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Find out PH levels of soil

I have recently moved into a new house and am starting to make some plans for the garden.  It's pretty bare at the moment so I wanted to find out the PH level of the soil to choose appropriate plants.

As there are a number of rhododendrons and azaleas in the garden (that's pretty much all there is!) plus several big ones I can see out and about in the neighborhood, I though the soil likely to be acidic.  However, my PH testing kit comes back with a neutral result.

 I have used this PH testing kit twice before, both times it also same back neutral.  One of these was in my old house where if you dug down a foot you came to solid chalk.  Safe to say I'm wondering how accurate it is!

Does anyone have any ideas about how I should proceed?  Can rhododendrons grow in neutral soil? (the garden doesn't give the impression that the previous owner would have done much work altering soil ph).  Are there any cheap PH testing kits that are reliable?

Thanks in advance for any responses.


  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,533

    I read that SO many times before realising that you didn't mean that some kits require water chestnuts... 

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • No it doesn't actually require tap water, it comes with it's own ph testing solution.  Not sure why it doesn't work! 


  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    You'd need to shake the soil in deionised water and let it stand for a bit before putting the pH probe/indicator paper/soulution in.  Soil pH testing with this kind of gardeners' kit is notoriously inaccurate.

    If you've got rhodies and azaleas, it's acidic.

    ...and I love water chestnuts!image

  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,533

    Perhaps there are alternative kits that require lychees, or noodles.

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • OK, maybe I'll just assume it's acidic then, get rid of the ph tester and make a stir fry!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,815

    Sounds good to me image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Chestnut - Rhododendrons thrive best with a Ph of between 4.5 & 6.0 (7 being neutral)......within that range lots of fruit, flowers & veg would live quite happily.

  • derbyduckderbyduck Posts: 136

    would bean sprouts grow in that range of ph ? if so thats two vegies you could grow.

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    I should think bean sprouts would grow pretty well anywhere as they're harvested v soon after they germinate!

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