Thread: garden lime
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Old February 24, 2016   #16
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Mid-Atlantic right on the line of Zone 7a and 7b
Posts: 1,345

Originally Posted by Ed of Somis View Post
In general, I find there are some folks who enjoy doing science experiments as much as growing tomatoes. I get that it could be fun. haha. However, my "common sense" approach to vegetable gardening (and tomatoes) usually works out fine...with a little knowledge/experience mixed in. My seedlings have been growing fine with a quality potting mix or seed starter mix....either one. Part of the fun of doing anything (in my opinion) is getting better. This is where knowledge/experience/science comes in. The journey is the fun!
I agree with you. Results are results. I always say go with what works for you if u are pleased with your outcome.
However there are too many folks that struggle to get results with gardening. They usually read the regurgitated, form letter style advice to test for pH and add lime or sulfur to adjust pH as needed to get to some magic number between 6 and 7.
In reality, pH is influenced by four major cations (elements with a + charge): calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
Extremely high sodium will cause high pH. Potassium will influence pH even more than C or Mg!
Once all nutrients required are supplied and balanced, the pH will be right.
Or stated differently, "good" pH does not guarantee a balanced soil.

Now to the point of container mixes. Am I saying everyone needs to test their mix? No, that is probably too much for most hobbyists. But you need to consider that peat mixes have limestone added to balance the acidity of the peat. What kind of limestone? What calcium and how much are you adding? What effect will my nitrogen program have on calcium? It gets complicated in a hurry.
So, my suggestion is to ask people that have used a precise formula over the years and match that with results that you will be happy with and copy it. Don't mess with it unless you know what you are doing or want to try it on a small scale.

Urban, we are an agreement. Well said.
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