Adding lime

FLgardenmomSeptember 2, 2011

OK, so I'm confused about adding lime to garden soil. My backyard is full of limestone. Every time I plant something, I end up with a pile of limestone. And my soil is very alkaline. Do I really need to add lime? Is it different from limestone? (sorry, dumb question, I know) And doesn't that make my soil more alkaline?

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

No. Yes. Yes. If your soil is already alkaline you certainly don't want to add lime......sulfur perhaps. Lime is simply limestone rock that has been burned and crushed.

Have you had a soil test done?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:52AM
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When you read the different posts always keep in mind where people that post are located. Florida is a large long state and has many types of soils & zones. Here in the piney woods of West Central Florida where I live, I have to lime because of the acid from pine trees, but you people way down south have limestone marl and most likely have to add sulfer. If a person doesn't reveal their zone or local area when they post then be very careful about heeding their advise. Try to find posts from people in the same zone or local area as your location before heeding the advise given as to soil prep & planting times. There's a world of gardening differences in just a few miles of travel distance in Florida.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 2:00PM
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Actually, I was going to ask the same question for my own garden.

I built a few raised beds last season, and filled them with a mixture of garden soil, peat. After two seasons of growing, they've settled considerably. Before planting out this year I'm going to be mixing in some pine bark fines to improve the structure, and some CRF for nutrition.

Given my initial mix, ought I to be adding any garden lime as well?


    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 3:13PM
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You'd need a soil test. You can just get one of those cheap pH meters if you want. Lime raises the pH. Dolomite Lime is also used to add micronutrients back to the soil. Be careful to get the "right" lime that won't burn your garden.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 3:20PM
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I reached out to my local extension office some time ago to talk about soil testing. They advised against any of the cheapo meters and soil tests that are sold in the big box stores - they're wildly inconsistent. Unfortunately, I've only got a small urban garden, and it's not worth investing in a more expensive meter.

As a general matter, though, does soil pH change over time?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 4:06PM
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the cheap soil testers and meters don't work. You can get a soil pH test from your local extension office for under $10.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Why would a pH test strip not work? Are you assuming maybe the time spent on the shelves ages the chemicals?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 5:06PM
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Thank you! Yes, I had my garden plot soil tested before I started adding anything and it was an 8 on the ph scale. I've added lots of organics since, but don't think I need lime.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 6:00PM
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No lime for you :) Maybe a touch of sulfur?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 7:20PM
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UF recommends a soil test every two years.

In Volusia County, a test is just $1.00.

A soil test cannot do any of the following:
Tell you which crop to grow.
Prevent poor crops caused by drought, disease, insects, too much water, or other problems.
Substitute for proper cultural practices.
Replace good management

Here is a link that might be useful: Why Soil Testing Is Important

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 7:32AM
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I bought a PH tester at HD for $18., and took it back... it tested everything a 7, even my cup-o-coffee.. and coffee is a 5.... a good professional tester is just under $100. and can be invested in at a place here in Fla., I can get the name if you ask.... most rose-growers swear by it and state they need it because roses absolutely must have a certain PH, to thrive.... my roses grow but not to their max, I guess I should spring for that pricey tester but other things got-get in the way and have access to my purse first !! LOL... sally

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 3:31PM
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