Thursday, February 5, 2009

High pH Crops

Arizona soil is high pH, so if you are creating a victory garden, it is probably a good idea to choose crops that tolerate the higher ranges of pH. After a bit of research, here they are:

Beans (6.0-7.5)
Beets (6.0-7.5)
Broccoli (6.7-7.2)
Celery (5.5-7.5)
Leeks (6.0-7.5)
Okra (6.5-7.5)
Onions (6.0-7.5)
Orach (7.3-8.0)
Spinach, Malibar (6.0-7.5)
Spinach, New Zealand (6.5-7.5)
Sunflower (6.0-7.5)

Those are the highest, but there a bunch of other popular crops that go almost as high:
Amaranth (6.0-7.0)
Carrots (5.5-6.8)
Cauliflower (6.0-7.0)
Garlic (6.0-7.0)
Lettuce (6.0-6.8)
Melon (6.0-7.0)
Peas (6.0-7.0)
Pepper (6.0-7.0)
Pumpkin (6.0-7.0)
Radish (5.5-6.8)
Spinach (6.0-7.0)
Soybean (6.0-7.0)
Tomato (6.0-7.0)
Turnip (5.5-6.8)

By the way, high pH (called alkaline) is problematic because it makes iron and phosphorus unavailable to your plants. To lower your pH, add sulfur. Peat moss is also a common acidifying addition.

Compost and organic material in general also moderate pH, not to mention adding some all-important nitrogen to the ground. When preparing your victory garden, start hoarding leaves and grass cuttings. Till it into the soil for best results, about a month before planting if possible. If you have already planted, make a compost pile out of it for future use.

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