culinary herbs in acid soil?

gladgrowing(6a)February 15, 2011

Hi, the List.

I realize that different herbs have many different soil requirements, but wondering about the location of my moved culinary herb garden.

I moved it to a full-sun area, where there was a huge Norway Spruce, and clayish soil. I am thinking because of what is degrading there - a heavy root system- if an application of powdered lime might benefit them in general? I do not usually fertilize the herbs growing here, but concerned about them in such a ph. I top-dress occasionally with compost, but that is all.

Appreciate any advice, as spring is coming and they are just beginning to show new life.

Thanks :)

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leira(6 MA)

Well, a soil test will let you know what the pH really is, and would probably offer some recommendations about how much lime would be useful.

I live in a place where the soil is a bit acidic, and I've certainly been known to just toss some lime into my garden on principle, largely because that's what my grandmother did. A soil test would be more reliable, though. :-)

Basically, I think you have 3 main options:

  1. Get a soil test and follow the recommendations.

  2. Throw in some lime anyway, if you "know" that the soil is acidic, and just guess on amounts.

  3. Familiarize yourself with what plants (or your specific herbs) look like when they're growing in too-acidic soil, keep an eye out for these signs, and add lime accordingly.

You won't know in advance what you need without a reliable soil test, but if you're willing to try and see (which means possibly failing in the meantime), you can correct things over time by watching for signs in the plants.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 7:24AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I agree that you must get a soil test BEFORE you incorporate any lime into the soil. If the pH isn't very low, then you'll find yourself with a mess that you can't erase. A decomposing root system does not equate to an acid pH.

A soil test will also inform you as to how much lime you need to apply, if any. It's a good idea collect as much information as possible before adding amendments that you can't take back. Corrections can be made, yes, but over a LONG period of time.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 12:32AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Agreed! Test before doing any amending what-so-ever. The test kits are cheap enough or your local cooperative extension can do it as well. They can also suggest what amendments you need.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 9:35AM
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Sorry for the delay in thanking for responses...i have been unable to log in, like happened a long time ago in past!
Good growing,


    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:50PM
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