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Best Vegetables to Grow By Soil pH Level

Understanding the pH level of your soil is one of the most important factors for a successful vegetable gardener. The chart below shows the desired pH level of various popular vegetables. It is important to try to match the ideal pH level with the vegetables you are growing. If you use raised beds in your garden you might consider adjusting the pH level independently. For example you could grow broccoli and carrots in one bed at pH 6.5, while growing cucumbers and tomatoes in an adjacent bed at pH 5.5. Learn More about the pH Scale

pH Level

Vegetables

Above 7

Asparagus

6–7

Broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, spinach

5–6

Beans, cucumber, raspberries, rhubarb, squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes

4–5

Blueberries, potatoes, strawberries

Vegetables that Grow Well in Acidic Soil

There are a handful of fruits and vegetables that require low pH or acidic soil. Listed above we have blueberries, potatoes, and strawberries. Each of these plants can be grown in soil that ranges from 4-5 on the pH scale. These three plants also tend to do best in cooler climates. For example, the cool climate and acidic soil of Idaho makes a perfect location for growing potatoes.

Vegetables that Grow Well in Alkaline Soil

Highly alkaline soil can be difficult to work with for vegetable gardeners, but there are a handful of veggies that prefer slightly alkaline soil. Most notable, asparagus prefers to grow in soil as high as 7 on the pH scale. This is significantly higher than most other vegetables. Other veggies you might consider growing in alkaline soil include broccoli, beets, and carrots. If all else fails, lower the pH level of soil is a fairly easy process for most gardeners as we explain below.

How to Organically Raise Soil pH

The most common method for organically increasing the pH level in soil is to mix granulated limestone into the soil, a process known as “liming”. Limestone is a very alkaline substance, so it can quickly raise the pH in your garden. Every type of soil is slightly different, so it is important to add small amounts at first. Adding too much limestone to your soil has the potential to create major pH imbalances that will prevent your garden from thriving. This is an excellent method of organic gardeners and is the most commonly used method of home gardeners.

How to Organically Lower Soil pH

Organic gardeners typically turn to elemental sulfur when decreasing soil pH. Keep in mind that using elemental sulfur to lower pH can be a time consuming process taking up to a few months in some cases. Make sure to test your soil early in the season a plan ahead if you intend on making any changes.

Garden Soil Basics

How to Test your Garden Soil