You may be wondering about the importance of pH in your garden, or how it effects your plants. You may also be unsure of how to monitor the pH, or what pH is best for your plants. Well, simply put, pH is a measurement of alkalinity or acidity in your soil. The scale ranges from 0 to 14. For vigorous growth, plants require nitrogen(N), phosphorus(P), and potassium(K). Incidentally, these are the numbers represented across the top of many fertilizers. The numbers are separated by a hyphen.
Moving along, these nutrients are readily available for absorption by plant roots when the pH is 6.0-7.0. An exception to the rule is acid-loving plants, like azaleas and rhododendrons, which prefer pH of 5.5-6.0. Adding lime to the soil makes it more alkaline while adding sulfur makes soil more acidic. It's est to soil test through your local county extension office for the most accurate reading. That said, you can find a simple pH tester easily, which is most often quite accurate.