What type of lime

raiderrick22March 12, 2009

Please help. The PH level in my raised bed vegetable garden is about a 5.5.

I need to raise the PH a bit, but I don't know which lime is the best for doing this.

There seem to be about 5 different types of lime at my local store:

-Calcitic pelletized lime

-dehydrated lime

-that powdered lime (can't think of the name right now) bag refers to lawn & garden lime

-dolomitic lime

-and then there is some sort of fast acting lime that they charge twice as much for (I think this is to be used mostly for lawns). Not sure exactly what type of lime this is.

Which will work in a sufficient time period, so I can get my garden beds in shape for an early May planting?

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Generally your safest bet is dolomitic lime. Hydrated lime can also be used, but it reacts fast and is caustic. Pound for pound the hydrated lime will swing pH more.

In terms of raising your pH before May... I dunno. Things take some time to mellow out.

How did you determine the pH of your raised bed soil? If it was with a home test where you compare colors I would recommend a lab test before you go adding lime. Lime won't work in all cases and the specifics of your soil chemistry are going to govern what a proper application rate is. A lab test *should* provide you with a specific recommendation that removes all the guesswork.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 1:42PM
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The safest is ground limestone (Calcium carbonate). It takes time to react, but will act as a buffer to neutralize acid with out pushing the pH into the alkali zone. Ground dolomite ( Calcium-Magnesium Carbonate is slower, but quite useful IF you need more magnesium in the soil. In either case the pelleted forms are more expensive but work just as well. Hydrated lime (Calcium hydroxide) is fastest, but is caustic. Partcicularly dangerous to the eys when applying) Since it has a higher pH, there is a much greater danger of getting too much. Another option for a quick change of pH is wood ashes.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Just wanted to reinforce what others have said and add a few tidbits. Dolomitic lime is a cheap source of Magnesium if you need it. In most cases I would at least use it for part of the limestone application.

The pellitized lime is easier to work with: smells sweet, less dusting and blowing, easier to achieve more uniform application. For your small scale application that would be the choice.

For large acerage applications where price is more of an issue farmers compare lime prices to Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (CCE) and % 200 mesh fineness or smaller as that affects amount of available lime in the relative near future. Even though pellitized lime is faster acting expect months to affect your garden soil. Also, you should not apply too much at one season since any lime can damage plants if overapplied, not as bad as fertilizer but still to be cautioned. If you pH test is accurate you may need to split the lime application over time. That also gives you next year to retest your situation.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:23AM
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