Yes you heard it right, our ordinary vinegar used daily in our kitchen can be used to lower the pH of soil in our home garden. Be it a potted flowering plant or a fruit tree, it can be applied in all limited soil applications.
However before going to the procedure, first lets get an idea about soil pH and it’s effects on plants.
What is meant by soil pH?
Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. A pH value is actually a measure of hydrogen ion concentration in the soil. For a decrease in pH value 1 there will be acidity increase by a factor of 10.
Low pH means the soil is highly acidic and there will be a higher number of hydrogen ion concentration. Most of the soils in the nature has a pH value between 3.5 and 10.
If you get higher rainfall the natural pH of soils typically ranges from 5 to 7 and in drier areas the range is between 6.5 to 9.
image 01 pH Scale
From the above illustration we can understand that a neutral pH is achieved at “7” and Acidic between “0” to “6.9” while Alkaline values are between “7.1” to “14”. The value “0” mean very acidic while “14” indicates very alkaline.
Most of the plants and trees thrives between a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 but there are some which requires an acidic condition or alkaline soil for it’s proper growth. If the plant or trees are planted in a non compatible pH soil it will not be able to absorb all the micro nutrients it needed for it’s proper growth.
For eg: Miracle Fruit Plant and Passion Fruit.
Miracle Fruit requires a pH between 4.5 to 6.0 and Passion Fruit requires a pH in between 3.5 & 5.5. So for these plants and similar ones we need to adjust the soil pH so that it matches with the required level.
How will vinegar help in reducing the soil pH?
The synthetic vinegar which we use commonly in our kitchen has a pH around 2.5. Vinegar itself means “sour wine” in French and that sourness is from it’s acidic nature. Even the natural Apple Cider vinegar has a pH between 2.0 – 3.0.
But vinegar cannot be added as it is to the the soil. If we add it just like that it may kill the plant for ever or can do serious damage to it. However diluted vinegar will help in reducing the soil pH gradually but in a safe manner.
How to prepare the vinegar to mix with soil and reduce the Garden pH?
So to dilute vinegar obviously you need to add water to it. The correct mix is to add 5 ml of vinegar to 100ml of water. Don’t pour whole of it to the soil at once, just add half of the solution one day and the other half the next day.
Do not forget to check the pH level after 24 hours. Do the procedure until you get the desired pH in the soil.
If you notice any plant wilting please stop the procedure and wait for it to get healthy again before restarting the dosage.
Hope this article helped you!