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Compost pH Levels

pH is the chemical measure of acidity(sourness) or alkalinity(sweetness). A neutral pH level is 7.0. The pH scale is a range from 0 to 14. 0 is highly acidic, while 14 is highly alkaline. 

Garden soil has a pH, and varies by type of soil and what is in it. Like your garden soil, compost has a pH level. This level will also vary, depending upon what you put into your composter. Early in the decomposition process, compost tends to be acidic.

The ideal pH for most plants, is at or near the midpoint: 6.5 - 7.0 If compost or soil is too acidic, or too alkaline, plants can not grow.

A wide variety of materials goes into composters. The contents often vary from batch to batch. Most (but not all) plants and weeds have a pH near or slightly below 7. Other compostable items can vary widely. So, it's important for you to have some knowledge of the pH value of items your place in your composter, and ultimately into your garden soil.

Do not adjust the compost pH, until it is finished decomposing. After your compost has decomposed, and before you mix it onto your garden, we recommend a quick home soil test for ph levels. See Electronic Soil Testers

For more information, see: Soil pH

Prior to using your fresh compost, you can adjust the pH level. Add a little wood ash, or ground limestone to acidic compost. To lower alkaline levels, you can use sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate, or iron sulfate.

Related Topics:

All about Composting

Find Ideal pH levels for a wide range of flowers, vegetables and herbs.


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