JARS v64n3 - Tips for Beginners: Cheap pH Tester

Tips for Beginners: Cheap pH Tester
Doug Furr
Vida, Oregon

Modified from the Eugene Chapter newsletter February 2010
Doug Furr

If you put two cups of red cabbage in a blender and cover it with boiling distilled water and strain through a coffee filter after blending you will get a purple solution. Take a soil sample (dry) and put two tablespoons [30 cc] of it into ΒΌ cup [60 cc] of the solution. If the solution remains purple, your soil is neutral. If it turns pinkish, it is acidic. If it turns blue, it is alkaline or you can purchase a pH tester commercially, such as from the Coos Grange Supply, for about $US 25. Rhododendrons and azaleas need acidic soil - somewhere between beer and milk (pH 4.5 to 6).