Soil Solutions (and) Snatching up Sensational Seeds

Here’s what I learned in the class I sat in on a couple of days ago.

The class was on soil. The presenter mentioned the soil-in-a-jar test to get a rough idea of your soil composition, just like the presenter at the Building Urban Gardens class, but she also said you can get a rough idea of your soil acidity using a purple cabbage. She mentioned the purple cabbage and some baking soda, but I was distracted and didn’t quite get it. But here’s what I found on how to do it.

Chop up some purple cabbage leaves, add an equal amount of distilled water (which is ph neutral at 7.0), and let sit for a few hours. You want the water to turn purple.

To test the solution, mix a few drops of the solution with a few drops of regular cooking vinegar, the five percent kind. The solution should turn red, which indicates a 3.5 ph.

To test your soil, in a container mix one part dry soil to two parts of the cabbage solution. Stir and let soil settle. The color of the solution gives you an idea of your soil acidity.

  • Pink or red = Indicates acidic soil
  • Purple (no change) = neutral ph
  • Blue = indicates alkaline soil
  • Green = Indicates highly alkaline soil

Soils with lots of organic material tend to be more acidic.

They gave out seeds again at the end of the class. This time it was herbs. I got…


The salsify was a trade. I had the regular basil, which I didn’t need, so I wanted to try the salsify and the woman I traded with wanted the basil. So, it was a win-win situation.

I needed some spinach seeds and stopped at the Big Lots and found these …


I was going to order the lemon cucumbers, but the shipping and handling was stopping me, so I was really happy to find these. And I don’t really eat beets, but who could resist a bulls eye beet. And how often do you see white radishes? Do I hear seed-aholic in the making?

Happy Gardening!!!!



  1. March 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    That reminded me, I forgot to plant my radishes!

    Your pepper seeds are ready to mail, so I’ll get them off tomorrow. Sorry it took so long, but I wanted to send them in cute tiny envelopes with handmade labels…will computer paper envelopes with lots of Scotch tape and Sharpie pen labels be OK?


  2. gardengoodies said,

    March 19, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    That will be great. I’ll take them any way you want to send them.

    I got the first part of my Gurney’s order and the strawberries should be coming soon. Do you still want a few?

  3. engineeredgarden said,

    March 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Cheryl – that is so cool! I’ve never heard of that before….I’m gonna have to remember that one! Thanks!


  4. gardengoodies said,

    March 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I plan to try it this weekend to see if it actually works.

  5. Daphne Gould said,

    March 21, 2009 at 5:57 am

    I love that – a natural pH indicator. It really appeals to my nature. I ought to test my soil, but only did it when I first moved here to make sure I didn’t have anything bad in the soil, like lead.

    • gardengoodies said,

      March 22, 2009 at 12:06 am

      I tried to find a purple cabbage at a couple of the stores in the neighborhood and wasn’t able to. I’m dying to try this to see if it works.

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