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I was looking into testing the soil in my yard so I knew how much I needed to prepare it for blueberry plants. I came across a method I hadn't heard of before, that I thought was interesting.

It involved boiling cabbage leaves in distilled water, then placing the soil in the juice. Then supposedly the juice will change colors based on the soil's pH level.

It sounds pretty easy, but I was wondering if that's an accurate method for testing the pH of soil? Is it accurate enough for a general idea of where the pH is at, or should I not use that method at all?

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I remember doing it as a science project at one point, kind of cool. – J. Musser Aug 12 '14 at 21:25
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It will tell you whether your soil is above or below a pH of 7.0, turning green or red, respectively. It will not tell you the exact number, which is why a real test is required. Anthocyanin is the coloring agent in red cabbage, and turns red at a pH of less than 7.0. The best way to test your soil is to either buy a test kit, or digital meter, or if you don't have much time, like me, and want a complete soil profile, send some soil to a lab (I use my county extension agency).

Here is a good article on the subject of anthocyanin and pH.

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