You can verify your soil pH using soil test kits or electronic pH meters, taking several tests in different parts of your garden as the pH may vary from one side to another. Soil test kids are using a chemical solution that changes color when is mixed with soil sample in a small test tube. Then the color is matched against a chart that indicates the pH level of the soil sample.
Why you need to know the pH of your garden soil? Because the pH affects the solubility of soil minerals, thing that is important for a good development of your plants. For example, acid soils tend to be deficient in phosphorus, while alkaline soils tend to lack manganese, boron and phosphorus. The pH also affects the type and number of beneficial soil organisms, as well as pest and diseases. For example, worms don’t like acid soils, while clubroot, leatherjackets and wireworms enjoy the conditions that an acid soil offers.
As we all want to offer the best growing conditions for our plants is good to know that the optimum pH value is between 5.5 and 7.5, and a 6.5 value is usually the best we can offer for our plants. Also is good to know that plants also have different needs, some of them like a more acidic soil while others prefer an alkaline one, many of them will usually tolerate a wider range of pH values. There are also some plants, fortunately not too many, that will suffer hard or even die if they are planted in a soil with a wrong pH level.
It is good to verify the pH levels periodically as soil pH can change during the year. It depends on temperature and moisture conditions, and can also vary to a whole pH unit during the growing season. Temperature changes the chemical activity into the soil, so the measurements of pH are best to be done at a standard temperature of 25 Celsius degrees (77 F).