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Soil pH

B3B3 Posts: 21,411

I have clay soil and industrial quantities of my own compost.

Will adding this compost back into my soil change the pH?

In London. Keen but lazy.
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  • Hi 

    Clay will have a akaline soil level. Adding/mixing  compost/ manure to clay soil will improve the humus levels that will breakdown the clay over a period of time, Humus in the soil will encourage worms to create drainage in to the soil structure. If you want to change the Ph level from alkaline, neutral or acid apply other levels in to the soil structure. If you look on the internet you will find ways to change the Ph of the soil but that all depends on what plants you want or have a present.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,175

    I don't think that is correct.

    Clay can be either acid or alkaline.

    The pH of compost depends on what is in the compost. I make a batch of compost from ferns, which is acidic and useful for my Meconopsis.

    He calls her the chocolate girl
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  • B3B3 Posts: 21,411

    I don't particularly want to change the pH  of my soil as I'm a believer in going with what you've got. I was just curious to know whether if you compost plants that prefer alkaline soil, for example, would they produce alkaline compost?.

    Thanks for replies chaps.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,490

    My soil is Essex clay and slightly acidic.
    Soil will generally return to type due to its powerful buffering capabilities.

    Generally what comes out of your compost bin will be slightly acidic.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 3,797

    B3, interesting question! (The one about whether acid-loving plants make acidic compost). don't know a definitive answer, but logic is telling me no - an acid-loving plant is not in itself acidic. Its acid-loving nature is about its ability to take up nutrients, it doesn't mean that it actually takes up acid. 

    Last edited: 20 January 2018 09:10:11

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,411

    What prompted me to ask was the fact that I use my compost 'neat' in my containers and wondered if I could  plant some of the acid-loving plants that I generally avoid.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,490

    The answer is - probably :)

    As bacteria and fungi break down the matter their functions produce acidic waste. This helps break down some of the more difficult compounds (like cellulose) and bacteria thrive in an acidic environment which helps speed up the process.
    A bit like yoghurt that starts off as milk and ends up a bit tart (acidic) due to the bacteria

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 3,797

    Can you pH test the compost?

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • My 2p worth is that I have alkaline soil, the clay in it is slightly alkaline and could be modified, however  the (also alkaline) builders rubble and hardcore cannot. Last year in this new house was an experiment in sacrificial planting of young and cheap plants to see what stuck. The acid loving plants didn’t actually die but growth was certainly stunted, apart from the rhododendrons which did ok. 

    What I’ve done this year is buy massive pots and filled them with ericaceous compost for the two plants I couldn’t bare not to have; a camellia and a magnolia. Now I’m not looking at my garden and going “I wish I had a” all the time. 

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