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Ericaceous compost pH test facts: how can compost change your garden’s chemistry?

Soil is wonderful, complex and fascinating. The properties of turf and topsoil are phenomenal- however those of the compost we add to improve it are no less amazing. The importance of understanding the exact qualities of what’s under your garden can be lost of many new gardeners- yet this can often be the difference between a successful garden, full of bright blossoms & huge yields, and disappointment.

Ericaceous compost, pH and the secrets of how gardens grow

While all compost contains the millions of micro-organisms that give it such great fertilising qualities, ericaceous compost goes a step further- using a blend of ingredients designed to change the balance of your soil chemistry. This special mix helps release vital nutrients to your plant that, depending on the soil conditions in your part of the country, they might not get otherwise.

What is soil pH?

Soil pH is the acidity, or lime content, of your soil. Lime is highly alkaline and creates soil conditions that contain certain minerals, rather than releasing them to your plants. Manganese, boron and iron are examples of nutrients trapped by alkaline soil- therefore plants that require more will struggle in these. These ‘acid loving’ plants will produce poor growth and off-colour leaves if grown in alkaline soil. Similarly, plants like asparagus, ferns and cauliflowers can struggle with the lack of molybdenum in acid soil. You can test your own soil’s pH yourself- we recommend using a home testing kit for the most accurate results. Knowing your garden’s pH is an important step when planning your planting for the year.

Ericaceous compost: pH- altering

So how does Ericaceous compost alter your soil pH? It all comes down to the blend of ingredients used in its production. Unlike traditional compost which uses a blend of loam, limey topsoil, peat and broken-down organic matter, ericaceous compost is specially prepared to add acidity to the earth. This slowly builds up a more favourable soil profile over months, to establish an environment that supports acid-loving plants like tomatoes, raspberries and acers.

To learn more about ericaceous compost, pH in the soil and the types of plants that love an acidic soil profile- see our page on ericaceous compost

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