An annual application of lime to turf / pasture grasses, orchards, vineyards, garden beds and agricultural soil is extremely beneficial to help maintain optimal soil pH for crop production. The pH of ones soil will have a profound affect on the availability of nutrients. When soil pH is out of balance, either too high (alkaline) or more commonly too low (acidic), essential nutrients become tied-up within the soil resulting in nutrient deficiencies. A soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 is ideal for most garden crops and will ensure essential nutrients are available to plants in soluble forms. Soil pH will also influence microorganisms within the soil that convert organic nitrogen from the ammonium form of nitrogen to the nitrate form that plants use.
A decrease in soil pH, know as soil acidification, is a natural process that is accelerated by crop production practices, especially the use of heavy tillage and nitrogen (N) based fertilizers. Soils with low pH levels, below 5.0, contain higher levels of available aluminum and manganese that can become toxic to plants which may inhibit growth and greatly reduce yields.
It is important to determine the ideal soil pH for the intend crops that you are growing. For example; blueberries, strawberries and brambles prefer acidic soils and in most cases do not require lime. Most garden crops grow well in soil with a higher pH, between 5.5 and 6.0; however they perform at their best in a soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5 It is important to consider all factors before applying lime, especially soil texture, crop type to be grown, and soil analysis.
Benefits of liming your crop: