PH meter recommendations?

tracydr(9b)August 11, 2014

I just moved to North Carolina from AZ. I didn't use a pH meter in AZ because I knew that my water and soil were off the charts high. I did check some of my best beds with a swimming strip a couple of times and it was greater than 8.5.
Now, I'm sure I have acidic soil as we have purchased a heavily wooded 21 acres with sandy loam. I'm sending soil samples to the state but would like to start liming and planting my fall gardens soon, before it gets too late for things like beans, etc.
I will be adding tons of partially decomposed pine straw and leaves to the gardens as I go.
Any recommendations for a good but under $50 pH meter?
Btw, I'm pretty excited to be able to plant blueberries and strawberries in the ground here. This area has a lot of blueberry farms so I'm sure our soil is highly acidic.
If it helps, I had the well tested and hardness was very low, iron was the only thing somewhat high.I don't remember seeing a pH on the test.

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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Acidic soil is really great, I am always trying to get it, I don't think any ph meters work very well, mine always says my soil is way alkaline like from 7 to 7.5, so I think they can give you a ball park idea, but not a very close idea. You need a real expensive annoying soil test, to pin point the numbers correctly. If I use compost, then test it may get a tiny bit less alkaline. Its just a run of mill cheap kind of meter.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:09AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Meters to measure soil pH that cost less then $50.00 will not be reliable enough to give an accurate reading, and they do not tell you what needs to be done to correct any problem they may indicate.
North Carolina State University does soil testing for a fairly nominal fee.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCSU CES

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:12AM
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toxcrusadr

Once you get it done once, if it's in an acceptable range (say 6-7.5), you don't have to amend to change it and compost will keep it there. If it's very high or low and you have to make changes, then you might have to worry about sampling once or twice a year to see how you're doing. But have it tested at a lab first to see where you're at.

7 to 7.5 is not 'way alkaline'. 7.0 is neutral, and unless you're trying to grow a very limited list of plants that demand acid soil, it's perfectly fine for the average garden.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:33PM
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