Re: [gardeners] pH

Penny Nielsen (
Fri, 21 May 1999 15:48:29 -0300

Oh Kay, thanks for posting how to use it cause that was going to be one of my questions to you.  Just ordered some and they are very good to deal with over the phone.


>>> Kay Lancaster <> 05/21/99 01:29PM >>>
On Fri, 21 May 1999, Penny Nielsen wrote:

> Kay I tried the site you posted about the papers and alls I could find was 
> their plastic containers that they sell. What did I do wrong? I would really 
> like to try the paper since it is so reasonable. Is it easy to use also?

Sorry, I missed the original question.  Nasco does not have their entire
catalog on line... I just happened to have a 1998 Nasco Agricultural
Sciences catalog handy, which gives the item number and price.  You might
want to call and ask for the catalog, too, as it has a number of other
items that are very useful for gardeners, like popcorn shellers and
old fashioned corn shellers, grafting wax, etc.  You'll want the pHydrion
paper in the dispenser, not the two roll refill paper, as it does not
come with the color chart you'll need to read the test results (at least
it didn't a few years ago).

To use pHydrion paper, take a small soil sample (about a tablespoon is
plenty), and mush it up with some water... you want a little excess water,
but not much.  Put a drop of the excess water on a snippet of pH paper
(ok, I'm cheap, I use about 1/2" (1 cm) held in tweezers) and wait a
minute.  Compare the color of the paper to the color chart and read the
number on the chart.  That's it.  The color change is not "stepwise", so
if your test shows a color between, say, 6 and 7, I'd call the pH as 6.5
-- plenty close enough for garden work.  If you put the rest of the roll
in a sealed plastic bag or margarine tub and chuck it in the refrigerator
when you're not using it, it's probably good for 10+ years (I won't
go beyond that, but I know I've gotten accurate tests from 10 year old
rolls of pHydrion)

For those who missed it last time around, Nasco is one company who carries
pHydrion paper (there are many others!) The number for the roll with
tester is C08834N, $5 in the 1998 catalog.  Phone number for orders is 1
800 558 9595.  I'm just a customer of Nasco from years past (I've ordered
a ton of whirlpak bags for plant samples over the years!).  You may also
be able to get pHydrion paper at the local farm store, vet supply, or
pharmacy (you'll want the pH 4-9 wide range type most likely... it covers
all the pHs plants are really willing to grow in).  If you need the short
range paper because you're doing hydroponics, I know I've seen it in
hydroponic catalogs, or you can beg a local science teacher to put a roll
on their next order from a supply house like Fisher Scientific and
reimburse for it.  (Fisher seems to be a pain to order from as a "plain
old person").

Kay Lancaster 
(no George, I'm not irate, just ... uh... blushing at your description)