pH Measurement

pH Measurement

December 26, 2018 0 By admin
I wanted to do a quick post on something that is important to gardening. That of course is pH measurement. pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen atoms in an aqueous(water) solution. PH measurement determines the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. For those not familiar with pH it is measured on on a scale from 0 to 14. 0 is insanely acidic and 14 being insanely alkaline. The neutral pH measurement is 7 which is water.

Since water is the baseline and the neutral pH measurement, pH is in reference to water’s value. To give you an idea battery acid has a pH of 0 and liquid drain cleaner has a pH of 14. Both of those items are things you would not want to touch and most definitely not have your plants in those liquids.

Plants and pH measurement

Plants themselves require a certain pH level to be able to absorb nutrients. For most plants that is between 5.5 and 7.0 on the pH scale. If the pH is too high or too low plants then the plants cannot get the proper nutrition. This of course leads to issues with plant growth and survival. It is important to always measure your soil pH and/or water pH to ensure it is with in range for your plants.

pH Measurement in Deep Water Culture

I did some pH measurement of my own on my new deep water culture setup. There are several ways to do it, but I used a liquid pH measurement test. I eventually will have an electronic measurement system but for now the liquid tests are great! They cost around 10 USD and can be found at a local hydroponics store or aquarium store. The test I used goes down to 6 on the pH scale. So anything less than 6 will look the same. In the event the pH is less than 6 I would need to infer based on plant growth results. My test ended up being around the 6 pH measurement. This is good for my plants! Check out the pictures below.

pH test
The pH test that I used to test deep water culture.
deep water culture water
Water from deep water culture
ph test results
pH test results for deep water culture

How to Measure pH Yourself

To measure pH for you gardening setup you need to gather some water from your setup. The best pH measurement option in my opinion is the electronic meters, but the tests above work if you have a hydroponic setup. There are pH meters they have can be either for soil or water. The pH meter will tell you what it is for and will need to be calibrated. That is normally done by dipping into a calibration solution or water. Once calibrated put the pH meter in the medium and you will get a measurement.

If you do what I did and measure using a liquid test. It is as easy as taking a sample of the water for your grow setup and adding the pH reactant that is in the bottle they give you. Then normally you will need to gently shake that up and use the card with the color meter for the various pH values. That is all there is to it with liquid tests.

Finally the last test you can use are the pH test strips. Those are similar to the liquid tests but are on a paper strip. To get your pH measurement dip into the solution sample and then use the pH value chart given with the test. That will also give you a pH value. Any of these three ways work, but electronic meters are the best. I am purchasing one and will write a review once I have tested it.

References

Thoughtco.com
EPA.gov
pH and Plants

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