PH Scale (My Version Of)

This chart is a work in progress, and I'm not a botanist or chemist... I put it together as a guide for myself re: my plants and how they are compatible with the soil in my garden based on some of the types of things I compost. There are a few items on there that I don't compost, such as milk, that I've included just for interest.

(If you double click on the chart you'll be able to see a larger version of it.)

I've noticed an interesting thing: I drink a lot of coffee, which is acidic, and I compost all of the grinds and filters. On the other hand, we eat very few eggs (the shells of which contain lime, which can make your soil more alkaline).

I haven't been able to grow lettuce for the past two years, and you'll notice on my chart that lettuce tends to prefer less acidic soil. My strawberry plants, on the other hand, are thriving (they apparently appreciate my morning cups of java ;)

This adds an interesting element to garden bed planning and composting. I could create two compost piles (one for coffee grinds and one without) but that complicates crop rotation (i.e. potatoes). Instead, I think the easiest thing to do at this point is to not compost all of my coffee grinds...

Oh and look where Geraniums are on the scale - they really don't like coffee!! On an impulse one day (before learning about PH) I dumped some cold coffee over the soil of a couple of geranium cuttings I have on my counter. Now they're not so happy. Oops...

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  1. You're really going about this like a science. Good work!

  2. Many plants have an acidity preference, but one shot of coffee isn't likely to harm them. If you're unsure, flush out the soil with water (such as by soaking the pot) then let it drain out completely to dilute any acidity -- never letting the pot sit too long in water. Ground oyster shells are sometimes used as a mulch by serious geranium aka pelargonium enthusiasts.

    Thanks for dropping by Toronto Gardens today.

  3. Thank you both for the comments - I appreciate the kind words and the advice :)

  4. I have been following a tip that I have read somewhere regarding coffee. After I repack my coffee powder, I pour some water into the empty packet and empty the contents onto parts of my lawn where my neighbours' cats love to poo. I find that this keeps them away. Maybe they don't like coffee.

  5. ... or you could eat more eggs :)

    I've just found your site through Blotanical - I hope we'll see you there a lot.

    I really like the approach you've taken in your blog - it's great to see a blog which is researching and analysing seriously without pretending to "know-it-all".

  6. Autumn - that's a great tip - I'll have to remember that one! Sue - thanks :)

  7. This is one of the most interesting posts I recently read! What an interesting approach to PH level and a compost pile! It makes me feel good - I like both, coffee and eggs! Thank you, I really enjoyed your post! And Welcome to Blotanical!

  8. Thanks Tatyana and Muhammad :) I really appreciate everyone visiting my blog - joining Blotanical was a good idea :)