One of our new gardeners was distressed by the state of his peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. Why were the leaves so yellow and the plants looking sickly? As luck would have it, Henry Homeyer, the Valley News “Gardening Guy’, made an unexpected visit to our garden. When asked to evaluate the problem, Henry said it looked as if too much wood ash or lime had been added to the soil, making it too alkaline for these plants. A soil test (Henry travels with a soil test kit!) revealed the pH to be 7.0-7.9. (7.0 is neutral)
Info from the National Gardening Association indicates peppers and eggplant need a soil pH of about 5.5 to 6.0 (slightly acid) and tomatoes prefer a pH of 6.0 – 6.8. Henry suggested digging in some agricultural sulfur and peat. Look at the difference after amending the soil, in just one week’s time!
Most vegetables require a slightly acidic soil but are tolerant of a fairly wide range. It would appear that eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes have a decided preference for acidity.
Here’s a July 24th update on that garden – lush and very productive!