pH Question

I recently picked up a soil pH meter and took a series of readings across my garden. Most of my results were in the 6.0 to 6.8 range, but I do have one corner of my garden where the pH ranges from 5.2 to 5.9. I added some slow release, pellitized lime, but I understand that can take up to 6 months to dissolve and change the pH. I have onions, tomatos, peas, beans and radishes planted in this area. 2 questions, how bad is a 5.2 pH on these plants and should I perhaps carefully sprinkle some quick lime on the surface and incorporate this? My rows are spaced at 18" so I should be able to do this without touching any plants. Or would this cause a too radical pH swing and am I better off suffering with the present pH until it slowly adjusts?
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Assuming your pH meter is some where near accurate, I would just stick with the pellatized lime. The more acid the soil the faster it works. The peas and beans are not happy at that pH but tomatos are relatively tolerant.
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snipped-for-privacy@centurytel.net (Jay) wrote in message

Assuming that the readings are correct:
I put my first garden in a boggy place where the soil under the beds was about 5.0 (I discovered that later). The beds are compost but over time earthworms can and will turn the soil and the pH of the beds will decrease. In time I have learned to use wood ash to correct the pH near certain plants. Ash acts much faster than lime, which I have also tried, and ash is also a better fertilizer. I have seen time and again chard plants not prospering and they shoot up as soon as some wood ash is sprinkled around their roots.
Of your veggies, tomatoes and beans should do OK all the way down to 5.5. I have found wood ash to improve the flavor of tomatoes. Onions certainly will suffer, they prefer it closer to 7.0. I am guessing that peas are fairly tolerant of acid conditions and I have no idea about radishes.
In conclusion, in my experience you can add one pund of wood ash per 40 sqft in a soil which is in the fives with no ill effects and an improvement for sensitive plants (same amount for lime). Now that you know which ones are sensitive you should be able to test things by yourself a bit and see how it goes. Perhaps you can try liming only half your plants for each veggie, you may lose some crop but gain in long term productivity.
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