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pH adjustment from slight acid to alkaline - planting in pockets in rockgarden

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Michelle Swann:

I am very much an amature in the alpine world.  I try to read up on plant conditions and change the soil accordingly. 

My soil is slightly acidic and historically I have mixed in some oyster grit to try to make the soil more alkaline so that the plant can absorb the nutrients it needs.

I am not sure I have been doing the right thing and just wanted to know what everyone else does to adjust pockets of soil when planting in the garden? 

Any help would greatly be appreciated.

Kind regards,

Michelle x

ian mcdonald:
Michelle, you could try a little lime but go easy, or grow plants that can tolerate acid conditions.

Hi Michelle,

I agree with Ian, go easy. Most plants that like lime in nature will cope with acidic soils in the garden (within reason). On the other hand, lime-haters don't usually tolerate soil to which lime has been added. On the whole I think winter wet/slugs are the things most likely to kill alpines, not low pH. Soils that are fairly mineral poor and just below neutral pH probably give you the option to grow the widest possible range of plants.

Best, Tristan

Michelle Swann:
Thank you very much, in the end I tried a slow release oyster grit (oyster grit).  I am already thinking about making more plant umbrellas for this years winter.  I made some last year and they were very effective, plants went from not very happy to happy again very quickly once they were sheltered.    The new rock garden has a pH  around 7, most of the rest of the garden is acidic.  I am planting up the new rock garden slowly, in part because I am very sore, also I want change for the weeds to grow before the decorative grit and also because I wan to see how the plants are reacting to their new environment.  Thanks for the advice xx.

Maggi Young:
Hi Michelle, your  mention of  rain protection for  some  plants  made  me  think of  Ian's  "rain hats" - see  how  to make  those  in this  Bulb Log:


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