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?

  • what are you planting? Did you plant it before and were disappointed? Are you a farmer or a homeowner?
    – kevinskio
    Mar 3, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2016 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


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...

  • 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, 2012 at 0:46

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