How to test your soil
If you’re new to gardening, one of the first things to do before you start planting is to establish what sort of soil you have.
If your soil is acidic, it means that different plants will thrive, including ericaceous (acid-loving) plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. If your soil is more alkaline, then ericaceous plants will struggle to grow in your garden unless you grow them in pots of ericaceous compost.
The easiest way to do this is to go to invest in a soil testing kit (£5 upwards) from your local garden centre to discover the pH level of your soil. Alternatively, you can get a good indication by looking over your garden fence to see what’s thriving in your neighbours’ garden!
Dig a hole in the garden soil about 10cm (4 inches) deep. Take a small amount of soil from the bottom of the hole and place inside the test tube up to the first level.
Open the capsule and carefully tip the contents onto the soil in the test tube.
Top with rainwater to the fourth level
Shake well and allow to settle.
Match the colour of the liquid with the easy to use pH chart.
This soil is about pH 6.0, which makes it acidic and ideal for ericaceous plants.