Litmus And Alkali

Is there any simple soil test for alkali that can be made without a

chemical analysis?

You can ascertain the presence of alkali by using red litmus paper,

which will be turned blue by the alkali in the soil, if the soil is

moist enough. This does not determine the amount of alkali, but the

quickness of the turning to the blue color and the depth of the color

are both attained when the alkali is very strong. When there is less

alkali, the reaction is slower and weaker. This test, however, gives you

only a rough idea whether the soil is suitable for growing plants. You

can tell that better by the appearance of the plants which you find. Any

druggist can furnish the litmus paper, and give you a demonstration of

how it acts on contact with alkali.

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