprecated!!

    'soup out of dandolines, crawfish, molasses' wow i have never heard of this my grandmother boiled dandelion greens in the spring and then we drank the juice with a little dried cilantro and lambs quarters if we could find it.

    I love the combination of crawfish, molasses and dandelions.
    Motomom34 likes this.
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