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Although it is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects, pH is very important in hydroponic and organic as well as regular soil gardening. pH is measured on a scale of 1-14 with 7 being neutral. Acids are lower than 7 and alkalis (bases) are above 7.
This article deals with the pH of hydroponic gardening and the availability of nutrients at different pH levels in a soilless growing medium. Organic and soil gardening have different levels, so the following chart doesn’t pertain to them.
To be technical, the term pH refers to the potential hydrogen-hydroxyl ion content of a solution. Solutions ionize into positive and negative ions. If the solution has more hydrogen (positive) ions than hydroxyl (negative) ions then it is an acid (1-6.9 on the pH scale). Conversely if the solution has more hydroxyl ions than hydrogen it is alkaline (or base), with a range of 7.1-14 on the pH scale.
Pure water has a balance of hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH-) ions and is therefore pH neutral (pH 7). When the water is less than pure it can have a pH either higher or lower than 7.
The pH scale is logarithmic, which means that each unit of change equals a tenfold change in the hydrogen/hydroxyl ion concentration. To put it another way, a solution with a pH of 6.0 is 10 times more acidic than a solution with a value of pH 7.0, and a solution with a pH value of 5.0 would be 10 times more acidic than the solution of 6.0 pH and 100 times more acidic than the solution with a 7.0 pH. This means that when you are adjusting the pH of your nutrient solution and you need to move it 2 points (example: 7.5 to 5.5) you would have to use 10 times more adjuster than if you were moving the pH value just 1 point (7.5 to 6.5).
WHY IS pH IMPORTANT?
When the pH is not at the proper level the plant will lose its ability to absorb some of the essential elements required for healthy growth. For all plants there is a particular pH level that will produce optimum results (see chart 1 below). This pH level will vary from plant to plant, but in general most plants prefer a slightly acid growing environment (between 5.5-6.0), although most plants can still survive in an environment with a pH of between 5.0 and 7.5.
When pH rises above 6.5 some of the nutrients and micro-nutrients begin to precipitate out of solution and can stick to the walls of the reservoir and growing chambers. For example: Iron will be about half precipitated at the pH level of 7.3 and at about 8.0 there is virtually no iron left in solution at all. In order for your plants to use the nutrients they must be dissolved in the solution. Once the nutrients have precipitated out of solution your plants can no longer absorb them and will suffer deficiency and death if left uncorrected. Some nutrients will precipitate out of solution when the pH drops also. Chart 2 (below) will give you an idea of what happens to availability some of the nutrients at different pH levels:
Ph & Ec Meter Cleaning & Calibration service – Send us your professional digital meter to be professionally diagnosed cleaned and recalibrated we can offer this service for any digital ph and or ec ( nutrient ) meter, wand, pen, static monitor.
This Service will allow you to send us Your digital nutrient meter or digital ph meter to us to be professianly diagnosed, cleaned and recalbrated.
Digital meters ( especially the more expensive ) are very sensitive and need to be properly looked after and maintained, failure to do this can have dramatic results on the reading of the meters and even more dramatic on the results you get more your plants by using meters that read inacurately
You will Need to buy the service
post to our address via recorded or trackable delivery
Choose our cheapest Postage delivery option for the return of the item
Monitor will Be Returned via special ( trackable delivery) to the original address
Item Will be Diagnosed
Iem will be Cleaned and calibrated over night Using appropriate tools
Item will be returned within 72 hours
( as long as the meter isnt phyically broken )
tel 0845 643 5523 for more info
A Great introduction to hydroponics with out the overly technical terms, covers lighting to feeding, we recommend this book!
This book covers all aspects of hydroponics, it is very informative, yet an easy read. “A must read for the novice gardener” as the book states, yet would also be enlightening for the more experienced grower.