You might remember learning about the pH scale in high school chemistry class.
Acidic vinegar has a pH of 3, while basic (or alkaline) milk of magnesia rates an 11 on the scale. Clean water has a value of 7, or neutral.
Soils from different areas have different pH values. Some of the soil in Madison is acidic, while some is alkaline. The only way to know your soil’s pH value is to have it tested.
Different types of plants prefer different pH levels. For example, blueberries are happier in acidic soil.
It’s possible to change the pH of your soil by adding acidic or alkaline materials, but it can take a surprising amount of material to change the pH even a little. It’s generally better to choose plants that will thrive in the natural pH of your soil.