What is Lime?

Gardening - What is Lime?

Lime is a rock powder that can be used to raise the pH of soils, helping plants absorb essential nutrients and minerals from their surroundings.

Additionally, nitrogen fixation in vegetable crops such as beans and peas can be enhanced, leading to healthier fruits and vegetables overall.


Lime is an organic chemical compound composed of calcium carbonate and carbon dioxide. It’s a versatile mineral used in various environmental, metallurgical, construction, and chemical/industrial applications.

Agricultural lime (also referred to as hydrated or common lime) is an effective soil conditioner that helps balance pH levels in the soil. Additionally, it enhances nutrient absorption for plants.

A soil test can help determine how much lime is necessary for a given garden area, but it shouldn’t be the sole factor in making this determination.

When the soil’s pH drops too low, it can create numerous issues for crops and flowers. Furthermore, water must struggle to penetrate deep into the ground to reach plant roots.

To prevent these problems, add some lime to your garden or lawn. It’s like giving your soil a vitamin boost, improving its overall health.

The amount of lime you need depends on the pH level of your soil, but this can be somewhat tricky to determine since different laboratories use different methods. To guarantee you get the most accurate results, ask your local soil testing laboratory to explain their methodology and target pH assumptions specific for your type of soil.

If your soil is in good condition, adding lime should only be necessary once or twice every couple of years. On the contrary, if it’s highly acidic, more frequent applications of lime may be necessary.

Common types

Lime is an indispensable ingredient in many dishes and for controlling grubs and amending soil. It helps plants by increasing pH levels in their environment, providing them with a healthy environment to grow in.

Garden lime comes in various forms, depending on its source material and intended use. It can be made from calcium carbonate found naturally on Earth or dolomitic limestone produced as a byproduct of dolomite mining.

Your choice of lime for gardening depends on the climate and crops that grow there. For instance, if the soil in your garden is naturally high in magnesium, dolomitic lime may be preferable to hi-cal or other types of garden lime.

A higher-calcium lime may be beneficial if your soil is naturally low in calcium. Doing so will balance out the calcium/magnesium ratio within the soil, which benefits garden plants.

Other common garden lime types include quicklime (calcium oxide) and hydrated lime, also referred to as milk of lime or liquid lime. While both of these options are popular in Europe, they are less widespread in North America.


Lime is an invaluable ingredient, used for everything from neutralizing acidic soils to creating a strong base for gardening. It’s widely used in construction, agriculture, and even household items like toothpaste. With so many uses for lime, there’s sure to be one perfect fit for you!

Agriculture Lime (Ag Lime) is often employed by farmers to keep their soils alkaline and decrease the likelihood of disease and pests. It also aids in keeping crops healthy by preventing blossom end rot.

Ag Lime is available in both pellet and powder forms. The coarse pellets are ideal for frequent maintenance projects and work more slowly to reduce soil acidity than their finer powder counterpart.

Hydrated lime is a chemical that reacts with water to form an alkaline slurry that neutralizes acidity in various situations. It’s particularly useful for treating acid effluents and flue gases from industrial boilers and producing saleable gypsum co-products for use in fertilizers, cements, and other manufacturing processes.

Hydrated lime is also frequently used to manufacture oil additives for lubricants, particularly sulphonates, and phenates. These sulphonates help remove impurities from these fluids while increasing the life of engines and other mechanical equipment.

Plants that like it

Fortunately, many garden plants benefit from adding lime to their soil. Lime raises the pH level so your veggies, flowers, and other plants can thrive healthier while aiding beneficial bacteria in the soil to grow faster and more effectively.

Aside from increasing your plants’ acidity levels, adding lime can also boost their calcium concentrations. Vegetables require calcium for healthy and strong growth, so soils lacking this nutrient can lead to stunted growth or even death.

Garden lime-tolerant plants include various vegetables and some flowering perennials such as beans, peas, spinach, and onions.

Other vegetable favorites, like lettuce, can benefit from a pinch of lime to promote healthy growth. This is especially true for varieties low in calcium.

One way to determine whether your plants need lime is to test the soil’s pH level where you plan to grow them. This will allow you to decide how much lime needs adding.

Some plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and daphne, do not benefit from adding lime to their soil due to their acidic pH preference. Furthermore, these plants have roots that extend out under the ground and should not be exposed to any form of an amendment that removes their acidity.

Generally, lime should be mixed into the top 5 inches of soil when starting a new garden or laying sod. This method works better when trying to adjust the pH level of an existing lawn than when trying to add lime at this stage.

Vegetables that benefit from it

Garden lime, also called agricultural lime, can help your garden flourish by improving soil nutrient uptake and encouraging beneficial bacteria and microbes. It also raises the pH level of acidic soil so plants can more readily absorb essential nutrients like nitrogen.

Lime is an invaluable addition to your garden, helping improve water penetration and encouraging root growth for all vegetables and flowers. By doing so, they become better equipped to absorb other essential nutrients found in their environment.

Vegetables that thrive in limed soil include corn, beans, cabbages, peas, spinach, and lettuce; however, it’s essential to know what types of vegetables will thrive there before adding lime.

Some vegetables, such as asparagus, require slightly alkaline soil. Garden lime can help make the soil more alkaline, so your asparagus can grow and develop appropriately in its ideal environment.

Garden lime not only adds calcium to your soil but also encourages beneficial microorganisms and bacteria that keep your garden healthy in the long run. Furthermore, garden lime increases yields by improving soil nutrient absorption from fertilizer applications.

Garden lime, also known as dolomitic or calcitic limestone, is the most common type available. It can come in the powdered or pelleted form and should be applied using either a push broadcast spreader on lawns or sprinkled over each vegetable plant’s base for optimal nutrition.

Can too much hurt your garden?

The amount of garden lime you apply can make a big difference in the health of your soil. Too much lime can dry out the ground or raise its pH to an unnaturally alkaline level, leading to nutrient deficiencies and slower plant growth.

Fortunately, you can avoid this issue by understanding how much garden lime is appropriate for your soil type. The only way to be certain of this is by getting a soil test done; state Cooperative Extension offices often offer comprehensive soil tests at reasonable costs.

Garden lime not only raises the pH of your soil, but it can also improve its texture and allow water to seep into it instead of pooling on top. It helps bind sandy soils and loosen clay ones as well.

Therefore, adding garden lime to your vegetable garden is essential. Lime will promote plant growth by raising the soil’s pH level so that vegetables grow optimally.

If your soil’s pH is too low, it can restrict the growth of vegetables and flowers. This occurs because plants cannot absorb enough essential nutrients from the environment.

To avoid this from occurring, it’s best to mix or till garden lime into the soil several weeks before you plan to plant. This gives it time for the amendment to integrate fully and ensures that nutrients are evenly distributed throughout your soil.

Garden Lime : How and why to use garden lime in your veggie garden !
%d bloggers like this: