Spring has arrived where I live and the wild violets are in bloom. In the weeks to come look for candied violets, violet sugar, wild violet jelly & syrup posts but today I wanted to focus on violet’s ability to indicate ph.
From simple.wikipedia.org comes this definition “pH (potential of hydrogen) is a scale of acidity from 0 to 14. It tells how acidic or alkaline a substance is. More acidic solutions, have lower pH. More alkaline solutions, have higher pH. Substances that aren’t acidic or alkaline (that is, neutral solutions) usually have a pH of 7.”
As a soapmaker cooking or curing soap is vital so as to not hurt skin with the finished product. Getting to neutral happens with time or heat and soap is checked with litmus paper to ensure the new batch is safe.
Nature gives us a natural litmus tester, violets.
Gather fresh violets, take the stems off and place in a heat proof container. Cover with enough boiling water to cover the flowers and let sit for at least 24 hours as the water leaches the colour from the petals. This was 2 cups of water with two cups of flowers but there is no need to make this amount unless there are other plans for the violet water (such as syrup or jelly!)
Your colour may be different as there are lighter and darker, bluer and pinker shades of petals.
1/2 – one cup finished water will be just fine for soil testing.
Yes! Have you ever wondered about all that clay, sand, compost and other stuff you dig around in?
Is it perfect for root veggies or would it be better for tomatoes?
Do the azaleas always seem to do better in one section than another?
There might be a reason. The ph of your soil can affect the happiness of your plants.
Add some violet steeped water to a small container. It does not need to be the family crystal, just something you can see through. Place a few grains of earth into the container and wait to see what happens to the colour. The pink range is acidic and the green/yellow range is alkaline.
Now you have a starting point for knowing what assistance you can give your soil so that whatever you choose to grow this year will be happy and healthy.
Personally, I am going to put a little aside to test my next batch of soap.
Happy gardening if the soil where you live has thawed.
p.s. Cabbage water is also ph sensitive. That might be worth exploring as it is available year round.
Using Violets to Test ph from My Kitchen Wand