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marcros

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Can anybody recommend a decent pH tester for testing garden soil. Ideally one that I can probe into the ground. It doesn't need to be super accurate I don't suppose. I believe that the soil is slightly acidic and would like to confirm, and monitor it from time to time.

eBay and Amazon have numerous versions which all look like the same 2 of 3 models. All around a tenner or so but they all look like tat. I have no interest in the other features that they iffer- light, moisture, temp.

Alternatively, are pH strips a reasonable alternative? Is it a matter of mixing soil with distilled water and dipping a strip?

What do people use?
 

akirk

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From my research, the probes appear to be very inaccurate - a lot of gardening forums talk about results correlated against a proper soil test (sent away) and getting very different results... The strips are meant to be quite accurate - I have some (not yet used), but have used them or similar for the pond and they are as simple to use as you suggest
 

Tris

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I have used a Rapitest probe type meter for years and it's always been accurate enough for my needs. It has effectively been calibrated by using it at the same sites when I have taken samples for lab analysis then cross checking. Results were surprisingly accurate.
The kits using litmus paper are a real pita and no more accurate in my experience.
 

Sandyn

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I used to have a really inexpensive pH probe for the garden. It wasn't very accurate, but gave a general indication of the soil pH.
 

marcros

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From my research, the probes appear to be very inaccurate - a lot of gardening forums talk about results correlated against a proper soil test (sent away) and getting very different results... The strips are meant to be quite accurate - I have some (not yet used), but have used them or similar for the pond and they are as simple to use as you suggest
I might go with the strips then. I have concerns about the accuracy of the probes- I had seen reviews saying that it said my ph was acid but my hydrangers are the wrong colour.
 

marcros

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What really annoys me now is that whatever you look for there is a handful of sites offering a comparison of models. "The best PH tester for your garden", etc. Great, you think but you quickly realise that it is limited only to things that Amazon sell so they can get an affiliate link. There could be a market leading product that is 10x as good as everything else but it wouldn't get a mention of Amazon don't sell it.
 

Tris

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Out of interest, how accurate a pH do you require and why?
Unless you want to try growing extremophiles at either end of the spectrum there are other ways to get an idea of where you are on the scale.
When we lived in Hampshire the soil would react with vinegar as it was so chalky. Some plants are useful indicators too.
 
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