6

My soil test from my local county extension office says:

Your pH is 7.4 ... You should incorporate sulfur to a depth of 6" at a rate of ½ lb per 100 sq. feet at least 6 weeks before planting in the spring.

I'm about 2-3 weeks from the historical last freeze in my area (Wichita, KS, Zone 6A), and I'd rather not wait "at least 6 weeks" from now before transplanting anything.

So is it too late to add sulfur now? Or should I take any special precautions when applying it now?

4
  • what are you planting? Did you plant it before and were disappointed? Are you a farmer or a homeowner?
    – kevinskio
    Mar 3 '12 at 0:06
  • I'm a homeowner, I have never grown anything here before. I'll be planting a wide variety of vegetables.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 3 '12 at 5:48
  • 1
    @Flimzy Of course it should be spelt with a "ph" - as I keep telling the locals here in the Colonies! :-)
    – winwaed
    Mar 3 '12 at 23:37
  • You might consider acidifying with peat moss instead of sulfur. It has a pH of about 4.0, and it'll add organic matter to the soil. Jul 1 '16 at 20:54
7

They are suggesting incorporating sulfur to lower the ph of the soil. The sulfur will become sulfuric acid in the presence of water. If the soil had a ph of over 8 or you were a commercial farmer this would be a viable solution but would have to be done yearly.

Your soil ph of 7.4 is not extremely alkaline. Although most vegetables prefer a ph of 5.5 to 6.5 these vegetables will do well in your soil:

  • beets
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • brussel sprouts
  • legumes
  • turnips

Refer to this pdf which has a detailed list of what likes what. You will see that with your soil ph these vegetables will not do as well:

  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • corn
  • potato
  • peanuts
  • watermelon

Your best investment which would help your garden in many ways and moderate your soil ph would be to add organic matter.

To grow the vegetables that like a lower ph you could consider a raised bed with large quantities of composted manure mixed with top soil. In my area they have a "triple mix" of composted manure, top soil and peat moss. If you have six to eight inches of a soil high in organic matter and you top dress it every spring with more organic matter then you will not need to use sulfer.

Edit: Yes, I am suggesting that you would be better off with a raised bed of your favourite mix of compost and top soil and grow the ph sensitive vegetables there. Skip the sulfur...

1
  • I am hoping to grow some lettuce, carrots, and potatoes at least. Is your suggestion still to just add a "crap ton" (pun intended) of compost and forget about using sulfur?
    – Flimzy
    Mar 4 '12 at 0:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.